Category Archives: Life

What’s my style?

This Domino book advises me to try to apply some labels to my style. I feel like I’ve spent most of my adult life in school and on a low budget, so I often eschewed style for functionality. I’m still very compelled by functionality, but over the past 5 years, have tried to focus on the longevity and appearance of our home wears. I like reusing and re-purposing items. One of the things that I really likes about my parents’ home growing up was that my friends often said that they instantly felt at home there. It was comfortable, without a lot of “off limits” spaces. There were no white couches or rugs. If you spilled something, it wasn’t irreparable. The house felt very lived in.

So, in looking around my home and my closet and other things that I find attractive or interesting, here are a few words I might attach to my developing style:

Granny Chic

One of the things that I like is mixing modern with more traditional styles, but I tend to err on the side of traditional. One of the things that I’m realizing is that in living with a man who is very conservative in his style (opting for the most boring, most bland option) that I have not been as adventurous as I would be were I out decorating a place on my own. Fortunately, my husband recently admitted to me that he trusts me to make these kinds of decisions because even when I pick a wall color that he thinks will be awful, he ends up liking it. So, whew! I’m going to take that as a blank check to be a little more unconventional and dramatic with my design choices.

I’m trying to lean towards more “green” choices (my re-purposing kick always helps), but I simply can’t afford to go crazy with it. Mostly, I plan to focus on finding reuseable items and them investing in a few nice pieces.


Decorating and Updating

We are in a big transition time in our life. Not just the baby on the way, but also the impending Match (the process by which medical students are matched with residency programs). At this point, the most likely contenders are programs in Chicago and Southern California.

If we match in Chicago, then we will continue living in our awesome house. It’s a 1926 Bungalow. We’ve done quite a bit of work on it over the last 2.5 years that we’ve lived here (remodeled the kitchen, removed wallpaper, painted like crazy, etc.), but there is plenty more to do if we will be spending at least 4 more years here (the length of an anesthesia residency).

Last night over dinner, DH and I started making a list of possible updates to the house. There are some big things that need to be addressed, such as “will we remodel the basement?” and “should be try to convert our faux fireplace into something that actually emits heat?” There’s also painting to be done and furniture to buy.

Additionally, I really want to do a better job of decorating. The dining room really needs some attention and the family room/living room/den also needs some TLC.

It’s amazing how expensive things are. Even when it’s worth the investment, I often find myself balking at the prices of various objects and services. Such as, framing art… We have a great Ork poster of Chicago and it is in terrible need of framing. I love the poster and I know that I will love it even more when it’s framed, but I just know that the sticker shock will be painful. But, whatever, I need to just bite the bullet so that I can actually ENJOY my purchase!

I recently purchased the Domino Book of Decorating to help inspire my to update the house. I was very sad when Domino magazine went under, so I’m glad that they left this great book for posterity.

The other two books that I reference periodically are Martha Stewart Living’s Good Things for Organizing and Good Things: A Collection of Inspired Household Ideas and Projects.

As DH and I decide what to do in our home, I’m trying to spend more time looking for inspiration. There are some big things that I’m hoping to accomplish before June when the third member of our family arrives. Plus, I’m guessing that this is also a great opportunity to start the baby-proofing process.

Corn Bunting has begun

My DH’s parents both grew up on farms and so when I was searching on Ravelry for bunting patterns, I thought this one would be fantastic, not to mention funny. I’m making the 3-6 month size so that it’s wear will coincide with Halloween and harvest time.

I’m knitting it out of Berroco Comfort in:

Lovage                                        Buttercup

Unfortunately, the gauge wasn’t working out because this yarn is worsted, rather than sport weight. So, I just adjusted the pattern instead. I’m also adding a hole in the back for a car seat strap to go through. In the front, it will just go through the snaps.

I hope my baby is as cute as the one in this picture!

Nursery Planning – Woodland Decor

Well, there’s a little bundle of joy on the way and I’m starting to think about crafty ways to decorate for the little peanut. Even though we are planning on finding out the sex, I want to stick with green as a basic color and nature/forest/woodland as a theme. If the baby is a girl, I couldn’t bring myself to get all pink-ed out. To each her own, but for this girl: Gross. I was never a girly girl myself and don’t plan on pushing any of my progeny in that direction.

Anyhow, here are some things that I’m hoping to make or purchase or find:

I saw this Acorn Lamp craft on the Martha Stewart show some time ago and thought it looked so whimsical. I thought about making it for our guest room, but never actually got the bug to do it. Now, though, I have a little more motivation!

I like that these use a very low wattage bulb (although with CFLs, I suppose you could go quite a bit brighter) because the acorn looks like it’s glowing when you turn it on. Seems like it could be a good light at night, especially for sleepy, stumbling parents.

I found this room on Oh Dee Oh. It’s is very sparse and while I doubt I will be so restrained in my decorating, I like that it’s not an excessively cutesy space. Too many room ideas I find are way too over the top for my liking. The thing that I really like is the branch above the bed. It has two little fluffy owls perched on it!

I also dig the faux bear skin rug on the floor. It makes me think of a cabin in the woods.

I find terrariums to be so cool and magical. The ones at Green Briar’s Etsy shop are no exception. I envision putting one on a dresser or shelf.

I know that I could make one easily enough, but I’ll have to be on the lookout for cool clear containers like this one is housed in.

Small Constellation MobileI have always been fascinated by Calder’s mobiles and gaze up at them at the Art Institute whenever possible. I like how mobiles look different from various angles and how they sway around, altering their appearance with each movement. This one, found at The Wonderland Studio, looks like a good nursery version.
Birch Tree Decals These birch trees from Single Stone Studios are so statuesque! I think that they would add some height to the room and make it feel more like an intimate space in the forest.
More to come as I continue to nest!

Bottom of the Third

There are only 5 days remaining in my third year of medical school. I don’t know where the time has gone. While preparing for my final exam in pediatrics, I’ve also been a bit overwhelmed by the responsibilities that lie ahead. My fourth year schedule is a bit up in the air right now as I shuffle various electives to try to solidify the “strategy” behind my schedule. I find that there are not enough months in the fourth year to do all of the electives that I want to do. Fourth year is generally seen as a fun and relatively relaxed year (especially the second half when residency applications are submitted and interviews are over). However, as I look ahead, I know that this upcoming year is the last year where I will not be responsible for patient care. I have been providing patient care all year, but not nearly as independently as I will during my intern year. It’s scary to think of that. Also, I continue to struggle with my residency choices. I am sure that I love surgery, but not sure that I am willing to give up the other components in my life to the degree that will likely to necessary. I don’t know where I belong. I want to look back on my choice and say that it was correct, that I would do it all over again. I want to lead a happy, fulfilling life. I don’t want my life to be my work. I want work to be a rewarding part of my life. This is an ongoing conflict in my head. I’m trying to work it out. I’m trying to become centered in myself and in the world around me. I’m doing yoga. I’ve made a serious decision to commit to daily meditation. I’m hoping that these efforts will help me find my path.

Recent Events:

On Friday, I presented my first academic poster. It was on a survey study that my friend and I conducted on healthcare worker decision-making styles (medical students, residents, fellows, attending doctors, nurses, social workers, and Ph.D.s). It went very well and we’re looking forward to writing our manuscript. I think that we have an excellent chance of getting published – which would be awesome. It is so rewarding when work pays off.


Starting next Thursday, I will be taking my first guitar class at the Old Town School of Folk Music. I essentially taught myself guitar (with the help of a few friends), and I’ve stagnated in my progress. I’m hoping to pick up some new skills and meet some new people. I’m always looking to hang out with non-medical people.

In one week (during my medical school vacation), I have a three day long intensive ethics consultation course. The course actually lasts several weeks, but most of it is online. I’m really looking forward to practicing my consultation skills. I haven’t lead a consultation since before medical school. I’m also excited to hear how other people have been trained – what works for them, what has been troublesome, effective, etc. I think that there are so many ways to do it well and I’m happy to have the opportunity to see more than my limited viewpoint.

How to search for bioethics literature

If you are looking for ways to access bioethics literature, here are several options that I have found to be useful.

1. Your university/institutional library:
If you are affiliated with a university or other institution that has access to online research tools, then your library will You can search for ethics resources in the same way that you would search for any other resources in Ovid. I usually search for a topic (such as “informed consent” or “access to medicine”) and then also search for “ethics” and map the two together. Most major journals include ethical topics in their scope of interest. Depending on the level of accessibility that your institution provides, you may have full text access to these articles.

4. Project MUSE (“full text, affordable access to current content from prestigious humanities and social sciences journals”)
6. Ethic Share – this search engine for ethics papers was recently launched. It has a great collection of sources. Although it is designed to link into your institution’s library system (I assume so that you could link to full text when available), that feature does not seem to be functioning at this time (at least not for me). I’m guessing that as the system is up longer, this issue will be resolved.
7. HighWire Press (Stanford) – Access to free online full text articles. According to its site “HighWire Press is the largest archive of free full-text science on Earth.” Not all articles are free, but many are, so it’s worth taking a look.
Good luck with your research!

Medical Specialty Aptitude Test

This morning I took the Medical Specialty Aptitude Test from Virginia University Medical School. It’s a 130 question test that helps guide you in terms of which specialties might best fit you. It’s open to anyone, so if you are just curious what kind of a doctor you might be if you followed that path, give it a try.

I am actually quite impressed with how close it is to specialties I am currently considering: general surgery and anesthesia (both of which came out in my top 7). Colorectal surgery is a fellowship after general surgery, so those really don’t sit independently. Nuclear medicine is a fellowship after Radiology. Urology is a surgical subspecialty. Dermatology is its own subspecialty, which precludes the need for a 3 year internal medicine residency.

Also impressive is that the bottom choices are also what I consider to be my bottom choices through personal reflection. Psychiatry, neurology, internal medicine and family medicine are all important fields, but I do not fit into them at all.

I am amused by the fact that aerospace medicine (whatever that is) lies so low on the list considering that I am married to an aerospace engineer.

Rank Specialty Score
1 colon & rectal surgery 47
2 nuclear med 46
3 urology 45
4 general surgery 45
5 dermatology 44
6 radiation oncology 44
7 anesthesiology 43
8 emergency med 43
9 nephrology 43
10 pathology 43
11 occupational med 42
12 radiology 41
13 thoracic surgery 41
14 obstetrics/gynecology 41
15 gastroenterology 41
16 hematology 40
17 ophthalmology 40
18 plastic surgery 40
19 otolaryngology 39
20 orthopaedic surgery 39
21 pulmonology 39
22 infectious disease 39
23 med oncology 38
24 neurosurgery 37
25 rheumatology 37
26 cardiology 37
27 allergy & immunology 36
28 endocrinology 36
29 preventive med 36
30 pediatrics 36
31 aerospace med 35
32 psychiatry 34
33 neurology 34
34 physical med & rehabilitation 30
35 general internal med 30
36 family practice 29