An Evening of Pots

November 24, 2018

Now that we live further away from scorching desert heat, Rachel and I have been attempting to expand our porch-garden. When we saw a good deal on glazed clay pots, we figured it was probably time to commit to moving our plants out of spare storage bins and mop buckets. Loading our haul into the car, I momentarily visualized the potential disaster I was creating, in which the fragile ceramics broke loose from their rudimentary restraints and started rolling around in the trunk.

It turns out it was a vision of the future, since that outcome occurred immediately with the first turn out of the parking lot. One pot broke, and in a complication I did not foresee, the two big ones I had nested inside each other wedged themselves together. Despite my frustrated tugging, they remained stubbornly fused. I set them in the living room, repeating my prior attempts each time I passed by.

Enter Adam, my equally nerdy geeky Child Neurology co-intern. He saw the pots in the living room and I explained my current plight. Naturally he took it as a puzzle, and before long we had set about attempting to use the Power of Science to separate them. We filled the bathtub with hot water…and quickly discovered that the water was far too hot to stand in. We solved that temporary setback by putting a cooler in the tub that I balanced in about as awkwardly as Davy Jones on land.

Once we had the pots established in the tub, we filled the inner pot with ice water and dish soap. After about an hour of equilibration, we banged them on the ground over a soft towel. With an ceramic clunk, they separated, hardly worse for the wear. Voilà!

Scheduled (Dis)Appointment

March 9, 2018

There’s no easy way to say this: No matter the Match outcome, a lot of people I love and care about are going to be disappointed. Chances are that if you’re reading this, you have a place in mind you’re hoping I’ll end up. Because my economic class dictates that I can only live in one location at a time, the harsh reality is that in a few weeks I’m going to be the Papa Nowroz of handing out bad news. Once the waveform collapses, I’ll be able to face the inevitable fallout; however, during this purgatorial period, I experience every possible disappointment simultaneously.

It is this feeling that rises to the surface when I am asked if I’m “excited” for the Match. Despite any appearances to the contrary, making people sad isn’t actually one of my life goals. In addition to not being particularly excitable in the first place, that really puts a damper on things. Suffice it to say that I won’t be one of the folks immediately posting on Facebook.

Thanks Bizby!

February 14, 2012

One time I was having a bad day, so J gave me a KitKat. But Bizby ate it while I wasn’t paying attention. Today, she repaid with interest. <3

Now, Lisa, about those Sour Patch Kids…

Canadian Thanksgiving

November 27, 2011

I don’t have any photos of Thanksgiving this year. We opted not to cook and instead ate with some local friends, spending the rest of the time hanging out around the house with our friend Liz, guacamole, onion dip, and movies. I do, however, have some photos of the Canadian Thanksgiving party we threw together last month for Heather, who actually flew back to Canada for American Thanksgiving.

Prevening Boulders

November 27, 2011

It was supposed to be more of an afternoon trip, but by the time we got people together and made the drive out to Joshua Tree, it was more like prevening. In the past I have duct taped the knees of my ripped jeans for adventures such as these, but this time I was convinced to skip that particular ritual. The rocks are rough enough to provide a good grip, but they can be painful when skin is pressed into it by body weight. My knee made its displeasure with the outcome known in the form of several scrapes. Going forward, I’m likely to repair those pants, hot pink duct tape or not.

Despite the memes’ passé status, being ancient history in internet time, we found a few good places to take planking and owling shots. Rachel, being a free spirit, insisted on climbing different rocks than the rest of us, then circled back and climbed our rocks too (her muscles punished her for the extra effort in the following days). One of the highlights of the trip was taking some great midair shots. I squeezed myself into a space beneath two large rocks and, since I left the SLR at home, tried to time the point-and-shoot camera just right. Thanks to our late start, the day concluded with the sun setting over the tops of the rocks, immediately decreasing the ambient temperature and reminding us that it was time to return home.

Perhaps to nullify the exercise, that evening we made ice cream sandwiches, layering a white chocolate macadamia nut cookie, creamy vanilla ice cream, and a chocolate chip cookie to craft an ultimate treat. No pictures of those–they disappeared too fast.

Water Park

August 15, 2011

Back in June and bunch of us bought Groupons for the local amusement park, thinking that there was no way we’d have a problem using them before they expired “in August,” the exact date being today. Thus we had no choice but to spend the afternoon riding water slides and playing mini golf (and a little running through sprinklers). Several of the water slides had some steep drops, making for quite the adrenaline rush. It was possible to rent tubes for some of the slides, but we opted to forgo that and merrily bypassed the longer lines of tube-carriers. Silly people paying to wait!

Overcoming Inertia

August 10, 2011

I stand on the edge of the lake, the weathered rocks pressing uncomfortably into my feet. Chilly water laps at the shore, inviting, daring me to join it; voices behind me yell encouragements. I wave my arms as though loosening up in an attempt to buy time: I am ready to jump, but I stand in place, paralyzed.

I often find myself in situations like this, bifurcated into opposing selves who battle each other to a standstill. I have thought through the situation already, perhaps multiple times, and now I am willing to act. Yet some force continues to hold me back with unnatural strength.

It adapts itself to all sorts of situations, from somewhat risky but enjoyable activities, to projects I want to work on, to difficult tasks in lab. I know that I want and possibly must do it, and that I will feel incredible having completed it–and still the immobility remains. I frequently will engage in a holding pattern around this state until la hora cero has passed. A missed opportunity, yes, but at last freedom from the clutches of indecision.

It begins with the scenarios: What if I trip at the last moment and fall onto the rocks instead of the water? What if the water is too shallow? What if I became a quadriplegic because of what I am about to do right now? If I’m near a computer, it manifests as a compulsion to check Google Reader, Twitter, or even Facebook despite having satisfied my interest only minutes prior. When those have been vanquished (at the expense of considerable mental effort), what remains is not victory but a raw, filleted inertial force insisting “no” in a tortured rasp, as unrelenting as it is irrational.

I don’t know if it’s possible to win these conflicts. The best I have been able to achieve so far has been to work around them, attempting to circumnavigate the fight through trickery. These strategies have taken the form of switching between projects when I feel the inertia beginning to build, committing myself to something (such as a camping trip), or merely thinking about something else for a few minutes rather than allow myself to get lost in an hours-long distraction spree. Perhaps it will become easier with practice.

I walked away from the water, back to where it was partially obscured by the trees. I thought of all the ways following through with my action would score personal victory points. Abruptly, I interrupted my contemplation and began running. My heart pounding, I saw the blue water rapidly approaching, but it was too late to abort. I plunged into the icy depths, surfacing a few moments later with a jubilant shout that, for me, was laden with significance.