Sunday, January 14, 2018

Have Skills, Will Travel

My travels have taken me to the frozen Northeast.  That's okay.  It's been cold in my town lately, too.

If going to cultural events and visiting friends were my goals for using my free time during my prior assignment, then visiting friends and family, and searching for my ancestors are goals for this assignment.  Fortunately, I'll be here off an on through March, so I'll be able to get around to my many friends and even make it down to Princeton to see my East Coast grandnuggets. 

Some of my ancestors on my father's side were in New Hampshire around the time of the Revolutionary War.  I've already located the burial place of one of them, just an hour and a half's drive away. 

It's so much nicer to be in an extended-stay hotel with a real (although Barbie-sized) kitchen and a sitting area.

It's nice to start the week with things put away and organized.  My husband will definitely laugh when he sees these pictures.  I'm never so tidy at home.

Two things I really missed during my last assignment were an extra blanket (aka "accessory blanket") and a small extra pillow.  I like having an extra blanket to wrap up in when I'm on the sofa.  Hotel pillows are often not as flat as I like.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

A Dumpster Fire of a Year

2017 was not a great year for a lot of people.  It seemed to last forever, and I am glad to see it go. 

As I thought about this past year with its struggles and pain, I compared it to what I would consider to be the worst year of my life, 2000.  If 2017 was a dumpster fire, 2000 was the equivalent of a multi-thousand-acre forest fire, burning everything in its path, taking a long time to be contained.

But like a forest fire, burning everything away definitely led to new growth. I made some huge advances in my personal spirituality, faith and strength that really needed to be made.  Perhaps they couldn't have been made without having my life as I knew it torn to pieces.  Heavenly Father put me in a place where I wasn't excited about being, but He knew that I would make wonderful friendships and have great opportunities that would be formative and nurturing.

Things didn't turn around right away.  It took years for some blessings to be realized, but like burned forest land, my life came back stronger, richer and more beautiful.

This last year hasn't been nearly as devastating, and the cause of the stress has been very different, but I am trying to look at things as a way of having some things torn down in order to be built stronger and more usefully.  It's painful, and sometimes I wonder what is going to happen and when things will come back together.  But I know that they will...eventually.

Back in 2000, my friend, Nettie, reminded me of a scripture which has gotten me through so many difficult times since then.  It's from the Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi 11:17--"...I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless I do not know the meaning of all things."  Knowing that the Lord loves his children gives me strength to keep going when I don't know the outcome.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Getting Real

Blame it on the fact that I was so tired today from staying up until 1:30 to finish reading Big Little Lies (a great book!), or maybe it's just hitting the wall from being away from home for so long, or maybe it's just the natural evolution of things, but today felt like the day where the mask came off and the party manners were dropped.  I had to put my foot down about some things that I was asked to do by referring physicians.  While I regret that perhaps I was not as empathetic as I should be, I just don't have the resources to do the things that people were asking me to do.  They didn't seem to know that I was not Burger King.  But now they do.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Christmas Without Surprises is Like ze Nuts Without ze Nutcracker

Which is why I am giving you zis surprise nutcracker!....Damn!  Daaaaaamn!!

Today was full of nice surprises!

I came back from a procedure to find a package from Amazon containing...

two fun books from Stephanie!!  Great!  I needed something fun to read.

Then I went off to do another procedure, and what to my wondering eyes should appear on my desk when I came back?

This gigantic gift basket, a present from the good people at Adventist Feather River Hospital.  I can't even remember what my last workplace gave out for Christmas.  Probably nothing.

The basket contains a bag of brown rice, rice chips, almond butter, cashews, four kinds of almonds (two chocolate, one savory and one sweet), strawberry spread, mustard and olives.

Lastly, this should come as no surprise...hey kids, what day is it?!?

That's right!  I mixed it up today by having barbacoa and chicken, instead of one or the other.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Favorite Things of the Month--Part II

Two things that make the week go by faster:

1)  Exercise

I do like to work out, but I can be really lazy about it when I'm home.  My hotel has a little fitness room with a treadmill, stationary bike, stepper and weights.  Those are nice, but to give variety to my exercise schedule, I signed up for Beachbody on Demand.  It's pretty cool--hundreds of different kinds of workouts varying from 10 minutes to 50, and I can play it on my laptop, Kindle or phone.  So some nights I've come home from work and done the Country Heat workout, sometimes yoga.  In the mornings, I usually do either something from the 21-Day Fix or Turbo Fire.  I like Turbo Fire because it's very kickboxing-oriented.  It's also pretty inexpensive, particularly if you're thinking cost/use.

2)  Culture

There's a surprising amount of good cultural opportunities in this area.  I normally don't go to things by myself, but it's been easy and fun.

The local community theater group put on this very cute play.  I was impressed with the acting. There was one particularly madcap scene that they pulled off perfectly.

My "nephew"/"godson"/"cousin" invited me to his choir concert.  It was great!  

"If the United Nations had a house band in 1962, we'd be it!"  So goes the blurb on their official YouTube site (  I was acquainted with at least one of their songs, so it seemed like a good choice over the local symphony concert.  Three ladies out on a Girls' Night were seated next to me.  I had a pleasant chat with the one nearest me, so when the singer announced that she wanted all of the women in the audience to come to the stage to join her in singing the next number, my seat-neighbor was able to convince me to go up with her.  Yup.  Yup.  We sang, "I Am Woman".  It was easy to get into it and have fun with it.  I mean, how much of a Northern California experience is that--getting onstage and singing a feminist anthem with a bunch of chicks that remember when that song first dropped.  Lots of hugging all around.  
Coming up this week:  Star Wars and Handel's Messiah!!!!!  I can't wait!

Favorite Things of the Month--Part I

When I planned my locums assignments, I wanted to make sure that I had a good work/life balance.  Places near family and/or friends were high on the list.  If the job was located near or relatively near an LDS temple, even better.  I also wanted to be able to fill my off-hours with other good things, like exercise and cultural events, maybe even some sightseeing.

This assignment is located a reasonable drive from one of my oldest and best friends.  You know (or at least I hope you know) that kind of friend--the one that you can basically tell anything and they'll understand, where you can not see each other for a couple of years or more and pick up where you left off as if you just lived across the street.  It's a balm to my soul to be able to spend time with this "sister from another mister" (and--fun fact--we are actually distant cousins through our paternal lines.)

I also have a very good group of friends from my days in New York.  We have scattered all over the place, so being able to visit one can be a rare treat.  One of those friends lives nearby, and she recently had the life-changing miracle of giving birth to a beautiful baby boy.  It just so happened that his blessing (what we in the LDS church call a christening) was scheduled for my first weekend up here.  It was absolutely wonderful to see her and her little son and see the joy that she feels to be a mother.

I am LDS, and one of the things that is important to me is taking the opportunity to attend the temple.  We believe that families can be together forever, and the place where we make those covenants with God to have the opportunity to do that is in our temples.  For those of our ancestors who for whatever reason did not have that chance in this life, we perform those ordinances as proxies for them.  I had the name of a very distant relative that needed her temple ordinances done.  I thought that I would only be able to do two of the four ordinances for her with the limited time I had, but through a series of miracles, I did all of her work the other evening.  It gives me a lot of joy to know that she has the chance to progress and be with her family forever, and I felt (and feel) very strongly that she was aware that was being done and was super-happy about it.

Hello From LHITBW

Two weeks into my month-long stint at LHITBW, I guess it's time for an update.

Things are still pretty mellow and enjoyable.  I couldn't stay here permanently.  It's just not set up to be a very vibrant practice.  The best person for this job would be someone at the end of their career, burned out on a busy IR service and happy to do more "Specials" than IR.

The physicians that are based are very collegial and pleasant to work with.  The other locums have been interesting to talk to and network with.  My field is really quite small.  There's usually someone who is at least a mutual acquaintance.

Did I tell you it was a tiny place?  The list of the inpatients today was one page long.  One.  Page.
It's situated in the Sierra foothills, nestled in a wooded area.  Having grown up in the Pacific Northwest, the forest feels like it's part of my DNA.  The smell of the woods and the soil is one of my favorite things.  I don't realize how much I miss it until I experience it again.
Did I mention the free food for doctors?  This is just some of the bounty in the Doctors' Lounge.  The fridge is full of sodas, juice, water, sandwiches and salads.  The freezer has frozen Amy's Organic bowls and burritos and all kinds of different ice cream novelties.  And don't forget the rack of chips and the baked goods.  

I took this picture because I never wear nice shoes with my scrubs.  It's usually my Danskos (I call them my "work boots") or running shoes.  I think that I look like an unmade bed or a particularly precocious twelve-year-old when I'm at work, but I feel like a badass in scrubs. 

My Rad Life!