Sunday, November 20, 2011

Songs I'm loving!

Princess of China by Coldplay (w/Rhianna): I'm not really a Rhianna fan since I don't think she's a particularly good singer so I begrudge her success (not on a personal level, more in a why does someone succeed on image and autotune alone?). BUT, this song has an awesome driving force that I love.

Paradise by Coldplay: Infectious. I can almost promise you will be singing along with Chris Martin at the end.

Crossfire Brandon Flowers: A rediscovered song in my iTunes that I LOVE.

Someone Like You Adele: Also from SNL, this was in a pretty funny skit and then I listened to the song and, unlike, say, Rhianna, Adele can really sing

Rumour Has It/Someone Like You Glee Mashup: This brings Someone Like You to the upbeat.

And, most embarrassingly...
Moves Like Jagger Maroon 5: I saw Adam Levine on SNL sing this and even though I didn't like it before, the energy was palpable and when I listened to it again, I found a new workout song!

Houston weekend

I've had a life this weekend! Hooray! It's a beautiful golden weekend, aka no rounding, and I've had the best time. On Friday, I went salsa dancing with two other residents and one of their friends and it was a lot of fun. I'm not very good at dancing but once I got out on the floor (after a shot of tequila), I got my rhythm back and had a great time. Our group was two guys, two girls so it was nice with friends. I stayed out late, went home and totally crashed.

Yesterday, Jenn and I went to Tiny Boxwood's for lunch/brunch and then hung out later that evening and went to Pondicheri, a delicious modern/American take on Indian food. The poppadoms were so tasty with a little heat and while the spice level on the other food was a little on the low side, it was all pretty tasty. Then we saw J. Edgar which was a thought-provoking movie, more in terms of trying to decide how much I liked it. The acting was amazing and the love story element was so subtly told but it was sometimes difficult for me to figure out how much I cared about the story. Anyway, I'm definitely glad I went. I will rarely go out to movies on my own but when I do, I'm almost always happened I decided to go.

Today, I'm finishing my presentation. I have a great plan and story arch for my talk so I'm going to get it done and send it off to Dr. Myers. Hopefully, there won't be too many edits needed although it won't matter since I have a lot of time (read: 8 days) to work on it if there are issues. I think it's fundamentally solid though- hopefully, this isn't some sort of delusion!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Texas breakfast!

Yum, look what I had for breakfast this morning! A flipped around Texas waffle! Today was a day off so I got to enjoy the breakfast buffet that's held daily here at the hotel. During the weekdays, my day is well underway by the time the buffet starts (0630). But on the weekends, I tend to enjoy although I don't want to overgraze. Anyway, they switched out their boring waffle makers for TX shaped and even though I obviously don't know how to plate it properly, I had a TX-sized breakfast. I stirred in a little brown rice protein to make a little more balanced and brought it to my room so I could use my real maple syrup. It was awesome.

I was up pretty early b/c my co-resident texted me at 0700 asking the name of a patient that I should have added to our master list. Thanks for that. Although it could have been avoided if I had done the edit but still. As a result though, I had breakfast, coffee, my laundry complete and a 7-mile run ran all before 12. This afternoon, I HAVE to work on my presentation followed by a sampling of a highly recommended Tex-Mex place with Jen, a fellow resident (and not the earlier morning texter!).

My week was pretty awesome this week. One day in clinic and four in the OR which included 3 neck dissection, 2 partial glossectomies and one laryngectomy. It was a pretty banner week. I also took the time to write some things down so that I'll hopefully be able to incorporate all the lessons I learn intraoperatively into my practice rather than forgetting the details and starting at the same place each time, skills-wise. Does that even make sense? It's just sometimes, there is so much I want to hold onto in my brain, which is sometimes frustratingly sieve-like.

Alright, off to shower, call my parents and work on my presentation while dreaming of the enchiladas and margaritas that I'll have tonight!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Houston Restaurants

Although my life in Houston has not been the most social butterfly-like, I have made it out to a few restaurants. This is in spite of the fact that even patients have noticed how much the fellows and residents work. I've been asked several times (not unkindly) if I have a life and/or how is it that I'm working so much?

So, in order of my personal preference-

1. Tiny Boxwood's Cafe (3614 W. Alabama St)

Mechen and I went here for brunch/lunch and it was so good. We went around 3 o'clock so it was busy but not standing-room-only. Mechen had the turkey avocado club sandwich, which was delicious. I had the salmon served on greens that was also tasty but a little out of proportion. It was at most 3 oz serving of salmon on a whole bag worth of mixed greens. The dressing was also a little heavily applied but I quibble! We also had a chocolate chip cookie that was a touch too underdone but so good. The sangria was delicious and helped turn our afternoon of lunch and a museum into...lunch. A lunch of leisure. We moved from our table and had a second glass while resting on the couch and it was an awesome way to spend a beautiful afternoon. And we still made it to the Byzantine chapel and Rothko chapel!

So, even though most of the dishes had a detail or two that I personally would change, the food was high-quality and in an amazing, relaxing setting.

2. Benjy's (2424 Dunstan Rd)
I went here for dinner last night with a friend from work and the most awesome thing is their 7 day a week Happy Hour. We had appetizers and drinks that were delicious. I had a blood orange margarita, glass of Pinot and a "Pom Collins," a riff on a Tom Collins with vodka instead of gin and sweet/savory pomegranate molasses. The appetizers were half-price and Jen got a pizza, while I got the butternut squash crepes and calamari. I didn't eat all of it b/c the portions were huge and it didn't appeal to Jen but it was very tasty. I will definitely be back at night and also to hit up their delicious-sounding brunch. Whoa...I just Googled the brunch menu and it is more amazing than I thought. Yum!

3. Pappas Steakhouse (5839 Westheimer Rd)

Mechen and I went while he was here. I figured we should go to a steakhouse while in Texas and this was the one I selected after querying many people. The steaks were amazing and perfectly cooked. I was a little puzzled when the waiter assured me he could do a "medium/medium-rare" but I loved it. Hot, seared but still pink on the inside. Our sides were delicious and we felt good about supporting the butter industry single-handedly. The deconstructed pecan pie was terrific, too. Finally, special shout-out to the sommelier who linked us up with a 2004 Spanish wine, "Mas de Can Blau" from Celler Can Blau. I will definitely seek out that wine to buy in the future.

4. Goode's BBQ (5109 Kirby Dr)

The meat is cooked well but I'm not a fan of the dry rub/ketchup-based BBQ sauce. Unless Mechen is really seeking out more BBQ, I think I'll take a pass. Not bad, just not my thing.

Blog Overhaul

Ok! I'm so excited! I've updated my posts, ran the spellcheck and changed the email name to my blog. I had made up a random name I could never really embrace so now I'm just going to use my middle name. (The random name was Pfieffer from Julia Pfieffer Burns State Park where Mechen and I travelled last year but Pfieffer felt too...weird. I mean, really, Pfieffer? But you will see blog posts signed with that name so I felt you needed an explanation.) I already use Mechen's middle name on the blog. I know there's little e-privacy in the world but I don't want patients to find this blog just by Googling my real name. The blog is not something I feel the need to hide, but I also like having a division between my work and non-work life. The only thing left at this point is to add some pictures to a few of my travel-related 2008 posts.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

November Resolutions!

I love the beginning of years! Why the plural form of years? Because I have been lucky enough to have several new starts within each year- the real New Year, the academic year and, much less importantly, the tax year and fiscal year. Overall goals are for Jan 1, focused academic goals are for 1 Aug, making sure I've contributed the max to my IRA-R by 4/15 and noticing my pay raise on 1 Oct.

Anyway, part of why I love the beginning is that I can make resolutions. I love resolutions even more than New Year's parties (and I LOVE NY parties) which is strange because I typically look at other's lists and think there's something off about it. Like the one blogger I read who had >100 resolutions broken down by different aspects of her life. Or the people who get really worked up about not having been successful at achieving their resolutions. I think that I'm really happy with my life so far and the choices I've made and while there are certainly some I may lean towards wishing I hadn't picked, I truly have no regret regrets. You know (or maybe you don't), the type that people perseverate on and can't shake even years later- or so I've read in women's magazines.

I think I really like resolutions because it refreshes my prioritization and allows for some self-reflection. If I end up with the same resolutions every year, that's ok! It's about making progress and targeted efforts rather than checking off boxes and marking things as "done!" While I love crossing things off my TTD lists, larger goals in life are usually a work in progress. And that's ok.

But I thought I'd lay out monthly goals to make my focus a little sharper. It seems pertinent now because I do not have a lot of free time and feel a little off in my work-life balance so I want to prioritize how to spend my time during my months at MDA, which are particularly grueling.

November Goals:
1. Workout 3-4 x week. This week was a wash b/c I didn't go running last weekend while Mechen was here and the workweek was completely ridiculous thanks to a hugely busy inpatient service. I would like to get back on track by working out 1-2x/weekend and twice during the week. I've thought about trying to get to the gym by 5 each morning but if it's that bad, I think I'll forego my exercise since I'm already super sleep deprived during the week anyway. I like working out in the morning in San Diego, but there we don't round until 0630 so it doesn't feel rushed and more importantly, I'm out by 1800, latest. Here, it's routinely 1930, 2000. Seriously, my workdays are 12-15 hours. Ack! Enough whining and back to goals!
2. Sleep. This is a little out of my control. But at least I'll catch up on weekend. But this is not so much a goal as a biological imperative
3. Thanksgiving! I love, love, love Thanksgiving dinner and leftovers. Mechen is coming (yeah!) and we're going to cook together. I want to pick out great recipes and have an amazing dinner with lots of post-Thanksgiving sandwiches on sourdough bread for the few days after.
4. Academics. Ok, the listing of this indicates that I don't always address things in proper order/maybe a slightly avoidance behavior but I do hit things head on eventually. ANYWAY, this is a busy month. Grand Rounds 11/29, possible abstract submission for a Spring/Summer conference, resubmit a project that expired to the IRB and develop a good study plan. I really want to spend this week working on my external projects and develop a plan for my "internal project," my own knowledge base for the inservice and overall ENT smartness.
5. Food planning: I've been doing better at buying food for 1 and not wasting food. So, keep up the good work!
6. Getting ready for Christmas. Ok, will this finally be the year I really mail out Christmas cards? It might fall through again (4 years and counting!) but I'm going to do better this year (4 years and counting!). Hey, come on self! For real this time!