Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Reading

I have recently had the joy and delight twice in the past few months of having a casual acquaintance scold me for not reading to my daughter before bed every night.  The phrase, “bad mother” might have been used.  I think there’s some sort of domestic ideal which looks like the children taking a bath and happily scampering to bed to hear mommy read a story, followed by a kiss goodnight and tucking in.  Then mommy and daddy have grown up time.  Any deviation from the script = inadequate mothering.  Oh my goodness there is just so much to unpack here.

First of all, I am not the only adult living in my house.  Can someone explain to me — if indeed reading is something that must take place every night before bed — why I personally am the only one who is capable of doing this?

Second, reading at bed has become my daughter’s ultimate procrastination weapon.  She will delay delay delay getting ready, despite constant prodding, and then her bedtime will pass, and then all of a sudden she wants to read three books, where previously she showed no interest.  I am not playing this game.  Once bedtime happens, no more entertainment.  Period.  It will still take 15 more minutes to get her in her room with the door closed and lights out after this, and I need to go to bed as well, so this is not negotiable.

We could “just” take her upstairs for bed at 7 to shoot for an 8 pm bedtime.  However often my husband and I are still doing stuff at that point in time, and sometimes I’m not even home yet.  Other nights we finally get to relax at 7. We could ask our au pair to do that for us, but then we put ourselves in a position where we have to be up both my daughter’s ass and the ass of the au pair in order to get this accomplished.  This is unpleasant for everyone involved.  We do do this sometimes anyway, but it is always suboptimal.

So, we have decided to ask our au pair to read to Dylan in the afternoons, which she probably does sometimes.

In any case, our daughter CAN read, she has a good vocabulary, and quite frankly this just doesn’t seem like something we need to be freaking out about, much less me personally being the target of some jerk face I don’t know very well randomly scolding me.  I do wish bedtimes were less of a pain in the ass, but the bottom line is that I’m not even primarily responsible for putting my daughter to bed on many many nights.  So how is this my fault again?  Why do people I don’t know well feel comfortable opining?

How do you head off conversations that seem to be heading down the path of mommy shaming?  Do you just sit there and politely take it?  Do you try to explain yourself?  I usually do the latter but I’m wondering if a quick condescending, “Well someday if you ever have kids maybe you’ll develop a more flexible outlook on life,” or perhaps, “Huh that’s interesting.  If you’ll excuse me I have to go do work now,” and rolling my eyes internally would be the best way to approach it depending on the context.

PS I’m not interested in advice on how to get my daughter in bed on time.

BTW -- Here is an example tarantula video since I keep talking about them  I may be minorly obsessed.  :-)

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

how to prevent the freak out

Yesterday I:
- got up at 4:45 and went swimming
- walked dog in AM
- had occupational health appointment
- did 10 anesthesia questions
- did three more online trainings for fellowship
- started creating a cover letter for my job search
- dentist appointment
- had dinner with a friend from college and her family

It was a pretty full day, but I felt like I got a lot done despite there being two major out of the house events (occupational health and dentist appointment).

But my list of things I must get done now or else is exploding:
- cover letters -- do I customize?  My chair is sending them to 4 specific places with a conversation with the chair of their department -- this situation is causing me an inability to write the damn letter because I can't figure out whether or how to customize for each institution
- study for boards (trying to do 2h per day, and completely failing)
- send research agenda to other PI for other meeting
- prepare for research meeting this afternoon
- submit IRB for new study -- have to do all the ppwk.  ALL.
- revise IRB from renewal I did a few weeks ago
- finish online training
- meeting today at 2:30 (will destroy entire second half of day -- guaranteed)
- revise and submit manuscript to journal
- schedule and have phone conversation with other PI

Then there's the other stuff I wanted to get done during by 30 seconds of free time this month:
- organize my bedroom
- weed the garden
- get a mirror and new bed for Luca at IKEA
- consolidate retirement accounts
- try to understand the new commuter benefit we get for work which seems really complicated and convoluted

I also want to exercise... I think I should be able to do that.

I just can't seem to make these goddamn admin tasks disappear.  It's like whack-a-mole.  If I do finish a task, two new ones pop up in their place.  New tasks just appear that mustbedonenoworelse.  I feel like I wouldn't be able to keep track of everything without a list, but some days I feel like the only thing I accomplish is adding new things to my list.

As a side note, your thoughts on whether and how to customize a set of cover letters that my chair (not I ) is sending to departments on my behalf, that would be really helpful.

Also, just to complain, today is the SECOND squad day Dyl has had at camp this summer (at the same camp).  This means that she's supposed to wear a Philadelphia team jersey or some other item of apparel.  We haven't purchased her one because we don't give a crap about sports they are freaking expensive and she's just going to outgrow them, and we don't need MORE clothes, but she is sad because she's basically the only kid without one.  Apparently.

And also, we are nearing completion of the Magic Tree House books.  Any suggestions on books to read aloud to her/that she can read even though she won't would be most appreciated.  Harry Potter*, Ramona, Roald Dahl, and the Little House on the Prairie Series have all been vetoed.  Thx. 


*And to be honest, there is so much social pressure to consume these AND love them -- because be honest, is any other reaction to them socially acceptable? -- that I don't particularly want to read them either.  Call me oppositional, it is what it is.


Sunday, July 15, 2018

Relaxation

Well so much for relaxing and studying before fellowship starts.  I now have a bunch of research meetings set up, am submitting an IRB and polishing a job talk because.... in order to ensure I get the job I want when I am done with all this training, I realized recently that I need to go on the job market.  😬

Part of me knew I had to do this before, but I realized that it needs to happen now.  Still trying to figure out how this is all going to shake out since I’m also going to be starting fellowship kinda simultaneously (time off for interviews, etc.), but yep.

A few months ago I posed the question to a group of mentors, “How do you deal with being responsible for the happiness of everyone in your family?”  Everyone said, “Of course you’re not responsible!”  But if you’re dragging your family around for a damn job which you hope — but don’t really know — if you will like, uprooting then from their job and their school where things are going great for them currently, ya kind of are.  Just saying.  I do know, however, that if I satisfice with a job I am meh about, neither I nor anyone else in my family will be happy under that scenario.  Selfish careerist bitch?  Perhaps.  But at least I know what makes me happy, or unhappy as the case may be.

I may make this blog private for a while until the ink is dry on a job offer/contract.  Not sure when, but... yeah.  Just to be safe.  I probably should. This is important.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Exercise

I have exercised every day but one (the day we flew back from Italy) since residency ended.  It’s been almost two weeks and I can already see a difference and feel a difference.

I am still horrifyingly our if shape though.  Gd residency.  I can run 2 miles (still hate it!), and today I swam 2000y for the first time in oh.... 8 years.  I was a little surprised that I was able to do it at all.  Interestingly each time I’ve taken up swimming in the past after a long hiatus, my back has gotten really sore, like a pretty severe muscle strain from a limited (think 500 yards) amount of yardage.  That didn’t happen this time, which I attribute to the yoga and body weight exercise I’ve been doing quasi regularly since last September.  So, that’s good I guess, right?

The question I have for myself in the back of my mind is a bit of why do this to myself when I’m only going to start fellowship and not be able to exercise again?

The reason is — or so I am telling myself — is that I’m hoping that I can get my baseline fitness up to a slightly higher level which I can then maintain once the work starts showering down on me again.  It’s not that much more difficult to lift 10lbs compared to 8 from a time standpoint, for instance.  Or run (yuck) 2.5 miles compared to 2.  And getting to swim or climb or.... do unscheduled exercise of other varieties is much more enjoyable when you’re in a little bit of shape to begin with.  Being able to go up 5 routes at the climbing gym is much more satisfying than 2, especially when you’re paying $20 for the privilege of doing it!  Similarly with the pool.

Am I deluding myself?  Probably. But it feels good now, so I’m going to keep at it until I’m too tired to do it anymore.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Policy

I recently attended a health policy conference.  I've been going to this conference now for several years, and always find it interesting and helpful, and fantastic to be able to catch up with all sorts of people from my past who still do health policy.

Some thoughts I had in retrospect:

1. There were very few anesthesiologists in attendance -- maybe 3-5 of us in total out of over a thousand attendees.   This is problematic.  I was privy to a research proposal that wanted to employ hospitalists as an additional preoperative consultation to assess elderly patient frailty prior to surgery.  Apparently medicine people think that it's "the anesthesia" that causes frail people to go bonkers* in the hospital after surgery, and that if *only* someone saw these patients in advance, and didn't do a "bad job" with the anesthesia or postoperative care this problem would be fixed.  It felt like she did not appreciate that not only are both anesthesiologists and surgeons aware that frailty is a problem post operatively, we a) perform a preoperative evaluation that assesses this, and b) as much it is possible given the constraints of the patient and the procedure, already design our anesthetics in order to minimize the exposure these patients have to medications that tend to make them go bonkers after surgery.  Perhaps failure to appreciate patient frailty preoperatively by anesthesia/surgery really is a problem, or there are other barriers to creating an anesthetic plan to help prevent it, but maybe start by assessing that, not just inserting your own specialty -- at extra cost to the health care system -- into a system you know nothing about.

Side rant: Do you know how annoying it is to read a pre-op note by an internist saying "spinal only" in a patient with severe aortic stenosis, or, frankly AT ALL, because sometimes a spinal just isn't the right choice for the procedure?  Or when an internist writes a note saying the patient should never be intubated because of their lung disease, but they need a procedure that to do safely, require general anesthesia?  Gaining the trust of those patients can be really difficult.  Lesson here: stay in your lane.  Goddamn it anesthesia, if you don't go to these types of conferences and put yourself out there, some jackass who knows nothing about surgery/anesthesia is going to decide that we aren't real doctors and that we don't add value and replace us with something else, like a computer.  Or an internist.

2. A prominent figure got up and said that we need to let go of the ideas that a) preventive care is going to save the system money (but also that we should promote it anyway because it's the right thing to do for patients), or b) that if we lower health care costs, care will get better and outcomes will improve.  A-freaking-men.  Finally.

3. Most of the people in attendance were PhD-onlies.  Really, probably over 80% were.  Do you know what this means?  It means that health policy, how your hospital is evaluated, what your job is like as a physician, what medical treatments patients should get or not get, is being designed by people who may have never worked in (or even been in) a hospital.  Tell me why this might be a problem.

There was a call for more people who are dual trained -- who can do the research AND who understand how hospitals work -- to start doing more policy work and work more closely with hospital CEOs.  Oh, and they also want people who have management experience.  I wanted to jump up and down and say, ME!!!  Hire ME!  I have all of the things!  I just need to finish my training (only one more year, people) and get someone to pay me for these skills.  The unfortunate reality is that doctors are not incentivised to do this sort of work -- either financially, via promotion, or even given protected time to do anything else but see as many patients as possible.  Always -- and until that happens, most aren't going to do it. God I hope I will be able to find someone to pay me for the job I've been training for these past 15 years once this training is all over.

Anyway....


*The lay term for post operative delirium

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Misc. thoughts

Sadly, we have now returned from Italy.  The flight was fine, save for poor Pickle developing God-awful motion sickness on the flight back and then vomiting or dry heaving for 2+ hours.  Almost non-stop.  Despite having been premedicated with Benadryl.  In retrospect, I think the Benadryl may have worn off, which might have been why this happened?  But still, next time I think I may try Dramamine or sea bands. 

It's funny, a large part of my job as an anesthesiologist is to prevent people from vomiting, but yet in this situation I was relatively powerless.  Alas, running a propofol infusion for your child in an airplane would probably raise more than a few eyebrows. 

*****

Read an interesting article by LV on asking for help.  And, largely I agree: most people like being asked for help, and may even end up liking you MORE if you ask, even if they must decline.  OTOH there are those with unreasonable requests, such when someone asked me if  I could allow her to become part of our "family" for the purposes of our pool membership so that they did not have to pay the full rate.  I declined, but I felt really uncomfortable.  Apparently a different friend said yes though, since they seem to be appearing at the pool regularly now, so maybe I was being a prude?  Gah.  I feel icky.  Or that other friend who asked me to feed and walk her dog while she was out of town for $10, and then added on two other dogs, and care of three cats, and Oh! Can I also do the next three days?  She'll happily pay me $20 more!  Ugh. 

So, I guess what I'm saying it is a mixed bag.  I will say, people were VERY helpful on the airplane yesterday when I asked around if anyone had any wipes to help clean up my vomit covered daughter, so I would wager that its very different if the request is a) easy to accommodate, b) doesn't involve breaking rules. 

*****

Got up at 5 today because of jet lag.  Walked dog, went for run, had breakfast with my daughter, who is SO SO happy to see our au pair again.  Seriously.  I have a heinously long to do list, and just looking at it is giving me anxiety.  In reality, if I chip away at it, I think I can get everything done... it's just that I can't get bogged down in freaking out about the huge mass of work sitting in front of me, and just chip away at it a little at a time.  It will all come together, I hope, before I plunge into the exceedingly time consuming abyss of fellowship.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Alta Lessinia

Today we went to Lessinia, an area just north of Verona where Luca spent his summers (threshing hay and harvesting cherries)* when he was a child.  The weather was a cool and dry 75 degrees with a light breeze.  Initially we were going to see some prehistoric things that had been suggested to him by his father, but instead we mostly drove around taking in the beautiful scenery and looking at cows. 

While we were up there, we cooked up the plan to have gnocchi di malga just outside of Bosco Chiesanuova**, where Luca's father often takes us for the most amazing flour and butter (i.e. senza patate) gnocchi when we visit.  But when we got there, it was early, so we drove down to the town and spotted signs for.... BoscoPark, which is a ropes course with zip lines and the like for kids and grown-ups that recently opened.  They opened one in Fairmont park too, in Philly, but Dylan has been too scared to go, so we had deferred.  Today we had her try the Baby course, which she loved, so we moved her up to the intermediate one which was about 15 ft off the ground.  She had so much fun!  We got so lucky that we found the place.

THEN we went to get gnocchi and Dyl had cotoletta for the 1,000,000th time this vacation.  Luca spoke with the owner for a bit who was interested to know that he was Roberto's son and we lived in America.  If you go, and happen to want gnocchi di malga, let me know and I can tell you where to find it!

We drove home and made one last stop at Dylan's cousin's house to say goodbye until next year. 

Honestly, I had really low expectations for the day, but it turned out really nice, and still would have been even if we hadn't found BoscoPark.  Also, it's nice to know that Dylan is brave enough (and mostly tall enough) for these sorts of activities now.  So much fun! 


*And for this reason, he mocks the voluntary fruit picking many engage in back home for leisure, a quality that endears him to me, as I have always hated the activity with a passion.  :-)

**Another place that is way easier to get to with a car.

It’s all about the ass

I first noticed that this was a thing when our second au pair arrived and had not a single pair of shorts that fully covered her ass.  The trend didn’t hit Philly until a few years later, I guess it’s no surprise that Italy, which is where she was from,  was ahead of us on that one.  But now it’s basically impossible to find a pair of shorts that covers even a little bit of my thighs.  Our current au pair tells me they are called “hot pants” which... sometimes it’s nice having a young  person living in your house so you can stay current with the trends/have a preview of what life will be like when your current 6 year old morphs into a teenager.

And then there were the bathing suits.  I will often go into amazon and get a new bikini at the beginning of the summer.  Usually volcom, bodyglove, and billabong have suits that work for me.  This year my suit arrived and I noticed that he bottom... didn’t really cover all of my ass.  If I pulled it up high enough so that the top of my butt was covered (as I now gather it is supposed to be worn) a large portion of the bottom of my butt hung out and I kind of had a perma wedgie.    Initially I chalked this up to the 5 lbs I put on during residency which went straight to my ass (our current au pair tells me I’m lucky — big  butts are in, she says) but now I think it may be because bikini  styles have changed.  Grumble grumble.

In Italy no adult woman goes to the pool in a one piece.  Even to swim laps.  They have some pretty cute bikinis for swimming laps here too!  I may acquire something like that when I get home for use at the pool this summer.  Yesterday I saw a woman who was a really good swimmer doing LAPS in an up-the-butt bikini.  Personally I think that may be going too far, but maybe I’m just jealous.  

Maybe when I return to Philly I’ll have the confidence to wear the up-the-butt bikini I bought by accident on amazon.  Is 41 too old to wear something like that?  Inquiring minds want to know.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Arco

I started occasionally going climbing at a rock gym near Philly a few months back, and it turns out my program director (best program director EVER) and his wife climb there too.  I mentioned we were going to Italy in July and where in Italy we were going, and he asked, “Oh have you ever been to Arco?”

I had never heard of Arco, but it turns out there is a big climbing competition there called RockMaster (imagine this said with a thick Italian accent), and it’s kind of.... the crunchy hipster town of the Garda Lake area.  In other words totally up our alley.  So we went, and it was amazing.

We arrived at about 13:30 and had some lunch.  Then we somehow tricked Dylan into going on a mini hike up to the Castello d’Arco which was on top of a super high crag sticking out into the sky overlooking the town. She complained a lot, but not as much as we thought she would.  Then we had ice cream and strolled around the town.  It was a typical Italian town with cute little streets and shops, only instead of selling designer clothing and jewelry, they sold climbing gear. 😊😊😊 In other words, it was fantastic.  I was able to find a new winter coat for Dylan (a Vaude) that was marked down significantly because it is summer.

If I had even a small pair of balls, we would have done a family climbing excursion.  At 6, Dylan is juuust old enough.  But a) I am out of shape and there is no way I could endure 4 hours of climbing even the easiest routes, b) I can be a scaredy cat of open and exposed rock walls, and c) I was worried Dyl would be super scared, so maybe this is something we can attempt a few years from now.  Better yet, maybe we can do so in Cortina.  Multi pitch climb up the Tre Cime?  Not sure I want to sie, but sure looks like it could be fun!

Then we drove to lake Tenno which was up a seriously windy road and was perfect and turquoise and not even that cold.  I skipped out on the swimming but Luca and Dylan went and had a blast.  It was really beautiful up there.

Then we drove down to Riva del Garda and walked around the historical center, down to the Garda Lake, and sat and ate dinner at a tourist trap restaurant that had Spritz.  We got home at around 10.  It was lovely!

Note: none of this would have happened if my program director hadn’t mentioned it, so he deserves a giant thank you.

Today Luca and I got up “early” (I.e. 9am) to go swimming in the outdoor pool that has long course meters.  It was completely exhausting, but I’m glad we went.  I always forget how much easier yards are.  Then we went to lunch with the family to celebrate Luca’s parents’ anniversary and I ate.... way too much, but at least not the Italian diabetic/cardiac/renal diet that we eat normally.  Afterwards we went to my brother-in-law’s house and shot water guns, shot baskets, and played frisbee with the girls.  They had a blast and got totally drenched in the hot sun.  Then they played with play doh and we sat and ate grapes and rode bicycles home.

Tomorrow?  Planning is still in progress, but it is our last day here which is sad.  This vacation has definitely had its ups and downs.  Thinking about how to improve upon it for next time.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Yesterday

Yesterday was....

Well, it definitely was.

I think the best part of my day by far was watching some you tube videos Dylan found of a guy who must have over 50 tarantulas.  He has videos of him feeding them, giving them water, shipping them to people in the mail (yes, in the mail), and one where one of his spiders has 147 babies.  I never thought I would say this, but baby tarantulas are kind of cute!

The rest of the day....

We decided not to go to the water park.  I’m not sure why, but sometime in the early afternoon my husband freaked out that we were “late” and decided we couldn’t possibly go.  I had been on the fence about it since I knew I would fry and get bored quickly, so I agreed to go to the local pool instead, but Dylan still cried when we told her.  And then she wouldn’t get in the water because it was cold and cried some more.  And then it rained.

We finally left.

We went to a shopping mall (my suggestion because I didn’t want to go back to the apartment to hang out with my in laws MORE).  Tried on some clothes with Dyl which was fun, went to a toy store.  Anyway, eventually we came home and went out to dinner with Dylan and his best friends family.  They are very nice.  And that’s about all I can say because they spoke to each other in Italian all evening, for probably three hours.

There are little things that are making this trip worse.  There is no tv in the house and Luca’s brother took all his DVDs, which we watched as a family a bunch in the evenings last year, home.  We’ve been driving around in his moms car which has no radio.  Luca is feeling majorly stressed out about going new places and saying no to his family who keep making plans that involve us that preclude us doing anything else, and then laying a guilt trip on him. The stress has been coming out of his ears, and there are too many relatives and too many last minute made up obligations.  We fought constantly yesterday.  I want to go back to Philadelphia where at least I’m not a prisoner in my own house.  I don’t think we’ll be coming back, at least not all three of us.

Anyway, those tarantula videos were pretty awesome.  Hopefully today will be better.  We are going to Arco, which is a rock climbing Mecca.  If only I were in shape enough to partake!

Friday, July 6, 2018

Sirmioni

I’m keeping with the theme of everyday of vacation being for the pickle, yesterday we went to visit our former au pair who is from Italy.  We went to Sirmioni, a town on a little peninsula sticking out into the Garda lake that is so charming you don’t even notice the throngs of tourists.  It was gorgeous.  We had lunch (for me mozzarella and tomato followed by carbonara) and then took a walk to the end of the peninsula where there was a beach.  Well, actually, we paid one euro a person and were driven, but... it was totally worth it.

Nobody had anticipated we would go to a proper beach so we didn’t have swim suits, but that didn’t stop Dylan from wading up to her waist anyway.  There were tons of people of every shape and size wandering around in skimpy bikinis.  It was nice to be in a place where a mom can wear a skimpy pink bikini rather than the standard black you’re-supposed-to-be-ashamed-of-your-body one piece swimsuits that seems to be the required uniform among the 35+ set at the pool I go to most often in the US, lest people glare at you like you’re some sort of husband stealing whore.

Then we rode back, got ice cream, then walked around a bit.  It was fun.  Hopefully this is helping Luca get over his aversion to doing tourist things in Italy.  😂

When we got home we dropped Dylan off at the nonnis and went swimming.  That’s another thing that is nice here.  You can pay $5.50 euro to swim at a lovely pool with clean facilities, with lap lanes  that’s aren’t full of old ladies doing head up breast stroke, at a temperature that’s suitable for swimming (not just bathing), and screaming children (if there are any) corralled off to the side.  That is open basically all day long, not in 45 minute increments of time that coincide with the availability of exactly nobody.  Anyway, I swam 1400 meters, which was the most I’ve done in YEARS (thank you, residency).  It felt outstanding.

That’s the thing about these vacations: I really need exercise to be happy, preferably swimming.  And it matters if the pool is nice.  I still really Really hate running.  It’s hard to arrange this when we travel someplace else given pickle logistics and finding s suitable pool.  Even visiting my own parents it borders on nearly impossible.

Today Luca wants to go to a water park, and it’s almost 11 so I better get up!  It’s for the pickle (again) but I secretly think he’s excited to go down some water slides too.  Haha.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

20000

We went to Gardaland yesterday, and it... was.  Dylan had a blast though.  We rode a bunch of the water rides that she is juuuust tall enough for, and several roller coasters.  One of them, Shaman, went upside down in giant loops 4 tines.  I did not accompany her.

We also consumed ice cream and hotdogs.  The ice cream was excellent.  We walked 20000 steps.

When we got there is was 90 degrees and sunny, but since we arrived a bit after 3 it cooled down pretty quickly.  By the time 10pm rolled around the temperature was quite pleasant.  There were so many people.  Hot sticky smelly people.  A bunch of Americans too.  And teenagers.  Lots and lots of teenagers who were mostly well behaved.

It was a bit like Dorney Park which we went to about a month ago except with no water park, fewer rides, and large numbers of people ignoring the no smoking signage.  Which is good news!  Dorney Park is only 90 min from my house in PA.  We all survived.  I wouldn’t describe it as “fun” for me, but I love seeing my daughter happy, and the roller coaster definitely made her happy, particularly because I was too afraid to go (she got to beat me at something).

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

We hired a housesitter

We are in Italy on a FAMILY vacation.  There are relatives all speaking Italian (or worse, Veronese*) at all times of the day.  We are not really doing anything special for us this trip. We miiiight go to cortina, but it’s supposed to rain when we were planning on going, and there is no greater hell than being trapped in an RV in a downpour in 50 degree weather.  So we will see.

But!  This post wasn’t about that.  It was to comment on how amazing it has been to be able to dump our daughter on the nonni who are more than happy to entertain her and her cousin.  In fact they relish the opportunity, and Dylan loves it as well.  It’s been great.

Which makes me hate all of you who live near helpful relatives even more.

You know what really grinds my gears?  When one of you all with a marginally helpful relative, someone who perhaps babysits for you once per quarter, or perhaps flies across the country to watch your kids once in a blue moon so you can attend a conference (a colleague was complaining about her “unhelpful” parents who did this for her to me just last week!), tries tell me how their situation is the same.  Or!  When someone urges me to have more children before it’s too late because it won’t be that bad (except their parents fund their babysitter and provide on demand childcare).  Let me tell you: having a baby was a prison I do not care to return to, one that I can see clearly now that those of you with nearby and/or helpful family will never understand.

Anyway I digress.

Like all family vacations with kids, this one has turned into an exercise in keeping our daughter entertained because it she’s not having fun, ain’t nobody else gonna have fun either.  So tomorrow we are headed to Gardaland.  Thursday we are seeing ap#3.  Friday we are... who knows, but NOT hiking because you know who hates hiking.  Probably pizza will be consumed, and also (thankfully) some amarone, Lugano, and reciotto as well.  And cheese.  And then I will do some boards studying because I seem to like pain and can’t seem to make it stop.

My mini break in the midst of all of this was to sit back and smell the vineyard that is right next to my brother in law’s house last night (they are everywhere, much like cornfields are everywhere in Iowa) as my daughter and her cousin were gleefully chasing my husband and his brother shooting them with water guns.  I love seeing my daughter happy, what can I say.

I am trying to ignore to urgently not urgent emails from my future fellowship exhorting me to complete my emr training omg as soon as possible!!!!  It would be nice if my PI would get back to me with manuscript edits too, but he’s really busy so that probably won’t happen until the first week of fellowship lol, I.e. the best time ever (not).

Other things, my daughter has shown an interest in learning Italian. Finally.  I look forward to the day when *I* ask *her* what something means and she rolls her eyes at me.

Also I am missing the Philadelphia heat wave.  It’s been a blissful 85 degrees here all week and the air conditioning even works!

Maybe one of these days I will be able to get my act together and plan a real vacay within a vacay, but.... probably not because I am in general too exhausted to plan most of the time, and when I get here the last thing I want to do after sitting on a plane for 9 hours is to sit on another one.  Also I usually only get one week off at a time which is too short to do that AND see the family as well.  Vienna, Amsterdam, and Poland are some other places I’d be interested in seeing.  Not sure there are direct flights from Verona though, which was the main problem the last time we wanted to do this.

Anyway.

*Veronese is a dying language that the people in northeastern Italy spoke before Italy was unified and Italian (the language spoken in Tuscany) was imposed on everyone.  I think it’s pretty cool my husband speaks it.