Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Not a post for the squeamish. (You know who you are)

My job, among other adjectives, is fascinating and affords me opportunities to see and do things that I would certainly not otherwise see or do.

I have a friend, currently, who is a neurosurgeon.  I've been bugging him to let me watch him perform a brain surgery.

Yesterday I tagged along into the cadaver lab to watch him practice. 

Once I got over the initial....I guess it was shock...sort of.....of being in the room with a cadaverous head (yes, just the head), the watching him practice part was super duper cool.  Who knew there was so much intricacy to the human head!  We didn't even get up in to the brain, but he did dissect the pituitary gland, and noodled around in all of those sinus cavities and into the brain stem.  (I get to see a craniotomy next!!)  It is truly mind blowing how the body works, and why it works, and how many moving pieces and parts there are.  It's a little scary, if you think about it too much, because there's so much that can go WRONG along the way, but when it doesn't, when it's all working like it should, its pretty darned amazing!

I had to wonder about this head we were using.  How was it that this head ended up being in this lab?  How many other heads are floating around out there in labs like this one?  I realized how incredibly important it is to have a steady supply of heads (and hearts and bodies) for physicians to practice on.  Clearly, his technique, while impressive, had room for improvement.  There is very very little room for error when maneuvering inside the human head....poking around, if you will, with sharp instruments.  It's good to know what one is doing. 

I said a silent thank you to this individual (whether they had anything to actually do with making the choice to donate themselves to science or whether it was done "for" them) for the crucial part they turned out to play in helping the rest of us stay alive. 

Thanks to my cousin (with whom I discussed today's adventure), this book is now on my "to read" list.

Stiff is an oddly compelling, often hilarious exploration of the strange lives of our bodies postmortem. For two thousand years, cadavers—some willingly, some unwittingly—have been involved in science's boldest strides and weirdest undertakings. They've tested France's first guillotines, ridden the NASA Space Shuttle, been crucified in a Parisian laboratory to test the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin, and helped solve the mystery of TWA Flight 800. For every new surgical procedure, from heart transplants to gender reassignment surgery, cadavers have been there alongside surgeons, making history in their quiet way.

In this fascinating, ennobling account, Mary Roach visits the good deeds of cadavers over the centuries—from the anatomy labs and human-sourced pharmacies of medieval and nineteenth-century Europe to a human decay research facility in Tennessee, to a plastic surgery practice lab, to a Scandinavian funeral directors' conference on human composting. In her droll, inimitable voice, Roach tells the engrossing story of our bodies when we are no longer with them.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


I went out last night to see a band I love, Yonder Mountain String Band.  Prior to departure I spent 10 minutes standing, paralyzed in my closet trying to figure out what to wear.  Factors to consider included: 
  • single digit temperatures outside
  • hot humid inside the venue
  • tired
  • needed shoes good for dancing but also good for protecting toes
  • comfy
  • no trendy band tshirts
  • layers
  • nothing shlumpy
This easily explains the paralysis.  Eventually my daughter came and found me and in a gesture of kindness attempted to dress me.  This!  No, that's shlumpy.  This!!! No, that's dumb...etc.

We arrived upon something, eventually, which met all of the criteria.

She surveyed me for a moment afterwards.  "Good.....that's definitely your look."  "I have a look???"   "Sure, you have this executive barnyard kind of look." 

Who knew?  Is that like....I OWN the barn yard (hopefully)?  She wasn't interested in sticking around to discuss.

In any event.  The show was great.  Until I walked out of the theater at 12:30 and discovered that it was SNOWING to beat the band!

Here's what the drive home looked like:

It was quite pretty when I got home.  (I meant to take a pic, but turns out I was videotaping instead)


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Wintry Mix?????

Dear Summer,

I miss you.  Please come back soon.  Very soon.


Frozen in Magnolia Meadow

Contemplating starting a new blog

I think I'm going to call it "The misadventures of a Pagan mom raising a Catholic daughter."  I checked.  That blog name isn't taken yet.  (Weird, right???)

Because, let me tell you, there's a fair amount of fodder, and every time I THINK I've figured something out, and I'm feeling smug because I'm all down with the Catholics for a second, I get "the look."  You know the one.  It says "Erh Meh are completely ridiculous and you need to stop now before I move out of your house and never talk to you again."  Which would make me sad, because I'm already sad that this child is going to move off to college, and if she were to do so and never talk to me again that would be tragic.  So, short of converting myself (because I have this little issue with the trinity), I keep trying to get it.

I'm digressing (because it's 7:00 am. and I'm already at work and I need more coffee).

My daughter shared this blog with some of her friends on FB (thank you FB for helping me know what my children are thinking and doing):

It would not surprise me to learn that my daughter was secretly writing that blog.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Breakfast Club 20 years later

A review about one of my favorite movies by one of my favorite kids:

Monday, January 14, 2013

Holding pattern

I am in love.  Her name is Susan, and she works at my gym.  My gym has a "spa."  That's where she works, specifically.  She snorts when she uses the word "spa" which made me like her immediately.  She does body work.  (This is somehow different from "massage" which is why I booked the appointment with her in the first place, and in hindsight, it was my lucky day.)

She's older.  And bald.  And kind of out there.  And very, very wise. 

She's one of those people who can put their hands on your body and within minutes are saying things like "aaaaaah"  "hmmmmmm" and "yes, I see."  At one point she said "wow, that's quite a holding pattern you've got going on there."  This from rubbing a gnarly spot in my shoulder....not from dipping her fingers into my grey matter.  Uncanny.

I went to someone else a few years ago who also had this gift.  He freaked me out a little, because I didn't realize there were people in the world who were like that.  Fortunately, that experience paved the way for this one, so rather than flying off the table in a panic, I was able to relax.  (re: "leaning in to things" from a previous post)

In any event.  She told me a few things that I knew about myself, but I guess I needed to hear.

1.  I hold on to things I should let go.  They are manifesting in my body in a way that appears to be detrimental on a level that perhaps can only be percieved at the moment by her fingertips, but are likely to mushroom in to bigger fungus eventually.

2.  I need to learn how to breathe.  I am a breath holder from waaaaaaaaay back.  I grew up holding my breath (and not because I was trying to get my way) and I guess I never stopped.  Every job I've had has had some element where I have a "good" reason to hold my breath, both literally and figuratively. 

I have determined that these things should become areas of focused improvement this year. 

Friday, January 4, 2013

Star sighting

Months and months ago, I took a trip to Paris.

On one afternoon we were ambling through the Luxembourg Gardens and happen to come upon a film crew following a woman, chasing a toddler.  There are film crews everywhere in Paris, so not that unusual, what was unusual was how this woman was dressed.  Chasing this toddler.

At the time, her voice was familiar, and yet I couldn't place her.

Now, that I'm finally seeing the pictures from that trip, I realize, it was Rachel Zoe.  How about those heels???

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Home sweet home

I was born here, in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas....somewhere right in the middle of the "town shot" there in the middle of the video.

Apparently one of these massive cruise ships in the beginning belongs to Brad Pitt.

As a baby I lived in this harbor, on a big sailboat...but that was in the pre-mega yacht days so it did not look quite like this.

I loved showing being able to take my kids here.  It was just fortuitous that the cruise we went on included this as a spot.  It's prettier than I remembered.  Nothing having been back for easily 20 years now.

Further from the vacation video files

This one is the other view from my beach chair...a 360 including my darling daughter in hat, glasses, and zinc oxide....making her dermatologist proud.  That's my girl!!!

Tra la la post mortem

I don't even know where to start, really, debriefing about my magnificient cruise "experience," so I'll start here.....with a video.

This is from my beach chair, watching my daughter snorkel in the foreground.  My husband and son are on a boat, far far in the distance.

This was not a bad way to spend my vacation.  Shortly I hope to be able to articulate, verbally, some more succicently formed impressions.