warriorsavant: (Chimerae)
DuckDuckGo. Does anyone else use this? It's an alternative search engine to The Borg. Their claim to fame is that they don't keep track of you/don't create a profile that follows you around. So far, their searches seem to give reasonable results, but I haven't done a head-to-head comparison with other search engines.

Office & Staff. Evil Secretary was actually out sick for almost 2 days. She takes sick days about once every 7-8 years. I came in Monday and she looked green, told me she'd just thown up, and needed to go home. Fortunately we have T on board now. Even though she's here as a nurse, she has secondary duties of filling in when ES isn't here. Also fortunately, it was a little slow, so she jumped in and did just fine. Yeah, lots of small things weren't perfect, but so what, this isn't her primary job and she's only been here a month. ES had initially told me she thought she'd need to come in for 1 day to clean up whatever mess was left, but there wasn't any. Good. Not having reliable back up of ES has always been a slightly worrisome issue for me, but this is another instance of T seeming to work out well.

RAMQ, fighting with. That's the government medical insurance bureaucracy in Quebec. Despite all our complaining (both as patients and providers), they generally get things done with a minimum of fuss. Had a couple of issues that I had to fight with them about yesterday, which is to say had to get on the phone with someone. Doesn't happen often (as best I can tell, most doctors in US spend more time fighting with gov't and/or insurance companies than actually seeing patients), and at least I got to speak to a human being.
     The Good. A patient who was falling between the cracks. He has horrible psoriasis, was put on one of the new biological medications with great results when he lived in Ontario. He moved back here, and the requirements are a little different, and I've been trying for > 6 months to get him approved. Discussed with them for 10 minutes, and today got the approval. They generally figure that if a doctor is willing to take the time to call them directly, it must be important.*
     The Bad. Only "medically necessary" acts are insured, which is reasonable. (Some of the backstory is not reasonable, but irrelevant here.) For example, a cyst that is not inflamed, infected, or physically troublesome is not covered for removal, so the patient has to pay. They may not like the cyst (or other benign growth), but the world is full of things one doesn't like, and that doesn't mean someone else has to pay for it. Anyhow, removed a cyst from a patient this past summer, duly warned him he'd have to pay for it, which he seemed to accept, duly charged him… and then he complained to RAMQ asking for reimbursement. Last fall they sent me a nastygram, asking for my notes on the patient and my justification. I sent that back, including a direct quote from their manual. They just sent me a letter saying basically, "illegal charge, we're collecting it back from you with a penalty." I spoke to someone who took the info, "and will get back to me." This is seriously annoying, but I am going to smack them down. If I let it go, besides the money immediately involved, it sets a really bad precedent. I've gotten the Assoc. Derm. Quebec involved, and they will help me for the same reasons. We'll win, but annoying.

*More on fighting for patients. It's part of the job. I'd hate to have to do it for every patient. Frankly, wouldn't have time to earn a living if I had to do that, but every 2-3-4 weeks, something comes up and I need to do it. It comes with the turf. Sometimes it really shouldn't be my job on a particular patient, but if he/she has been bounced around enough times, and is sitting in my office, I figure that morally it has defaulted to being my job, and I'll at least take the time for find out who should really be the one to see him/her, and make sure it happens.
warriorsavant: (Dr. Injecto)
Patient today was looking at my med school diploma, and said, "Wow, you graduated before I was born!" (Just had a haircut yesterday - my hair is now back its proper 1/2-mm length - and during said bloodletting haircutting was noting my salt-pepper-and-more-salt hair on the floor of the barbershop.)

"Okay, you just went from near top of the 'favorite patient' list to the bottom."

"No, I mean I thought you were in your 40's."

"Wow. Okay you're back near the top - in fact at the very top - of the list."

Maybe she's just a poor judge of ages, being a mere slip of a 30-something, but I'll take it.
warriorsavant: (Time)
I've been working on being more patient. Succeeding to a fair extent, although really against my nature. Having been working on myself for a long time, with variable success. Having kids helps, both directly (having kids requires patience) and indirectly (I'm just a happier and more mellow person).

I realize, with some of my older patients, that they do require more patience (no pun happening here!). What is sad, with some of them, is that I've known them for 20+ years, and seen them go from "older but vigorous," to "elderly and decrepit and confused." I realize too that what sometimes seems just an annoying character trait is in fact their trying to cover for no longer being with it mentally. Not completely gone, but worse off than they seem at first glance.

One problem I noted today, is that some of them were frankly annoying when they were younger. Becoming elderly doesn't make you saintly. If you were a total pain when you were 25-35-45, if you haven't worked on yourself (whatever that could mean), then you are still a total pain at 65-75-85. Some people were just annoying for their whole lives, plus they pick up more annoying character traits to try to cover for their losing it. I'm training myself to see past the annoying to what really needs doing.

"Routine"

Oct. 18th, 2018 08:38 pm
warriorsavant: (Chimerae)
Busy day at the office, but I'm feeling dissatisfied. Things felt too routine. Yeah, first world problems. I should count my blessing; most of everything that everyone does is routine, and at a far less interesting level than I do. That is true, but also irrelevant.

Cancer is a scary word, but there are cancers, then there are cancers. The most common form of cancer of any organ system is the basal cell carcinoma (BCC) of the skin. It is also the least serious, and barely qualifies as a cancer. Put it this way, if you could put cancers on a scale of 1 to 100, this is a 1. It grows slowly, and almost never metastasizes. In short, it would take years, if ever, to kill you. That having been said, an oozing ulcer 6-inches/15-cm across is unsightly and unpleasant. *understatement* Still, when they are small, it's fairly routine to destroy them, maybe 5 minutes.

Squamous cells carcinoma (SCC) is a notch up. However, the first stage, "in-situ," also called Bowen's disease, can sit at a completely superficial level for 20 years before invading. And that having been said, nobody could say if a given one will sit for 20 years, or invade tomorrow, so certainly worth treating, but again, fairly routine to destroy, maybe 5 minutes.

Actinic Keratosis (AK) is considered "precancerous," but that too is an exaggeration. Maybe 1:1000 per year will turn into an SCC, but probably 300:1000 will just resolve spontaneously. Again, the catch is not knowing which one will convert. Still, having that risk, Medicare will pay to treat them, but scarcely exciting.

Benign lesions are no longer covered by Medicare, as part of the changes they abruptly initiated Jan 2017. (I don't disagree with dis-insuring them, it was the abrupt and chaotic way they did it.) Since not insured, I can charge the patient for it, and I never object to getting money, but again, completely not exciting.

Short attention span and easily bored. My kids must be rubbing off on me. Okay, I've always been that way. Not sure how I made it this far. That most be why I'm constantly doing other things at the same time: teaching, military, now trying to get into research. Can't really complain even if all I did was sit in my office: it's more interesting and pays better than most gigs, but today just felt totally unsatisfactory.
warriorsavant: (Time)
Two weeks ago, I started taking Fridays off instead of Mondays, and I'm completely disoriented. I do know what day it is, I haven't become demented, but the day always feels wrong, and the "what I will be doing tomorrow" is off.

Taking a day off goes back to when I was in the National Guard and later Reserves. That "one weekend a month (small print footnote: unless we deploy your butt to Afghanistan or Iraq)" applies to the junior troops. Senior leadership is more like "2-3 weekends a month, and some of those will be 3-4 days long." If I hadn't started programming in "extra" days off, I would have been working 26-28 days/month, and getting VERY cranky. Since the 3-4 day weekends would include the Fridays, and even 2 day weekends meant I would be traveling home and arriving late Sunday evenings, it made more sense to take off Mondays instead of Fridays.

Sometime after I got out of the Reserves (on Veterans Day 11-11-11), I thought I should start to work a normal 5-day week. Actually, come to think of it, I had someone sharing my office on that extra day, then she left, so it was a bit later than that. I enjoyed having those long weekends, but somehow felt I "should" work a normal 5-day week. Nom told me I shouldn't. I felt I should. I felt virtuous. I also seriously missed having the 3-day weekends. I told Nom she was right, and cut back to 4 days, keeping the Mondays off schedule. But really, there's a reason most people who work 4-day week take off the Fridays. Too many things are closed on Monday (eg, if I want a lunch date with my lovely wife, most restaurants are closed Mondays).

All that having been said, I am disoriented. It is Sunday night as I type this, and I'm indignant that I have to go to work tomorrow. I'll go in, and be convinced that my hospital day (Wednesday) will be the next day. On Friday, the first day of my weekend, I will keep thinking that that should be Saturday, and not understanding why every place isn't on weekend hours. It's sort of like being jet-lagged. Not the fatigue, just the feeling that everything is happening at the wrong time, but in this case the wrong day. I suppose in a few weeks, I'll adjust, but for now it feels weird.
warriorsavant: (White Lion - Jabulani)
I don't really like shaving. Not sure why. Many men seem to, but to me it's just one more thing that has to get done. I once considered lasering the hair, at least on my neck, but that hurts. I also once, as favor to an ex-, tried "manscaping," specifically waxing my chest. I have a fairly noticeable pelt (there seems to be a generational divide on men's body hair somewhere in the 40's right now). The esthetician didn't trim the hair first. Did two strips. I bounced off the ceiling and quit there. Yeah, I'm a wuss. Another reason I don't have tattoos (although do have a most lovely skull earring). BTW, years ago, a friend of mine was a Philosophy major (for his sake, I hope minored in making coffee or driving taxis or some other useful skill), with an concentration on Esthetics. Was thrilled when first went job hunting at how many positions were open for estheticians - had a rude awakening.

I digress. Anyhow I mostly shave with an electric razor; it's just easier. However since I don't like shaving, I usually don't on weekends/vacations, and electrics don't do well on a 2-, 3-, or more-day growth of beard, so then I use a blade. As a further aside, when I was a kid, and read Jack London novels, I couldn't understand how anyone could fight with a razor. I'd knew they didn't mean electric razors, but had never seen a straight razor, and couldn't figure out how one could attack someone with a safety razor. When I later figured out what a straight razor was, I wanted to try shaving with one, and my father sensibly pointed out that I'd probably cut my own throat. Common sense warred with pride, and considering how much I manage to hurt myself on far more innocuous objects (I swear that paperclip was a terrorist agent), I backed off on the shaving thing. I have once or twice had a barber shave me with a razor. The first time was on a street corner in Pakistan. I was both scary and luxurious.

(Yeah, that digression thing happened again. This was all going to be 1-2 sentances in a post of miscellaneous stuff.) When I started shaving, safety razors had a single blade. Then two-track razors came out, and the technology race was on. Now standard razors come with 5 parallel blades, which really do a better job of shaving. And are also pricey, and they keep changing the design, so you have to keep buying different handles, which adds to the price. I had about 3 handles lying around that you can't get blades for anymore. Along comes Harry's. Mail order blades (and accessories), for cheaper than the name brands, and even the house brand knock-offs on those brands. Tried one. In fact, did a side-by-side comparison with Gillette Fusion, and they shave the same, with Harry's having a more comfortable handle. The only annoying thing is that they ask you a bunch of questions before you can place the initial order "to serve you better." Yeah right, you data-collecting, butt-wipes. I generally answer those things randomly, so no real harm done, and it is a good razor for less money.

Okay, enough of this hairy business, except to note that if I could easily transplant the stuff from where people don't want it, to where they do, I'd make a fortune. In the meanwhile, as the bald man said, "hair today, gone tomorrow."
warriorsavant: (Composite)
Am I ever going to retire? What does that mean anyhow? How do work life and personal identity interrelate?

This thoughts inspired by a friend's posting (https://jillianpage.com/2018/07/22/retirement-one-foot-in-the-grave/#comment-11807) Most of this is from my reply to her post, with some quoting from another reply.

"Retirement," like many labels, seems to be all-inclusive in its description, whereas it really just means "ceasing to work at a certain well-defined job." I think that goes hand-in-hand with defining yourself as what you do for a living (farmer, lawyer, journalist, etc).

Admittedly, what you do for a living, for most people, is how they spend the majority of their waking hours, and often an important part of their identity, but the be all and end all of their existence, if they don't want it to be.

Another reply to that posting (regb1957) gave a good list things one can "do" in retirement. If your health is good, you can carve out another career for yourself, if you want to. If you want to be at the beck and call of someone else that is. Retirement means you won’t have to, you can do things you want to do, when you want to do them. Write a novel; start a business; campaign for xxx rights; get more deeply involved with local politics, whatever.

All good points, but even that begs the question of if we should define ourselves by what we "do" rather than what we "are."

I think in general people retire later when they enjoy their work. As you know, I'm not going to retire anytime soon, having 2 kids to put through medical school (and they are not even in kindergarten yet). Even if that were not a factor, I like what I do, so can't see giving up doing it any time before 80-? 90-? The key is to recognize when you are no longer capable of doing it well, and stepping down at the height of your game (at least when still in good form), not been pushed out for incompetence. In another 10 years will likely slow down a bit, but not stop.

Even that, again, pushes the question of "who am?" to be answered by "this is what I do for a living." As you know, Gentle Readers, I am a professional (in the older meaning of "learned profession") and that does come with a sense of identity more than most jobs, but I get to largely keep that identity even after retirement. I have multiple identities (as we all do), but sometimes have to remind myself that father/husband/family man is as much my identity as what I do for a living.

La Ronde

Jul. 19th, 2018 12:19 pm
warriorsavant: (Warriordaddy)
Took the kids to La Ronde*, the big amusement park in Montreal. Hedgefund wanted go on the rides, which surprised me. She had previously been very afraid of anything like that, but then she previously had been 3 years old, so things change. Apparently they have some mini-rides at one of the shopping malls that she'd been on, and at the most recent Family Day in our local park she enjoyed the pony ride, which the year before she had been terrified of.

I've never been big on amusement park rides. The concept of paying good money for something designed to evoke sensations a normal person tries to avoid (nausea & overwhelming fear - they're there for a reason) makes no sense to me. If I wanted to do that, I could more simply and cheaply walk through a bad neighborhood with 20$ bills hanging out of my pockets. As a teenager, I once or twice went to an amusement park near me, called Adventurers Inn, but I don't recall much about it. I doubt I went on any of the rides. I've been a wuss sensible since an early age. Come to think of it, the scariest thing about deploying with the Army was the roll-over training.**

We bought a season pass, because they were on sale for only 2$/person more than single entry. (And before you scoff, Nom has scheduled us to go back tomorrow.) First thing was going on the mini-rail, an elevated monorail that loops around the park. Well, it was supposed to loop around the park, but due to the installation of the fireworks launcher (they have a twice weekly international fireworks competition in summer), it only went halfway around, and we had to walk back. Then we had overpriced lunch (tomorrow we're bringing our own food) and went on the kiddie rides. That's about my speed (literally and metaphorically). Hedgefund really liked the carrousel ponies that went up-and-down. I rode next to her, and Wallstreet, being the sensible tyke that he is (takes after his papa), rode on one of the fancy, fixed benches with Nom. I think the waiting times to get on the rides were longer than the rides, but not outrageous like at Disney Land/World/Universe. They had fun. Hedgefund really enjoyed the rides, and Wallstreet tolerated them, plus just enjoyed looking and people and things (which he could have done just as well on a crowded downtown street). Surprisingly, I enjoyed it too. Obviously enjoyed being with my family and seeing them having such fun, but kind of directly enjoyed it.***



-----------------------
*It was built as the amusement park for the Expo 67 Worlds Fair. I dimly remember coming up here with my family as a child for Expo 67. I was kept open as a stand-alone for quite a while, went bankrupt, then was bought up by Six Flags. It is the largest amusement park in Quebec, second largest in Canada; I don't know where it stands on world rankings, if there is such a thing. It is on one of the smaller islands near Montreal (which itself is actually on an island in the middle of the St. Lawrence River, so technically I live on an archipelago).
** Simulates being in a vehicle that rolls over, to train you how to get out of an darkened, upside down armored vehicle. It is the cabin of a vehicle attached to a frame that can roll it. The windows are blacked out, and there are a bunch of empty plastic soda bottles that bounce around to further disorient you (in a real vehicle roll over, there would be lots of things bouncing around, many of them heavy and metal). You strap in, they roll over the vehicle 2-3 times. The first go-around, they stop it on its side; the second time, they stop it completely upside down. Then you have to unstrap and extract yourself.
*** I have a bit of memory of being very small and going on some kiddie rides with my mom. I think a local dinner had a little play park on the side. I can see in my mind's eye a carrousel, but our riding on the fixed bench instead of the horses; and a bright green caterpillar with a happy face that went around a track. I wasn't scared going on the rides, but for some reason, up until now, every time I remembered that scene, I found it terribly sad. I don't know why, but every time I'd flash back to it, I'd get very sad. After taking the kids to La Ronde, I look back on that scene with something resembling happiness.

warriorsavant: (Chimerae)
Haven't thought about it in years, but when I was a kid, I had a tree house. Really more of a tree platform, but it served. I believe it was the top of wooden picnic table or top of a wooden bench, wedged in between two sets of forked branches. It was in the biggest tree in our backyard, an apple tree, which are great for climbing, as lots of branches, and forking branches, starting fairly low down.

Of course it really wasn't an old table top in a tree. It was a pirate ship. Or a fortress. Or castle. Or a space ship.

Our house was a relatively small one (not tiny, but small), basically a tract house, although since we were within the city limits of NYC, it wasn't called that. It was one of many more-or-less cookie-cutter neighborhoods built immediately post-war. We were the second owners, my parents moving up from an appartment just before I, the youngest of 3 kids, was born. I regarded it as a boring neighborhood. We lived on the short side of a block, with only 8 houses on both sides (the long sides of the blocks had 20?30?). No kids my age on our block, although several in short walking distance. More to the point, no kids in any books or TV shows lived in the 'burbs, especially not suburban-type neighborhoods inside city limits. Kids lived in small towns, sometimes farms, rarely real city-living, but not tract houses, with tree-lined streets, good schools, and low crime rates (well, except for some of the Son of Sam killings, but that was an exception). Anyhow, I don't think much about my childhood. I had one. Nothing terrible happened to me, but nothing especially interesting. That is probably more a reflection on my mindset than anything wrong. I wasn't a happy kid, and most of my remembrances of my childhood are rather gray, insofar as I remember anything at all.

That tree house, now that I think about it, was rather a good memory. Something I valued for a good chunk of childhood. Climbing trees, and that tree house, were few of the "boy" things I actually did.

Will have to look at the trees in my yard now, and see what has potential for my kids when they are a bit older. I think Wallstreet will especially like it, he loves climbing on things (and thereby terrifying his mother and grandmother). Right now there is a spiral staircase up to top of the flat-roofed garage. When we did the renos, I had them put a gate on it, to keep the kids off until they are a bit older, so that could do nicely until and if I do put up a tree house proper.

Oy

Jun. 11th, 2018 11:07 am
warriorsavant: (Meh)
I'm told one of the signs of "getting old" is that you wake up and something hurts for no good reason. (That and you make those little, quite, involuntary noises when you bend or move. I've been consciouely refraining from doing that, but it takes a deliberate effort.) It starts sporadically in your 50's, then gets worse/more frequent from decade by decade. Probably year by year. Possibly day by day. Oy.

About 4 days ago woke up with achilles tendonitis in my left foot. No reason, just woke up with it. Makes walking difficult. Just falling apart. Maybe that's why people eventually die, they either just fall apart one bit at time, or they just get tired of dealing with it.

Add to that everyone here has been sick on-and-off (most "on") for the past month. I've been that in-between state of not quite sick, not quite well.

Good stuff has been happening too, but this is a whiny post and I'm going to just whine, and am hereby doing it. (So there!)
warriorsavant: (Infantry haircut)
 (This post triggered by a conversation with ecospher https://ecosopher.dreamwidth.org/448762.html?nc=1&style=mine#comments) 

I never liked long hair on men. As a small boy, I had a crew cut, as we all did then. In my HS & university days, I had long-ish, rather 70's hair, but that was more a function of being too lazy to get it cut more often. Then I was in the military (active then reserve), and kept it regulation short: No. 2 clippers on top, No. 1 on the side. Once or twice I actually shaved my head, which was seriously ugly. Strong Soldiers & Marines blanched and begged me to grow back some hair when they saw that gleaming pasty white dome.  

When I got out of the military, I ran wild and let it grow... No. 3 on the top, and No. 1.5 on the side. Hey, don't laugh, that's a full 50% longer! It is not just a matter of putting a bowl over your head, some barbers know how to shape it properly with clippers and some don't. Even in the military, so barbers were better than others. Most were civilian employees, but shipboard, they were Sailors. Like many Sailors in Supply, they did certain service jobs when those needed doing, and did Deck Work or Damage Control Parties when the ship went to General Quarters (what most people call "Battle Stations"). They get a quickie course in hair cutting - military regulation only, which is basically how to properly put the bowl over your head. The best one I ever ran into had gone to civilian barber college before he'd joined the Navy. He liked cutting hair. His plan was to do one hitch in the Navy, do his military service and travel and see the world, then go back home and go into partnership with his uncle. Good planning on his part.

I had been letting it grow a little longer recently, but decided I don't like it. Back to maximum of No. 2. Turns out there is a barber on the main street at the end of my street, who truly understands how to get the most mileage out of such a limited amount of hair, using 4 different clippers: No. 2 on the top, No. 1.5 as it comes around to the sides, No. 1 on the sides, and finishing off with No. 1/2 at the very edges. Really does make a difference.

Validation

Mar. 22nd, 2018 02:54 pm
warriorsavant: (Dr. Injecto)
My first patient of the afternoon was a little girl of 5. Her mom told Evil Secretary that she adored me; I'm the only doctor she's not scared of. I guess not being afraid to bite patients' toes works. ☺
warriorsavant: (Composite)
Some time ago… hmmm, rather quite some time, just found a draft of this buried somewhere, I mentioned I was putting together my academic CV. Why the CV you ask? Highly belated response to (auto-rhetorical) question. I'd gotten an email that I can apply for academic promotion. Academics are more jealous of their ranks than military folks. Last time it came around, I got promoted from Assistant Prof to Associate Prof. I was surprised when I got that email; since they don’t actually pay me, I never paid much attention or thought about academic promotion.

Regarding the pay issue, I'm CAS (I think that stands for Contract Academic Staff). Rather like the Reserves/Guard in the military, it is part time. Since when I was in the Reserves, I was a fairly senior leader, "part time" was a bad joke; I spent almost as many hours/week on the Army as did most full time Commanders.. As CAS, I mostly do clinical teaching. I get paid for whatever patients I see by the Province (same as if I saw patients in my office). Teaching slows me down, so make less, but I enjoy doing it, so I do it. I get zilch for whatever administrative work I do, but it's part of the game. Within limits.

For whatever reason, I’d done enough “stuff” that they promoted me. As noted, it is really an ego thing to get the promotion, since they aren’t paying me, I do it for the pleasure of teaching and the "glory" of being university faculty. It is way too soon to put in for Full Professor, and frankly, I haven’t done enough stuff to get it, and probably never will. However, I put together my CV in the format they want, and had a meeting with the Chief of Medicine (Derm is a division within the department of Internal Medicine), because I thought it was time to talk to him about my academic “career.” Is there anything for me to move forward and upward into? Is it worth it? When I got out of the Army, I thought I would move up in Academia in a similar fashion. In the Army, I moved up in rank, and also in authority (for doctors, not always the same; most don’t want to Command anything. I did). I thought I’d get more involved in teaching and research, and move up from Undergraduate Training Director (eg medical students) to Residency Director (could have had that 2-3 years ago) to Chief of Dermatology (maybe). Why didn’t I take Residency Director 2-3 years ago and move forward and upward? Something - or rather someone - more important came along. Now 2 someones. In a couple of years, the someones are going to be starting school, and I might want, or be willing, to do more academically-administratively. On the other hand, it’s a pain in the butt, and I’m not sure I care.

Doctor-Professor-Chief of Medicine easy to talk to, and I enjoyed the conversation, although the upshot is that it is very, very unlikely I will ever get selected for full Professor (which would rather like being full Colonel in the Army). As for Residency Director or Chief, he wasn't encouraging about what would be involved: too much work, not enough resources, little-to-no pay. Even disregarding the "I tend to piss people off" part, the small amount of ego gratification is not worth my time commitment when I have more important priorities. I screwed up one marriage (no kids involved) by devoting too much time to an organization; not going to make the same mistake twice. Many years ago, a wise friend said something about not needing to grab any more brass rings; she already had a whole drawerful. Maybe if I'd never done anything else in my life, I would be more tempted., but I what would it add besides lots of aggravation and one more line on my obituary.
warriorsavant: (Renovations)
Moving day. That makes twice in-too-few months. This time to new office. It’s beautiful, but just found out a space is too tight to fit 3 filing cabinets across like it’s supposed to (only measured things 4 times). F***! As we say in French.

Spoiler alert: a certain amount of whining to follow. I’m drained. Too much renovations and too much moving in too short a time. Moving always takes wayyyyy longer than you think. When we moved the house, didn’t finish until after 10 at night. It’s 8 at night local time here, and still working. Biggest slowdown is that they had to disassemble then reassemble phototherapy machine. Much as with house, even though bigger space, somehow not everything seems to fit. Part of that is boxes everywhere makes space seem tight. Actually have a fair amount storage space. At the house, have finally unpacked all boxes and stashed things more-or-less where they belong. Then, neat-freak that I am, I will go through everything and put it properly in place, fix what is broken, and throw out what I don’t need. Yes, I’m a neat freak (Nom isn’t, and her father makes WWC look tidy), but I haven’t always done that. Somehow never quite did the last bits of stuff. Either waited “until I have time,” or “maybe I’ll need it later.” There is no “later.” Not planning on moving house again, and probably not office. Either way, it’s too late in my career and my life for “keep for later.” There is no later.

Tomorrow will really dig into the unpacking and putting away at the office. Fortunately Evil Secretary is even more organized and obsessional than I am. The in-laws are coming over to help in the morning. ES snarled, “don’t let them touch any of my stuff.” I pointed out (falsely) that they can’t read English, therefore wouldn’t know which is her stuff, and she should duct-tape her head so it doesn’t explode. (Anyone know the Vietnamese for “bwahahaha?”) In the afternoon, I’m teaching, which I usually enjoy, but I’m tired and don’t feel like it. Actually, I don’t feel like much of anything except hanging out with my family. And even then only just barely. Did I mention *whine?*
warriorsavant: (Composite)
Getting back to a few more serious posts that were sketched out, but not cleaned up.

Was talking a few months ago with a colleague. He is newly on staff at McGill. Already had a PhD when he got to us, finished our residency program few years ago, was faculty elsewhere for a bit, and now is back on staff with us. He is interested in research, very hard-working, and also very astute politically/socially, so he'll go far. We had dinner to talk about his taking over some of my administrative teaching duties, and also talking about projects we could work on in common.

Years ago, when I was even more neurotically obsessional than I am now, I had not only a "to do" list, but several of them: (A) to do top priority, (B) to do soon-ish, (C) to do sometime this year, and (D) to do sometime this lifetime. I still keep to do list(s), because you can't be this busy and get stuff done without tracking things, but I'm not that bad. I suppose the 'to do this lifetime" list still exists, but only in the back of my mind. There are things that have already dropped off of it, for example, I'm not really going to go back and take music lessons again (last time was grade school). Still had several things that I was going to do, some starting when this current time crunch (the one that started before Hedgefund was born, and will end when house and office properly set up).

Now, I'm not so sure. One thing that already had faded into the background was intense French lessons (and possible even other languages). I can get by, but nowhere near as good as I'd like. Had always been planning on improving it "when I had time." However, since I am, and have been, good enough, I always had higher priority things to do. At this point, and not going to take weeks-months off for French immersion somewhere, or even devote xxx hours/week to it. (Although reading childrens books to HF & WS might be helping a bit.) I had definitely been thinking that would like to get more involved in teaching and/or research. In fact, am already as involved in teaching as I'm going to get. Research? Right now, it feels like just opening another can of worms, and I've spent so much time the past few years (decades?) herding enough worms. Do I really want to bother? Not sure. Some part of me still does, but after listening to my colleague bubbling with plans, energy, and enthusiasm, I'm thinking going to work, then coming home and biting toes seems about all I want to do. Admittedly, soon enough they'll be too old for toe-biting, but there will be other things. We'll see. There are lots of political games and paperwork involved in research also, and I've had enough of the latter, and was never very good at the former. Right now I'm tired, and thinking that the roads not yet taken will just have to be traveled by other people, not me.

Books

Oct. 9th, 2017 10:57 am
warriorsavant: (Books (Trinity College Library))
I know "books" is a subject near and dear to the hearts of all my Gentle Readers. By modern standards, I have a fair number. (Okay, by modern standards, possibly anything over 6 is a fair number, but I do have a fair number.) My tablinum is a lovely, gentlemanly room, but a bit small. My ideal would be the library at the Morgan museum, but I lack the requisite billions for a house big enough to contain that. The current space is certainly smaller and with less storage room (especially shelf space/bookshelf space) than I had in the old condo.

As an aside, "stuff" expands to fill the available closet space, much as digital information expands to fill available computer memory. Years ago, I had a friend who renovated a condo in DC. She only built 1 closet, to thereby limit how much "stuff" she'd accumulate. I'm pretty good at getting rid of non-essential stuff…. Well, I thought I was until this move. We'll see how strict I can actually be with myself, not to mention the rest of the family.

I've finally emptied enough boxes that I can see most of the floor in my tablinum. I realize I have more books than I need. (Okay, on some level, there is no such thing, but am ignoring that for now.) I've already given one box of books to the local library, and have three more in the back of my car to go. The ones they don't use (which is most of them), they sell at their big annual book sale to raise money. I realize a couple of the ones I'm giving them I bought from their book sale in prior years. *Chuckle* Very little of what I'm giving away is actually causing me any pangs of regret. I don't really need Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum numbers 1 thru 20. There are three sets/types of books/articles that I'm setting aside for display. Not sure if going to go in my living room at home, or in my professional office when I redo that. The first is books and medical instruments that were my late great uncle's. He was an ophthalmologist, my one forbearer who was a doctor, very educated and cosmopolitan, a bit in the older European sense (he came to the US as a very young child, but always maintained a little bit of that air about him). He graduated medical school 50 years before I did. The second set is books (and maybe instruments) that were mine from medical school. The two sets would make a nice contrast. The third set are language books. Dissimilar from the others, except I think a few of the older ones were my great uncle's. I have think more about keeping these. I like having them. I love languages and admire people who are truly bi-, tri-, or multi-lingual. Said great uncle and aunt were like that. To me it's part of being educated and cosmopolitan. I can get by in French, but not really what I consider fluent. I used to speak Spanish (learned it for a South American deployment with the Navy), but have forgotten it. I'd love to have the time to just study languages; I could easily use 5-6 major ones in my office every week; I just don't have the time. With all that having been said, the question is how many of those language books are worth keeping. Like everyone today, if I want to translate a word, I look it up on line. The older ones might be worth keeping as antiques, and the language lesson books might also be worth keeping in case I go back to learning languages. On the other hand, probably will never find the time (something about having 2 kids to put through medical school), and I'm trying to get rid of stuff I don't really need, unless it has some sentimental value for me. Stay tuned to find out where the balance ends up.
warriorsavant: (HHG-Throne of fruit)
Cars: Drove the new car today. I do really like it, but don't quite have the seat adjusted right for me. 'Sokay, it's Nom's car, so has to be adjusted for her, as she'll mostly be the driver. Couple of points come to mind.
1. Who ever described that new car smell as wonderful? It's putrid. HF thinks so also. Drove with the windows wide open to try to rid us of the smell.
2. On the list of "gadgets I thought were ridiculous but now can't live without" (includes fax machines and email). There is a camera for backing up. Needed because can't otherwise see where the car ends. I've somehow lost my mad skills at parallel parking (I once got a car into a space only 4" longer than the car). I think I was good at it because I learned on boxy, old American cars. Newer cars, even cheap ones, have "sleek" styling, and you can't see where they end. On the Subaru, I can see the bottom of the rear window, and have no idea what is beyond that, so unless I park by the sound method (i.e. back up until something goes "crunch"), the read camera is great.
3. On the list of "gadgets (or settings) that I thought were ridiculous and now am convinced are ridiculous and annoying" the radio comes on as soon as you start the car. I absolutely loath and despise settings on things "to make my life easier and faster," all of which are not how I function and only annoy and slow me down to shut them off each time.

Kids:
1. WS is still sick, so I took HF to daycare while Nom stayed home.
2. HF is adapting rapidly, to our pleased surprise. It's only been a week. Today there were no tears, only a little apprehensive when I took her in. I told her I'd stay for a "little bit." Sat down while she played with blocks for 5 minutes, then she told me she had to pipi. I asked one of the educators to take her to the toilet, and when she came back, she headed straight to play where the other kids were. I told her I was leaving, and she basically said, "yeah, whatever, later pops" (slight paraphrasing). When I picked her up, they told me she sat and ate with the other kids. Didn't eat much, but this is the first time she did at all. She's never been good about eating, so this is great.
3. Later we took them both to the dentist. Just a checkup (if you care to know, the Medicare system pays for 1 visit/year for kids, but would have done it anyhow). Okay, there were tears here, but it got done, and no one (kids, parents, or dentist) permanently traumatized. (I seem to recall that first time I went to the dentist, I had gotten the impression that it would be traumatic, and was sitting in the waiting room crying/screaming/fussing. My Mother looked at me and sensibly pointed out that nothing had happened yet, so why was I screaming. Even then I was logical (or perhaps more logical than now), because I stopped crying, had the appointment, and realized there was nothing traumatic about it. In my adult years, I even had a cavity filled without anesthesia… well, once.)

Castles: Which is to say the house. Did a walk-thru with the contractor. Lots of little things need touching up, but basically on track to finish. Yippee.
warriorsavant: (Infantry haircut)
Two things lately made me realize I'd had had enough of the Army. (Important realization when one has been retired, for, oh, 5-6 years.) No, not Hedgefund and Wallstreet, although they would have been enough to keep me from doing anything silly like trying to re-up, or deploy.

The first is talking with someone I knew from the Army. He is a full-time Reservist (called an AGR), I first knew as a Captain when he was my Adjutant (= S1 = Personnel & Admin Officer) when I Commanded a CSH (Combat Support Hospital - like a MASH, but bigger). He's now a Colonel himself, in charge of major training site (I'd trained there more than once). It was not a very happy call, in that I'd heard 3rd hand that he'd recently lost his wife of 32 years (cancer, spread quickly) and was calling to offer my condolences. We chatted for a while, and he was mentioning getting ready for 3 CSHs moving into his training site for their summer training. I was thinking, "yeah, I understand what that involves (huge planning & paperwork for those personnel and logistics) and am so glad I don't have to be doing that anymore.

The second is a book I'm reading, Christie Blatchford's Fifteen Days about her time as a reporter embedded with the Canadian Forces in Afghanistan a few years ago. I'm only so-so enjoying it. Basically war stories, I suppose good insight if you've never been there. Again, the feeling of "glad it's not me anymore." Not the getting shot at part (although not a big fan of people trying to kill me), but the moving into, and staying in, some godforsaken, dusty patch of barely habitable real estate and calling it home for the day/week/month. Nope, glad I don't have to be doing that anymore.

I did my time doing those things. Didn't mind them at the time, proud of it, very glad to have done it, but have done enough of it, and getting too long in the tooth to want to do more.
warriorsavant: (Time)
Just got back from a tax-deductible excuse to take a short vacation medical conference(1) in The Island at the Center of the World(2). More on the trip itself in another post; this post is about identities. Was almost going to say had some identity crisis, but more identity realizations.

New Yorker )

Soldier )

Doctor )

Family Man )

New Yorker, Soldier, Doctor, Family Man. Not a bad CV.



(Footnotes) )
warriorsavant: (Composite)
 Yesterday I threw out my last pair of Army undershorts. Yes, in uniform, you are supposed to wear the official tan/khaki colored underwear. (Ironically, khaki and ka-ka have the same root. It's the later I'm more concerned with these days.)

After I retired, I wasn't going to wear bits of the uniform. Unless you're going hunting (which is to say never, in my case), you look like a dork wearing camouflage, and I'd only wear the dress uniform if there was some sort of ceremony.  Nom did wear my old field jacket at one point. That point was when she was pregnant with our first, it was winter and she wasn't going to buy a brand new winter coat for 3 months of her life, especially when her pregnant wore the same size coat as I do not pregnant. I must say she looked a lot cuter in it than I ever did. 

On the other hand, underwear is underwear, and I hate waste (and my waist hadn't changed), so why not use the shorts. I did try using the t-shirts, but only worked under a dark colored, buttoned up shirt, and it got silly deciding what days I would wear it. Still have some of the PT (eg work out) gear, but I confess I don't do that much now. 

Anyhow, 5-1/2 years after retiring, that last pair finally gave up the ghost. 

I feel something, but not as much as I thought I would. Not that I'm attached to my underwear, but as some little bit of symbolism. When I retired, I told myself that I'd always be a Soldier. (It helped get me through the depressed feelings when I retired after 32+ years in the military.) It's true, but every year the feeling is less intense. Maybe it would be different if I'd been full time Active Duty, and now spent half my time hanging out at the Legion hall, but that wasn't, and isn't, my life and career. As I type this statement of how much the Army isn't a part of me, I realize I'm getting ever so slightly misty eyed, so clearly it is still a part of me. Good. It was a big chunk of my life, a big part of what makes me who and what I am, something that I want to pass on to my kids. 
 
Once a Soldier, always a Soldier 

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