Thursday, March 29, 2012

100 miles

Not to be outdone with the imminent end of M3 year, I thought it would be prudent to set a new gigantic goal for the coming months. Some of you may recall that in the summer of 2010 Alicia and I did a 64 mile bike ride. Although I did not realize it at the time, this was basically a metric century, or a 100km ride. Never one to let an opportunity compete with myself pass my by, I thought that another long bike ride was in order – this time I’m doing a real century ride! Alicia’s agreed to join me on a 100-mile ride at the beginning of July, and I’m really excited. I have one day left of inpatient medicine, and then I’ll have outpatient (read: free evenings and weekends), vacation, dermatology, and a research month all in a row. This may be the last time I have 2.5-3 months of reasonable training time for the foreseeable future, so I’m doing it. What I’m not sure yet is exactly where I’m doing it. Last time I had a decision like this to make, that is, where all of the options were good but I knew that other folks would have interesting perspectives, was when I was deciding whether to visit Budapest or Prague. You all were very helpful at that time, so let’s have at it again. There are three options:

1. Iron Horse Ride: This takes place in Ann Arbor and is a fundraising ride for the Michigan Chapter of the ALS Association. I have mixed feelings about a charity ride, no matter how amazing the cause, as I worry that I won’t have enough time to train AND fundraise properly. Also, the ride is in town, and I will have ridden around Ann Arbor plenty by the time the ride arrives. The major plus is that I wouldn’t have to drive in the morning to the ride.

2. Covered Bridge Bike Tour: Organized by the Fallasburg Historical Society, this ride starts in Lowell, MI, outside of Grand Rapids, and winds around the scenic countryside featuring, as the name would suggest, some covered bridges. It looks beautiful, and is also a bit later in the season that the Iron Horse Ride. Major downside is that it’s a few hours away and so would require either a hotel stay the night before or an early drive out there.

3. Kalamazoo Scenic Bicycle Tour (KalTour): Another ride with more scenery, but a longer drive; I think that Lowell, MI and Texas Township, MI are about equidistant from Ann Arbor. As stated before, would probably require a hotel stay or a really early drive.

What do you think?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Cross-posted on Dose of Reality:

It’s really warm out, and although that makes me very nervous for the imminent destruction of the earth as we know it, it is also really nice for walking the dog. For the last week or so, Walter has been smiling. Literally. His nose is so short that when he pants he has to open up his whole mouth and it looks like a giant clown smile. This is an old picture, but gives you an idea of the kind of grin I’m talking about:

I’ve got a week and a half left on my current service (general medicine at the VA) and then four weeks of outpatient medicine, and then this year is officially over, so I’ve been doing a little bit of smiling myself. Lots of friends matched last week, solidifying the plans they’ve been hedging around and making contingencies for over the past few months, and I really love seeing folks so happy and going to the residency programs of their dreams. Ann Arbor is a great place to live for a lot of reasons, and one of the bittersweet perks is that lots of friends will leave for amazing places and incredible opportunities. Match day was a wonderful reminder that at this time next year I too will be at the end of this crazy program, preparing for residency. I’ve also been really enjoying my time at the VA. For a host of reasons I won’t enumerate here (since many of them are administrative and therefore both complicated and boring), I feel so much more useful than I have on many of my rotations. Finally, I've actually been out riding my bike. Smiles all around!

Monday, March 12, 2012


Those of you who know me personally know that I have a great many soap boxes. I try to be judicious in my hopping up and ranting, and remember that it’s important to pick my battles. While I know I’m preaching to the choir here, I’d like to take this opportunity to point out that there were 2,000,000 people registered as Ravelry users on February 29, 2012. Ravelry, for the unintiated, is a social networking site for knitters and crocheters. It’s not much use if you don’t do either of these things, but if you do, it’s pretty awesome. To start with, there are 1,999,999 other crafters posting cool things to look at. But the point of this post was not to extol the virtues of this particular knitting-related resource; it was, instead, to remind the world that there are prodigious numbers of knitters (and crocheters) out there in the world and slowly but surely we are all realizing that we are not alone. A quick google search revealed that 2,000,000 is approximately equal to the population of the city of Houston in 2010, and higher than the population of Philadelphia in the same year. Imagine that a major US city was emptied – it could be completely refilled with knitters and crocheters. So next time someone near you, jokes that he or she saw a knitter on the latest rendition of “Girls Gone Mild” remind him or her that, first of all, boys knit too, and second of all, that we are not mild and will poke you with sharp sticks. Happy 2,000,000th, Ravelry!

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Quick Soup

The last month, as you will have noticed from the marked decrease in blog entries, has been busy. I’ve been back on an inpatient service, meaning that I’m back to only have one day off in seven, averaged over the length of the month. Since we get the switch weekends off (the weekends between services), that means we get 3 days off during the month; this brings the grand total to 5 days. As I have undoubtedly whined here before, and I’m too tired to take the time to look that up right now and reference it for you, 5 days/month is not enough. More specifically, one day at a time is not enough to both accomplish some relaxing and some grocery shopping/laundry/checkbook balancing/cooking/sleeping/studying. Arguably there is not enough time in the world for that second list, but one day each week is not even enough to gets started. This has resulted in an unfortunate dependence on eating random meals at the hospital (thank goodness for the magic of money on my hospital ID graciously put there by the medical school to ensure that I eat), things from my freezer that my mom has brilliantly prepared and stashed away for me, and the crazy stuff I can cook up in the stolen moments between arriving home from the hospital and studying and sleep.

This brings us to the soup. The soup was inspired by two things.

1) The new presence of the Pacific Rim noodle bar in the hospital cafeteria. It’s delicious, vegan (at least if you want it to be), and available at the hospital.

2) This ancient packet of miso soup mix that has been languishing in my pantry for years. I moved that packet of miso soup mix almost two years ago, and I’m pretty sure it had sat in my old apartment for a while prior to the move. I am not one to throw away food that has not really gone bad, and that packet of soup was tormenting me. I could remember that the last packet I ate was not as delicious as I’d hoped, but couldn’t bring myself to just throw it away. So I made it better. I added some random stuff from my pantry (dried mushrooms, dried seaweed, noodles), and it was pretty good. This reminded me that I had a tub of miso paste in the refrigerator that had also spent more than it’s fair share of time in the fridge and would probably actually make better soup.

Miso Soup
3 cups water or vegetable broth
2-3 Tablespoons of miso paste (I used mild yellow miso, you could also use an ancient packet of miso soup here)
dried shitake mushrooms
2-3 baby carrots, thinly sliced
1 stick seaweed kombu, broken into small pieces
1 serving udon noodles (you be the judge here)

Heat the water or broth, add the shitake mushrooms (as many as you’d like) and the seaweed, and bring to a low boil. Add the noodles. I broke them up so that they would be easier to eat. When they are nearly soft, stir in a little bit of the miso paste at a time until you like the flavor of the broth. Add the carrots to the soup, and heat for another 10-15 minutes. The noodles, mushrooms and seaweed should be soft. Enjoy!