Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Capitol

Friday was a gorgeous day here in Washington DC, therefore I decided to be a productive tourist and explore some of the amazing buildings and architecture of our nation's Capitol. Here are some highlights!

1. Chinatown: Not really a classic Chinatown anymore. Basically an area that has been extremely developed, but used to be the Chinatown of the area. Lots of great eateries and also not too far from the Sculpture Garden, a beautiful park with amazing flowers and pretty interesting sculptures!

2. The Capitol Building: This is where I started my "monument" tour. I didn't go inside this time, since it was really sunny and warm outside, but I took some pictures from the outside (again, I don't have my camera wire that connects to the computer yet, so pictures are forthcoming later!) I love the Capitol building - it evokes exciting feelings in me for the amazing potential the inside has to bring good to people.

3. National Mall: Our nation's "backyard" as it is known, has awesome views of the Capitol Building on one side and the Washington Monument on the other.

4. Smithsonian Air and Space Museum: I wanted to see cool airplanes. The place is alright. Definitely not the best Smithsonian museum available to visit. I definitely look forward to visiting some of the other Smithsonian institutions on my next DC trip.

5. Washington Monument: Surrounded by scores of American flags, this phallic symbol is also a very pride-inducing piece of work.

6. Jefferson Memorial: I love the outside of this memorial - the domed top and all the columns really make it a great stop.

7. Cherry Blossoms and The FDR Memorial: Although I've seen the beautiful cherry blossoms before, the FDR memorial was a new discovery for me. I have actually never seen this memorial before. Probably because it is located on the far end of the reflecting lake that is surrounded by beautiful Cherry blossoms (which officially will bloom next week, creating an absolutely beautiful sight of pink and white blooms). The Cherry Blossoms are absolutely a must see - so plan a visit to the Capitol at least once in your life around this season!

8. Lincoln Memorial: Although I love the Jefferson Memorial building, I absolutely adore the Lincoln statue. His face and posture, sitting in his giant chair, evoke such calm but determined and passionate leadership. It helps, of course, that I also find Lincoln to be one of our greatest Presidents, therefore I may be pretty biased.

9. WWII Memorial: This is a beautiful tribute to the soldiers who lost their lives in the protection of our country. And of course, I found the wreath dedicated to California and, because I freely admit to being biased, thought it was the best one (despite them all being absolutely identical).

All in all, I walked quite a bit! I was exhausted by the time I was finished, but the whole trip was well worth it. I highly recommend everyone visit DC - you absolutely can't leave without feeling moved in some way and continuing to be extremely proud of our Country.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Trip to Washington DC

I spent the day today in our nation's Capitol and I had an absolutely amazing time. I always feel such a great energy when I walk along the beautiful sidewalks of Washington DC. Such history and such excitement! I had a tour of the DNC by my great friend RK. Then, I walked around the Capitol grounds - it was a gorgeous, sunny day today and I soaked it all up. I also walked by the Supreme Court and all the Senate and Congressional office buildings, where the Senators and Congressman conduct their daily business.

Picture update: Since I recently moved and am currently not home, I am not sure where I put the wire that connects my Blackberry camera to the computer - therefore, pictures of all my travels last week in NYC and this week in DC will be forthcoming. Please be patient!

Just as an update on NYC for my FAVORITE 2nd/3rd graders: I have oodles of pictures of skyscrapers, of the Statue of Liberty, of the Empire State Building, of a hot dog vendor, and of me on the Staten Island Ferry (that is a boat that shuttles folks around).

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Quickies: DC, Twitter, Staten Island, NYSC

1. DC Trip: I am now in DC - I arrived today on the Tripper Bus, which dropped me off in Bethesda very near to where my family lives! How excited am I to be back in old stomping grounds!!! I can't wait to visit Baltimore and see Booker T again and have an amazing week with my nephews and old friends. On a side note, the Tripper Bus is absolutely AMAZING - I recommend it highly. The driver was extremely courteous, the ride was smooth and comfortable, they showed a movie, the bus was immaculately clean, and we departed and arrived on time. Excellent service!

2. Twitter: I have succumbed to the curiosity and pressure. If you take a look to the left of the screen, there is a new feature called "Dispatches o' the Journey" - this is a Twitter. For those of you who haven't heard of Twitter (myself included until recently), it allows me to send text messages from my phone that are automatically updated onto my blog - so even when I don't have time or am not by the computer to write a full blog post, I can send a text message with a small update! You can now LITERALLY follow me every moment of the day...assuming I post that many updates. Little weird and stalkerish, but I'm willing to try it out. I DO love the texting feature.

3. Staten Island: I'm all moved to Staten Island now. When I return to NYC on the 29th, I will be in Staten Island for 3 months during my surgery rotation. Should be exciting. Well, maybe not - it is Staten Island, after all. The only saving grace is I have an awesome roommate.

4. NYSC: The New York Sports Club, the gym with which I am a member, is offering a special promotion until the end of March. Join and mention that I referred you and I get $50. I'm willing to give you a cut. But mostly, you should join for your own health. The $50 will only help me in my pursuit to reduce my circa $150,000 and growing debt. But really, don't feel obligated.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Fun Fact For the Day

If you farted consistently for 6 years and 9 months, enough gas is produced to create the energy of an atomic bomb.

Now THAT is what I call some serious gas!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Skyscrapers and Statues and Vendors...OH MY!!

You know, it is amazing how fast the week passes by when you are just chillin'! It is already Thursday! Here is what I have done so far on my days off:

Monday: Awoke at 11am, went to the gym for two hours, studied for 4 hours, went to dinner with some friends.

Tuesday: Awoke at 10am, went to the gym for two hours, studied for 4 hours, went to dinner with some other friends.

Wednesday: Awoke at 7am, went to the gym for an hour and half, met a friend for lunch from Fresno, studied for three hours, went to dinner with some other friends.

You know, for being somebody who likes to be spontaneous sometimes, I'm sure not proving it! But in my defense, my FAVORITE 2nd/3rd graders didn't give me a list of things they wanted to see until yesterday afternoon. And let me tell you, they came up with some exciting and truly unique things! That being said, I leave for DC on Saturday so there is no way I'm going to be able to get to all the places before I leave, but hopefully as many as I can! Stay tuned to the blog for pictures and story updates on where I go!

OH - and of course, after a week of beautiful temperatures and sun sun sun, today it is overcast and expected to rain. OF COURSE! Therefore, not a good day to visit the top of the Empire State Building - but hopefully the rains will clean up the air today and tomorrow will be sparkly outside for a visit. CLASS - WHO KNOWS: HOW MANY STORIES IS THE EMPIRE STATE BUILDING? IF YOU DON'T KNOW THE ANSWER, WHERE CAN YOU LOOK IT UP??? 100 POINTS TO THE FIRST TEAM TO LOOK UP THE ANSWER!!!

Jasmine - you want to see a skyscraper? There are an incredible amount of them in New York City. In fact, the Empire State Building is a skyscraper! I'll get a picture of a skyscraper up on here soon - it will be one of the first things - stay tuned!

Angelina - no, there is no more snow here at the moment. Although, this being New York, you can never tell if the weather will take one more dip into cold temperatures and dump some more snow on us. But at this point in the season, it is unlikely. What is the temperature like in Fresno now? Warming up, I bet!

Have a great day in class today!!!
And hopefully I'm going to have a great day in NYC today!!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Upcoming Events

I have nothing to do this week. I have finished my 12 week internal medicine rotation and don't start my 12 week surgery rotation until March 30. I still have to study in preparation for my exams, however, I have some free time to relax and enjoy the city!

Here is the current schedule:
March 16 - Relax, Workout, Study
March 17 - Relax, Workout, Study
March 18 - Relax, Workout, Study (see a pattern yet?)
March 19 - Relax, Workout, Study (yet?)
March 20 - Relax, Workout, Study (YET?!)
March 21 - Depart NYC for DC/Baltimore
March 22-29 Relax in DC/Baltimore, Play Games w/Nephews, Workout, Study
March 29 - Celebrate my Nephew's Birthday Party!!! Then depart for NYC
March 30 - Return to NYC

As you can see, I have "Relax" inserted in many spots - so feel free to hit the comments below and send me suggestions of things YOU would want to do if you were in NYC. I will go do them and then post pictures up here. Most especially, if you are my FAVORITE 3rd grade class (hint, hint Mrs. A), think of something fun you would want to do in NYC and I will go take a picture there and post it up here for you guys!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

"The Station" by Robert J. Hastings.

An avid blog reader, Dianne, sent me the following. It was written by Robert J. Hastings and really captures the essence of enjoying and appreciating the gifts we receive in life each day. Hope you enjoy the passage as much as I did!

"Tucked away in our subconscious is an idyllic vision. We see ourselves on a long trip that spans the continent. We are traveling by train. Out the windows we drink in the passing scene of cars on nearby highways, of children waving at a crossing, of cattle grazing on a distant hillside, of smoke pouring from a power plant, of row upon row of corn and wheat, of flatlands and valleys, of mountains and rolling hillsides, of city skylines and village halls.

But uppermost in our minds is the final destination. Bands will be playing and flags waving. Once we get there our dreams will come true, and the pieces of our lives will fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. How restlessly we pace the aisles, damning the minutes for loitering - waiting, waiting, waiting for the station.

"When we reach the station, that will be it!" we cry.
"when I'm 18"
"when I buy a new 450sl Mercedes-Benz!"
"when I put the last kid through college"
"when I have paid off the mortgage!"
"when I get a promotion."
"when I reach the age of retirement,I shall live happily ever after!"

Sooner or later we realize there is no station, no one place to arrive at once and and for all. The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly outdistances us. "Relish the moment" is a good motto, especially when coupled with Psalm 118:24: "This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it." It isn't the burdens of today that drive men mad. It is the regrets over yesterday and the fear of tomorrow. Regret and fear are twin thieves who rob us of today.

So stop pacing the aisles and counting the miles. Instead climb more mountains, eat more ice cream, go barefoot more often, swim more rivers, watch more sunsets, laugh more, cry less. Life must be lived as we go along. The station will come soon enough."

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Evidence of Global Warming

There are those who debate the merits of what scientists call Global Warming. Regardless of whether you believe in it or now, I would argue that the measures we should take to stop global warming, such as cutting emissions, investing in renewable energy, increasing spending on public transportation instead of highways, are all things that would help us live in a healthier environment. This is not an issue that should divide us politically! Our health and the well-being of our planet are issues that should unite us - and they surely deserve our best ideas.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Writer's Block

The past several days, I have been left wondering what to write about. I haven't had any particularly exciting days at the hospital, haven't had any particularly interesting patient cases, and haven't really done any major exploring of the city. I have, by all accounts, had a very routine week! Granted, I'm sleeping on a pull-out sofa while I finish my rotation in Brooklyn, before moving to Staten Island, where I will sleep in my own bed, albeit in the living room. And granted, I do have some awesome views of the city from the hospital, which I absolutely do appreciate.

But nothing exciting - no pizazz. My life is currently, well, pretty routine and average.

It is quite possible that I'm missing something. Therefore, if any of you have a particular request for what you want to read about, hit the comments section below and let me know. I'd be happy to oblige. But if not, then I will continue to merrily go through the week, in my skip-hop way, blissfully enjoying my time in NYC...though not doing anything of note.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Weekends Move Too Fast

I love the weekends. I get studying done, I get some rest and relaxation, I complete most of my personal errands, and I even fit in some fun with friends. But this all comes to an end toward the end of Sunday when the mind starts drifting back to what will have to happen less than 24 hours later - going back to work. Granted, "work" for me is a relative term. I AM still a student, after all; however, my "classes" are in the hospital with real patients and real decisions that can make real impacts on the lives of others - so ya, I go to work.

And quite frankly, I'm over it.

That's right, I am over going to work. I don't enjoy the trouble of getting mentally ready the night before. I don't enjoy the daily task of picking out a shirt and tie and pants. I despise having to leave the house before it is even light outside. And I vehemently protest the 1 hour train ride I must take to work, having to hug my neighbor since it is rush hour and the train is pretty packed.

Some of you will send encouraging notes in the comments about making the best of it and looking on the bright side. Listen - I have rosier glasses than just about anyone. But regardless, Monday mornings are not my thing. And until I find a ridiculously satisfying job, they will continue to bug me and leave me asking, "WHY?!"

Monday, March 2, 2009

Quotables: Avoiding Blah, Blah, Blah Presentations

"The secret of a good sermon is to have a good beginning and a good ending; and to have the two as close together as possible."
- George Burns

This extremely important principle absolutely applies to something else in my life - medicines. Unfortunately, the idea is lost on most Professors who enjoy the sound of their voice and seem to become blind to the bobbing heads with closed eyes in the audience in front of them.

Are you giving a lecture or presentation soon? Here are my Top 5 Things I wish every presenter would do when presenting a lecture:
  1. Stop Using PowerPoint: I view PowerPoint as the death of a good educational presentation. It is amazing to show pictures with or do some cool demos for everyone to see. But, too many professors now use PowerPoint to speed through as much information as possible, thinking that as long as they say something, it is the same as teaching it. This is not true.
  2. Don't just read your presentation: This ties to point 1 - many professors just read through what they have written on PowerPoint. This is NOT effective! Plus it is incredibly boring and infuriating to sit through.
  3. Monotone is unacceptable: Please, for the love of God do not go through an entire lecture without varying your voice.
  4. Assess Understanding: This is NOT done by quickly asking "do you understand" then moving on to your next point. Assessing properly requires Socratic questioning, giving students time to process your points with their neighbors, and opportunities to practice.
  5. Keep...It...SHORT: Non-stop talking for a long time guarantees that the listener will remember a progressively smaller percentage of what you are saying. Pick about three main points and drive that point home. Want an example of how to do this effectively? Watch a Joel Osteen sermon.
Finally, I suppose it doesn't hurt to have an interesting topic. Last time I checked, everything about medicine is pretty darn interesting, so please, don't kill it with a poor presentation.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Did You Know

Did You Know - that your Doctor probably feels this way. Not all the time, but pretty darn often.

Now You Know!