Monday, December 30, 2013

A review of 2013 lessons

Similar to last year, I am re-posting some of the most salient lessons from the year:

(1) It is the power of the mind to be unconquerable.
-Seneca Letters
(2)  Making it through life requires the creativity to constantly reinvent yourself. (at least making it through my life.)
(3) Mastery over self starts in small ways.
(4) Even the Best still practice
(5) This struggle is invaluable
(6) If you are not making someone else's life better then you are wasting your time.
-Will Smith
(7) Being realistic is the most commonly traveled road to mediocrity (the fresh prince again)
(8) Do it or die trying.
(9) Isolate the problem. Attack it strategically. Annihilate it.
(10) NEVER BE DEFEATED
(11) "There's always someone watching."
(12) Ask questions. Find out who other people really are and how/what they think by asking questions.
(13) Document relentlessly. It's the most efficient way to track, catch, and correct your mistakes (in anything.)
(14) The unexamined life is not worth living. -Socrates which is why we all ought to do more of #12
(15) standing in an attack position seems to be effective at asserting power. Here's to POWER POSING! 
(16) The only person you can rely on 100% is yourself.
(17) Victorious warriors win first and then go to war. -The Art of War
(18) “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”
(19) Do not wait for the future to take action.
(20)  Success comes only when the training, of
whatever kind (memory, muscles, mind, willpower,
stamina), takes a man to the limit of his capacity. When
the end of the training becomes torture. When a man cries
out from pain and exhaustion...
Training is effective only
when it takes a man to the very limit of his capacity and
he knows exactly where the limit is...

That's the road to glory. That's the path to
success. To work only at the very limit of your capacity.
To work at the brink of collapse.
You can become a
champion only if you are the sort of person who, knowing
that the bar is about to fall and crush him, nevertheless
heaves it upwards. The only ones who have conquered
themselves, who have defeated their own fear, their own
laziness and their own lack of confidence

-Abstract of the 1985 book Aquarium by Victor Suvorov about Soviet military intelligence
(21) Never give up. Never give in.

*without even realizing it Swimming has achieved one thing on her bucket list by learning to cook meat this year. Score one for Swimming at Sea! Onwards and upwards to 2014 we go!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Etiquette Wednesday: Christmas Etiquette

Merry Christmas to all!

It's been a while since I've added to this segment but I felt inspired after coming across this.
I'd like to present a poem for Christmas Etiquette:

Good Evenin' to you!
And how do you do?
"What's the proper way to greet?" you ask
"I don't want to be rude!"

Well I'll tell you some things
on greetings and givings
so you'll be equipped
with Etiquette for Kings!

First enter my home
with a great big welcome,
but leave your shoes at the door
to avoid winter slush on the floor.

I shall offer you a seat
and some coffee, tea, and treats
and you'll begin your stories
of this year's victories and glories.

But be not too haughty
as there's still time to be naughty
and no one likes a guest
who brags on and on about his best.

I will give you a gift
and our spirits will lift!
And what could be better than a returnable sweater!

A great gift for me
sits atop the giant tree.
A sprinkle from a potion
of your love and devotion.

"Splendid!" You'll say
"That we are all here on Christmas day!"
What could be more wonderful
than Christmas on Etiquette Wednesday!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

New Years Resolutions: Being reborn!

“Every morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.”
Buddha

As I indicated last year, I prefer to start my NYR around Thanksgiving so I have a 6 week jumpstart to fix what doesn't work and fine-tune things before the New Year so I'm already in full-gear by then. Here is last year's post and a few weeks ago I already listed the things I'm consistently grateful for here. I'll spend another post on the most salient lessons learned this year, but I want to spend this post reassessing 2013.

Overall, I feel as if I had a productive year. Without realizing, I read about 25 books this year which I'm very proud of (and have never done before) and I am thankful for having open access to information (and Amazon Prime!) which allowed me to do so. I am also incredibly proud that I made the decision to do graduate school. The final decision/process was incredibly impulsive, but this was something I had thought about for many years so I'm really glad that I just bit the bullet, applied, and went and I'm so grateful that my life has eased down and worked itself out here. On that note, I still cannot believe that in 3 weeks I somehow managed to not only complete my research project (an endeavor that appeared to be at a road-block for the longest time and broke-through just in time while putting in 90+ hours each week) and also pack, ship, and move my entire life half-way across the country all by myself without help from anyone. (This was madness in its finest form since I'd come home around midnight, pack all my stuff for 4 hours since I arranged FedEx to come in the morning and then after getting in a fight with my concierge I had to hire a TaskRabbit to sit next to the concierge booth and guard my stuff until FedEx arrived and only have 4 hours to sleep before going back to the lab to finish.) I love and thrive being so insanely busy and feel an incredible rush of adrenaline to have a lifestyle where I'm preoccupied towards something big 90 hours/week. Additionally, this might be seem like a small victory in comparison, I learned how to cook meat for the first time in my life. This really was a huge deal for me as I've never cooked a proper chicken before and I not only successfully cooked a chicken but I learned to do it all on my own. So yes, it is possible (thanks to Google) to truly be an Independent Woman. (Capital I, capital W.)  After everything, I feel reborn. 

Here's the breakdown of my specific resolutions from last year:

1. Have an undefeated mind and conquer pain. -I don't think this is something I will ever cross off my list, but I definitely tried and will always need to keep trying.
2. Stability --YES! Somehow amidst the chaos that ensued in Boston (the terrible aftermath of the marathon, lockdown, snowstorms, heat waves, moving misery etc...) I managed to adhere to my schedule a good 60-70% of the time which is more than I can say for previous years. 
3. Stop impulse purchasing (to the best of my ability during hypomania). -Oh goodness no, but I've made this a priority for 2014 and am trending quite well so far. 
4. No excuses, no exceptions. Always play like a champion. -Yes and no. This is hard to quantify. 
5. Deliberate practice. Everyday. -YES. Not everyday,  but my practice matrices and wonderful literature that I've read to help guide me have really helped make me better. 
6. Care -Goodness, not even sure what I meant by this, but my current interpretation is for others and the world and I would say yes. I'm significantly more conscious (of both others and the environment.)  
7. Remove/minimize encounter with life toxins--YES and on multiple levels. 
8. Improve cholesterol to "best" range for LDL and improve vitamin D levels to well within the range.-I won't know this one until Feb 6th since Swimming procrastinated on scheduling her annual physical, but I guess this buys me 2 more months to improve my health. 
9. Resolve-to be better everyday? YES. 
10. Resilience: Fall Down Seven times, Get up eight-more like fall down 7000 times and get up 7001. YES.
11. Grit-YES.
12. Diet: Minimize sugar intake. Sugar is a killer. Eat fresh things and eat 3 meals per day.--Yes and no. This is a battle, but I am trying everyday. I am on basically an entirely fresh-food diet especially with my return to the kitchen.

What are my 2014 resolutions? Well all of them frame around the idea of being a more true individual in every aspect of my life for the purpose of better serving my future patients.
1. Confidence! (How fortuitous that I am watching the real Sound of Music and this song comes on.)
2. Consistency
3. Stop impulse purchasing/online shopping. Darn you Amazon Prime and your convenience (as I just 1-click purchased 6 boxes of Matzos.) 
4. Assertiveness (Lean IN here I come!)
5. Consistently improving performance.
6. Continue having an undefeated mind and conquering pain.
7. Apply to medical school (for real this time, goodness me it's now on my blog so I finally have to do it!) Admittedly I have been in fear of the 60% rejection rate statistic but that will never change (and will probably get higher) so I just need to go for it next year. Furthermore some of the best physicians I know had to reapply and they are some of my role models and ended up just fine. From what I know and have heard, this process is daunting and transformative but also a great deal of luck is involved and perhaps even a crapshoot. The fact that 60% are rejected each year really only indicates that some great physicians are delayed by 1 year. Thus, when I do #7 I must keep in mind #8!
8. Grit/Resolve.
9. Be Fearless everyday.
10. Serenity.
11. Eloquence/abstain from profanity. I would like to get back to being more language-appropriate. Boston was a tough city and I think a way I coped with things was with foul language. According to this my dialect is from Boston/Worcester, MA and Glendale, CA and the exact opposite of Cleveland (how bizarre eh? Apparently the first 20+ years of my life growing up in Michigan made no difference in my conversation habits.)
12. Stay within a budget--this is more because I really don't want to be a physician that isn't conscious of budgets especially since more individuals have access to healthcare it is a reality that my patients may not be able to afford every top standard quality of care available and I would like to already be equipped to strategize how to work around that for myself and eventually for them.
13. Weekly meal planning (I half-ass this but would like to get better and more consistent!)
14. Improve cholesterol to "best" range for LDL and improve vitamin D levels to well within the range.
15, 12,000 steps per day.

Thanks again to all the readers who keep this blog alive. I will definitely be blogging about more health-related and medical things to come but I'll always be sure to keep things fun and informative!

HAPPY NEW YEAR

Sunday, December 1, 2013

"If you never quit, you will achieve your goal. It’s just a matter of time."

I was randomly reading some previous posts today and came across this gem from back in 2012 (Failure is never permanent) After a mopey Friday of "how did my life pass me by?" this post is just what I needed. Here it is re-posted below. Enjoy!

Hey, I just wanted you to know that there are always going to be obstacles in life. Obstacles to getting your dream body. That six pack. Losing weight. Getting a job. Falling in love. The list is endless. You CAN’T avoid these obstacles... BUT you can choose how you react to them. When life knocks you down, do you stay down or do you rise to fight again?
Success in fitness, and life, is dependent on persistence, tenacity and determination. There is a great saying in martial arts - “a black belt is a white belt who never quit”. If you never quit, you will achieve your goal. It’s just a matter of time.
You went and gorged yourself on cake. This could easily lead into a week of binge eating or more...
You were supposed to do a workout today. Did you miss it because of other commitments? Do you miss the rest of your workouts for the week out of a sense of failure? Do you stay down?
Hell no! Get back up, do it now! A year from now you’ll wish you started today.
Failure is never permanent... when you get back up. Pretty soon you will string together a few days of success, then a few more. Soon you’ve lost a few inches. Your muscles are beginning to show. You fall down, you get up. You lose a little more weight. You fall, you get up. You will soon reach your goal.
As you exercise, work and play this week, remember - “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”

-Mike e-trainer

Monday, November 25, 2013

BOUND

There are already 1000 reasons why I'm a huge huge fan of James Franco (multiple graduate degrees, brilliant hipster novelist, and the fact that he does a million interesting projects like teaching, studying, film-making all at once are just a few reasons) but his Bound 3 parody with Seth Rogan is now the 1001st reason I'm falling love with James Franco--uh huh honey.

Here's the Huff Post article.

Monday, November 18, 2013

What is Swimming Thankful for...

Somewhat in honor of upcoming thanksgiving, but not really since I frequently wax gratitude nearly every day, but I thought it nice to post some things that Swimming is grateful for anyway:

(1) My family--there aren't many of us here--but to those who are in my life I am always grateful to have people look out for me, be worried about me, and express appreciation for when I call. (Special shout outs to Swimming's Dad and uncle.)

(2) My lovely living situation--(also another shout out to Swimming's dad for making this possible) but I absolutely love having a simple clean space to inhabit. What a difference this makes for my mental well-being, not to mention my allergies!

(3) Clean drinking water-- 780 million people do not have have access to clean drinking water in this world. Amen to aqua.

(4) Access to good and nutritious food. I think about the obesity and diabetes epidemics and most of the obesity epidemic in America started in some of the poorest States (before affecting the rest of the country.) A primary reason behind this was that those affected in those states most-likely did not have easy access to healthy nutritious food that was readily available and economical. I consider myself blessed to have always had access to choose wisely.

(5) Awareness of my own ignorance. Sometimes people say ignorance is bliss. As I delve further into a career in healthcare, I am constantly aware of how much I don't know which motivates me to work harder and learn something everyday.

(6) Currently, Swimming is very grateful for her graduate program and the support it has offered. I love love love it here and feel lucky everyday to have a program that believes in me.

(7) My health! This is a compilation of the other things written above that have made this possible, but as always I'm immensely grateful to be healthy thus far. After spending over a week in the hospital due to food-poisoning back in 2012 and then 3-4 subsequent weeks in bed-rest I had a little taste of how awful it can be when you don't have your health. Thus I am grateful for the ability to breathe and walk and function normally.

(8) My wonderful friends. I'm privileged and lucky to have such wonderful people in my life and all over the country nonetheless (MB--<3 detroit and my great motivator buddy, JR--for 13 yrs!, SB--now SP across the pond!, the lovely ladies I left back in Boston--PK, NM, RS, and my new and amusing grad school friends.) All of you add value to my life and I hope I do the same even to a minor degree.

(9) My great mentors. Now from a few different fields (engineering and research and medicine), but I'm lucky to have you amazing people to look to for guidance and support.

(10) Access to higher education. I am always grateful to have access to higher education and being able to freely commit to lifelong learning. I considering those around the world who don't have that luxury and we're lucky to have it so open in America. Which brings me to my next point...

(11) I am very grateful for the opportunity to live in America. Sure there's economic and healthcare woes here, and sure there are insipid disputes amongst Congress that shutdown the government but none of this is ever to the degree seen in other countries. We forget sometimes how great this country is--freedom and all. Progress is always something to aspire towards, but hats off to the USA for making things possible where otherwise they just aren't. Just as a reminder, here's the SNL parody I posted last year on first world problems. 

(12) On that note, I'm also thankful for our troops. They are the ones on the frontline who tirelessly fight for freedom for the rest of us and for that I'm forever grateful. 

(13) Lastly, but certainly not least, I'm thankful for all my readers. I hope you all enjoy my writings and find some stuff informative. Thanks for keeping me relevant.

There's obviously much more I'm thankful for but not to bore the rest of ya'll; I just hope this post encourages everyone to think about who and what ya'll are grateful for. I try to think about these things every day since I find I feel better when considering what else (things and people) have made my lovely existence possible. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Happy Guy Fawkes Day!/ Broccoli Month

Remember, remember!
The fifth of November,

Read the rest of the poem here. I won't chime into the irony of it being Election Day today.
-------

I would like to declare November as Broccoli month. Here's an intro article. Basically Broccoli rocks--it's a highly nutritious veggie that sometimes has a bad reputation for no apparent reason seeing as I don't think it has a strong taste or awkward texture. Remember this chart? See how many times you find broccoli on it. That's probably how much more you should be eating it.  I'll add more nutritional info later, but try to incorporate Broccoli once this week into a meal. Next week we'll amp it up to 2!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

More Medical Musings!

YAY for the Red Sox winning the World Series!!!

This is a short one, no opinions involved just some good and interesting links to keep ya'll informed:

(1) How do you fix a torn ACL? You can watch it right here as it was tweeted!

(2) For those of you dressing up for Halloween, please avoid the costume contact lenses--your vision will be thanking you! Basically, they're extremely dangerous especially if non-prescriptive and not fitted to your cornea. They can cause corneal abrasions and other injuries that can lead to scarring and vision loss. Just avoid them, especially since they're not even FDA approved.

(3) Don't have time for the gym? The least you can do is spend 7 minutes and follow this quick workout. I've aquired a jump-rope into this on days I don't make it to the gym or yoga. Point is KEEP MOVING!

(4) Just throwing this in there since I don't think I've addressed diabetes much on my blog and want to be clear that I take diabetes extremely seriously considering I am at risk for it (genetically.) The bottom line: if you don't have the time to eat healthy or the will-power to hold back on certain sugary items you will most-likely have to deal with diabetes and it is a chronic life-long illness that will force you to make the changes. Please just make them now, it's much harder the longer you wait. As a future physician I definitely aim to employ lifestyle and preventative measures in my practice to diminish this.

(5) Here's a nice and easy chart that relates fitness activity with your personality type. You'll be much more inclined to partake in physical activities that are suited to your personality and that you find fun!

(6) I'm fascinated by surgery primarily because I see so much engineering involved in it. Here's an interesting piece: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/10/31/a-vital-measure-your-surgeons-skill/
on surgical skill. To follow-up with this, I've posted this before last year but as a reminder we can and should always strive for improvement in all avenues in life: Coaching a Surgeon
For the past year now I've been engaged in the relentless pursuit of how to become an expert in a field. I really don't know what kind of medicine I want to do, but one I do know is that whatever I do I want to be highly specialized and have the opportunity to be innovative.

(7) Lastly, in honor of Halloween find out your fitness age!
Link is from this article on fitness age from the Times.
I'm 24 yay!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Medical Musings Part three: Medicine and Mindfulness, Other news

Another Lengthy one, but filled with info on mindfulness, yoga, and better health!

(1) I am trying to practice what I preach. I want to be stronger and I want to be a physician that doesn't lose sight of why I went into a really tough profession in the first place. I realized that before I get there I had to fix some things about me along the way. Essentially, I recognized that I can best serve by example and by already taking care of myself. Thus, I picked up some super important things in my time in Boston many of which I posted in my previous Medical Musings posts.

The importance of mindfulness. This isn't just some hokey spiritual thing, I think at its core it really means being aware of yourself and your surroundings and acknowledging the value in all living things. Meditation and mindful practice has been proven to  improve cognition, reduce stress, improves attention and my list can go on, just pubmed though to find more! The hospitals I've been affiliated with have even offered meditation classes for employees and patients.

My point of bringing this up is that being a practicing physician is a profession that requires immense sacrifice, sometimes of oneself and one's needs. These articles http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/10/02/who-will-heal-the-doctors/?src=recg&_r=3 and http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/09/18/medicines-search-for-meaning/  and http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/09/26/easing-doctor-burnout-with-mindfulness/ have illustrated that this can happen in any specialty and the process by which this happens can be akin to living in a torturous hell. What I like is that they offer a solution that might help is mindfulness--workshops and lifestyle changes that can be made even amidst a 100 hour work week.

http://www.fammed.wisc.edu/mindfulness
http://www.ishiprograms.org/programs/medical-educators-students/ 

I wanted to bring this up first because I wanted to present and propose something to my readers. As facebook and other social media may appear to bring us closer together, I sincerely believe the reality is that it does the exact opposite. This recent study has actually illustrated that social media/the internet makes us feel more apart and lonely. What does this all have to do with mindfulness? The point I'm trying to make is that mindfulness and being alone are not one in the same. The internet has effectually tricked us into believing we are not alone. Instead of falling into the trap of thinking our lives are filled (with the internet) I urge my readers to take that time to meditate, notice others and your surroundings, and spend the time more meaningfully. Mindfulness is a state of heightened awareness (to yourself and by extension to others.) Meditation is the personal practice of mindfulness, but its application extends far beyond the self and its benefits can (rather significantly) improve your life as well as the lives of those around you. The internet is not real. I mean this in the sense that you cannot touch, feel, smell a webpage. It does not give us memories in the same way as going out and being a part of the world does. Seek to notice your world with all your senses. Become fully engaged. Even sniff a little. Perhaps if more of us did this there would be less depression. These are very abstract ideas and I promise I will spend the time to breakdown a more elucidated discussion of this later, but the big take away is to just be present and seek to experience the world and all it has to offer with your whole self--not just your mind/vision engaged in an unreal, intangible world of the internet; if for no better motivation than when you leave this earth you will wish you had spent more time in reality rather than living in the virtual world.

(2) I talked in my previous post about choosing hormone-free meat and antibiotic resistance is a major reason to do so. The recent outbreaks of salmonella food-poisoning (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/16/opinion/bittman-should-you-eat-chicken.html?src=recg) and their resistance to antibiotics (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/19/opinion/continuing-salmonella-outbreaks.html?src=recg) is another reason why opting for grass-fed meat that were grown without antibiotics is a good choice.

(3) A little word about yoga. I live upstairs from a yoga studio so I decided to give it a second chance. I had tried yoga many years ago and did not take to it since I felt it was too slow-paced. This time, however, I have joined out of necessity since there really isn't a close enough spa to where I live that offers deep-tissue massages and I am having some tension in my shoulder. Anyway, what I like about yoga is that it is a solid hour to do something beneficial for my body and to focus on my body. I can't remember the last time I had that. Even when I would spa-hop on a weekly basis back in Boston my mind was always elsewhere, but in yoga (and this is a hot-yoga studio) I am forced to really concentrate on my body. Yes it's still slow, but the difference is that I am more mindful and have the ability to calm my mind--something I did not have in my early 20s. I also want to become better acclimated to being active in 93-degree weather considering the earth is not getting any cooler and I need to be able to withstand hotter temperatures and be active in them in order to survive and evolve as a human with Global Warming and all. Additionally, as I devour The 4-hour chef and plow through grad school (which I am LOVING by the way)  I am inspired every day to really learn anything I stumble upon, even if it doesn't interest me, and I am driven to become extremely skilled in it. That motivation alone drives me to go back to yoga and exceed what I did the last time. As an Indian person, I do find it odd how mainstream yoga has become that a lot of studios have deviated so far from its spiritual and mental roots. So much so that it really does seem at times that some places are just bastardizing my culture (and also the Sanskrit language.) The thing is though, I have to learn somewhere so I am putting that aside and luckily the studio I'm at right now has been ok so far. The fact that many of the ladies that are at this studio are over 40 with multiple children and having amazing bodies, are glowing, and look like they're 20-That's reason enough to participate. Anyway, here's an infographic on how yoga changes your body the day you begin.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Musings/Lessons learned

Ok, so glad the panda cam is back on air.  My goodness. I can't believe I spent 2 weeks without seeing these little guys. A major life goal of mine is to get a hug from a panda. If you don't think I'm being serious then you clearly have never met me or knew me from age 5-11.

I'll post my last part of medical musings later, this week proved to be eventful for me so I'm going to post some random musings instead.

(1) Wowza...apparently calling 911 doesn't necessarily mean they can get to you on time. They have to be able to access your building and if your landlord hasn't given them access check to make sure they do!!!!!

(2) I have learned a great deal about life by watching Master Chef Junior. I normally don't take well to children. They're usually hyperactive and annoying and I just don't like small things that move. Plus they always try to follow me around since I'm short I can only assume that they think I'm a big kid. I, however, love this show because it's small children acting like adults. Not only is their skill level impeccable, their ability to strategize and be competitive seems right out of The Art of War.

(3) Can we please please please end Group Think???? I do think collaboration has its place in academia and in the workplace and when people come together great things can really happen. What I contest is the endless notion that it's imperative to integrate groupwork into each and every part of the process. People (myself especially) need time to duck down and work on ourselves by ourselves in order to produce things. The only thing I've found is that being in a group early in the process hampers my own ability to excel because I get lost within the group. I'm much better off preparing beforehand, producing, and then coming together to put all the pieces together and trade ideas.

(4) I'll only comment on this briefly, but why is it so hard for people in my generation to take responsibility for their actions? We live in a digital world no doubt, but the more digital we become the more easy it is to file away and dispose of things that are real--friendships and family.

(5) I'm a little ticked today so so bear with me. I'm becoming increasingly irritated with the hypocrisy that infiltrates my generation. We complain about having no money and yet see no issue spending things on frivolities. We claim to be conscientious with  health and yet have no issue with imbibing toxins as if it were water and still claiming that we live a healthy lifestyle. It's one thing when that hypocrisy only affects your own life, but when you bring others into it and affect their lives it's quite another (ie allegedly healthy person running around drinking and driving every weekend.) Are you still an organic person? Hell no and it shows. You can diet and yoga for 1,000 hours afterwards, but you're still not really respecting yourself and your integrity so you can't really elicit respect to others. There's merit to the rural lifestyle I observed in my last trip to India. These people are happy even though they've don't have some things the Western world considers basic necessities. What is most striking is that these people are generous. Without thinking twice, they were over eager to properly feed a guest and offer them gifts. It's ironic when you think about it that sometimes the people with the least often have more to offer.

Lastly, while I'm sad about the Tigers....I must say GO RED SOX!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Medical Musings Part Deux: Budget Cuts, Medical Teaching, Healthy living/Food for Thought!

(1) Not much more can be said than what this article has already articulated, but the point is that research and technology are important to progress in a society.  The Nobel prizes were announced this past week for physiology/medicine, physics and chem and they illustrates the profound impact that basic science research has on not just medicine and technology, but also on society. Curtailing the funding for such research is equivalent to curtailing significant progress in medicine. I have stated in previous posts that I believe that medicine (in all its forms) collectively enhances a society. In understanding ourselves at the molecular level we not only understand each other better, but also understand the world in which we live in far better. We are governed by science and what can be proven scientifically is something that can be applied cosmically. By doing we begin to deepen our progress as a civilization

(2) I love this posting primarily because it is from a physician of my generation that foresees the issues of compromising quality healthcare just to meet and beat the numbers. In a few of Atul Gawande's books he also addressed the urgency of focusing on providing quality healthcare through small changes that end up having a larger impact on healthcare expenditures. (I'm referring to both the Checklist Manifesto and implementing handwashing in rural areas in third world countries as presented in Better.) Perhaps the answer isn't succumbing to the trivial nuance in order to save money. This article alone indicates that the problems run much deeper than that (yes, a bag of saline can cost $500 when you're in a hospital and yes you most likely paid that amount if you ever ended up in the ER or were hospitalized.) As a future physician, I seek to take the pledge to become more conscientious about healthcare and expenses but not at the cost of treating someone with quality medical care. I believe the answer lies at the cross-roads of simple practicality and a little ingenuity.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT
(3) In light of my recent post on the Healthcare Exchange, I have decided that I want to start some postings about health, food, and cooking in a segment called Food For Thought. First of all, and needless to say, I've taken way to long to apply to medical school, let alone get in and pass and become a doctor. I believe things will eventually work out, but there's no reason I should not act now to better my community's health knowing what I know and having a plethora of resources in front of me as it is. This is especially important since the people in my state are not eligible for the recent Exchange, they can at least use this blog to get free tips and more education on eating healthier. I firmly believe that part of why healthcare costs are so high is that healthcare education is aberrant. I'm still learning a lot about food and it wasn't until recently that I realized how ignorant I was on it. Here are a series of my go-to guides that I use to make meal plans. Yes, Step 1 is making meal-plans. Knowing what you need to buy before you go to the grocery store is a simple way to save time and money and calories. Having something you've already prepared ahead of time in the fridge is a great way to avoid impromptu snack purchases. Mainly, the world will be full of packaged nonsense but by planning you are two steps ahead that you won't be hungry when you're around the packaged goods. As with all planning, be flexible, but having a plan is critical to success:
  • If anyone is at a loss as to where to start on eating healthier use this infographic guide: www.bulletproofexec.com/the-complete-illustrated-one-page-bulletproof-diet/ 
    • More or less everything on that chart is very informative and easy to undertake (depending on where you live of course.) Think that switching from regular to diet coke or not munching on sugar cookies every day is helping you? Well think about what else you are eating. Potatoes and sandwiches can often be just as bad. This article tells us that not everything is as it seems. I've started cooking again and I feel better already. I'll post my recipes as they come (probably on a different blog since I don't want to clutter maritime adventures and act like a foodie.) I'm learning too so I'm not entirely sugar or fat or grain free.
  • I've recently placed more importance for antibiotic free meat. The health effects alone are reason enough, but my massage therapist also brought to light a totally different factor: how can anything/animal that was tortured its whole life, injected with hormones/antibiotics, and killed with malice provide meat that is good for you? Something that was killed through malice can neither physically nor spiritually have value left in it. Basically, you're eating a tortured soul. Additionally, in my next post I have an article about the antibiotic resistance bacteria. Just know that there is a relationship between the drugs given to meat to keep them "clean" as they are stuffed in close quarters with other animals and the bugs that affect humans that are drug-resistant. (Usually they're not the same strain but the bugs are related.)
Here are more resources:
  • And after my bouts of food-poisoning, one of which landed me in the hospital for a week and bedridden for 3 weeks after. here's a guide to food safety. 
(4) Lastly, one of the most important changes I've recently made is learning how to breathe properly. Yes, breathe. You might be asking "isn't that something anyone does without thinking?" Who knew there was a wrong way to breathe? The NAVY SEALS DID. I read this book earlier this year written by a SEAL that talked about mental toughness. In the book he indicated that a way SEALs are trained to control their heart rate and stress response in extreme situations is by controlling their breath. Simple instructions: inhale to a count of 5, hold for a count of 5, exhale to the same 5 count and hold again for 5 (no breath) then inhale again and count to 5. The link also lists its benefits and here's an infographic that shows some more. Since then I've read numerous other (non-SEAL related) books that have put forth the exact same principle. I do this while meditating, but it is also extremely helpful to bring your mind back to the present and control your response to any extremely stressful situation. Practicing deep-breathing is a good way to work all your muscles and something my massage therapist told me to do since I constantly elevate my shoulders and have a lot of tension. Additionally, a friend of mine introduced me to alternate nostril breathing which has worked wonders with my anxiety, my TMJ, and even when I have trouble falling asleep. I'll talk more about the yoga I've recently rejoined later.

Ok looks like this will become a 3 parter! Stay tuned for more healthcare/medicine related stuff and sorry for the length--just have so much info out there that I wanted compiled and I hope it is helping someone!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Medical Musings: Part One--Healthcare exchange and women in medicine

Long post so I'll split this into a two parter. I had a lot of random articles I have been saving to post so here's tonight's:

With the recent healthcare exchange, I'd like to post some links and my thoughts:

(1) Despite the effort to expand medicaid there are still a vast majority who need the expansion but will not receive coverage. The eye-opening part of this is that the 26 states that are "not participating in an expansion of Medicaid are home to a disproportionate share of the nation’s poorest uninsured residents." What this means is that a good portion of individuals who need the expansion most (those living in some of the poorest states) will not getting it because the State Government has decided not to participate in the expansion. These states are not only some of the most populous, but also some of the poorest and also have the some of the highest concentrations of illnesses. To distill this down: the poorest and sickest are not benefiting because a choice was made not to allow them to be covered. What happened to the days where the purpose of the government was to consider the welfare of the people? All the people, not just the rich ones. A look at the charts below show that it just so happens that a large portion of these poor and uninsured will be blacks and other minorities. Something tells me that this correlates with the disparity in social mobility between races (another topic that the Times published over the summer.) It's hard to go to work when you're ailing and it's even harder to go to school instead of work when you're buried in medical bills. And it's harder to accumulate wealth when all of it is going towards paying for said medical bills. BAH humbug for the empathy gap.

Here's the fast and easy breakdown: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/10/02/us/uninsured-americans-map.html?ref=health

 For the full article click here: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/03/health/millions-of-poor-are-left-uncovered-by-health-law.html

Here's some answers to some common questions about what these changes may bring: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/05/your-money/estimating-income-and-other-questions-on-the-health-care-plan.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20131005

Here's one more article: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/27/business/as-some-companies-turn-to-health-exchanges-ge-goes-another-direction.html?src=recg&_r=3&

(2) Not sure how I missed this at the first go, but as someone who has some interest in academic medicine, it appears that the prospect of succeeding is still a little grim for women unfortunately. As if I need any more evidence about gender discrimination,  this is an old study so let's hope the past decade has brought some progress (not necessary to read, but I like to substantiate what I write here with evidence-based results.)

http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=713512

http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11606-012-2207-1

Some more links (most are short but the NYtimes one at the end is long but I believe the most important.)

Women Still Missing From Medicine’s Top Ranks and we're also still paid less.
Although apparently this also happens in Silicon Valley and they're know as the Silicon Valley Mafia.
This article is extremely interesting though (why are there so few women in science?)

To briefly comment on this, I was recently shocked to find that the department I used to do research at in Boston (a very very very large hospital) had zero women attendings (full-time physicians.) Sure there were residents (physician's still in training but already with their medical degree and learning how to practice in their specialties), but no female attendings in sight. I did a quick search at my current institution and sure enough, again, no female attendings here either in that particular specialty. Sure there are plenty of excuses and explanations such as this being a grueling surgical specialty that has a lot of manual labor involved and long hours so perhaps women steer away from it. Not really accurate assumptions since they appear to be fine going through the hard 5 year residency training. What is concerning is that although it is great that there are some female residents, who can they look to for guidance and mentorship as well as being examples of respected females in this field? Furthermore, how do the men who are training beside these female surgeons become accustomed to having female superiors and equals if none exist? Additionally, this specialty is a 5 year residency plus 1-2 year fellowship. That means that in the past 5-7 years not a single female was hired as an attending in this specialty despite there being qualified candidates. I'm afraid to look up the numbers of females that graduated from residency in this specialty. Something tells me that it's not zero. This sends the message to male surgeons-in-training that their current female classmates are temporary and will somehow disappear after fellowship or worse just can't "hack-it" along the way and drop out or, at the very least, just aren't real contenders in the field to end up at these top institutions. The fact that there are female residents indicates that they are accepted to train as surgeons, they're just not allowed to get hired and actually practice the craft. Mind you, these are two of the nation's largest hospitals sitting at the forefront of medical care. Precluding women from opportunities to learn and contribute at these institutions, teach at them, and mentor others is a loss for future physicians and future patients. I haven't bothered to fully research this at all institutions so I can only comment on what's in front of me but the prospect doesn't seem promising to say the least. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Letter to US Government: Please reopen for the sake of Panda Cam

Dear Government,

Please reopen. I have recently discovered the Panda Cam and much to my dismay it has gone off the air due to your shutdown. This is an outrage. It is absolutely ridonkulous that as citizens of the United States we are left to the wayside only to imagine what those Pandas are doing today. Luckily, thanks to People magazine, I have some pictures to guide my memory, but nothing beats the real-deal.





Please reopen soon.

Sincerely, 

Swimming

Friday, September 27, 2013

The art of being a lady...in a man's world

I don't talk enough about this and I should as I seem to constantly find myself in environments where I'm the only female (or the closest thing to one) and should own up to my responsibility of being a prime example of woman in male-dominated fields more often. (I'm still on my way to my next male-dominated profession, but practice makes perfect and hopefully by the time I get to where I want to be I'll have had enough practice.) At any rate, I recently found this blog by a female surgeon and her post about Men in Surgery was poignantly sardonic and wittingly ironic. (She makes the case for why surgery is a woman's field and that men are the minority.) Behind the irony, however, lies a great deal of truth about what many women face whilst pursuing careers in predominantly male fields.

I'm lucky to have an older sister who is already an ENT surgeon (one of the most competitive specialties even among surgery.) There are scores of schmucks who consistently discourage women from fulfilling their full potential by scaring them off with comments such as "you'll never match, surgery is super competitive" or worse "why don't you try a profession that's more economical for women than medicine?" or actually the worst is "what will you do if you don't succeed?" (a scary question for anyone, but in my experience no one has ever dared to ask that same question upfront to any male I've worked with.) Being related to a prime example of someone who has surpassed those comments and still accomplished what she wanted to pursue, I recognize the importance to just deflect and dissipate those remarks along the way. That doesn't mean that they don't sting a little and I'm not sure what the appropriate responses to those questions should be, but I sense that keeping quiet or seriously responding to those are not the best approach to rectify the mentality. 

What I would like to shed light on is (1) why are those comments or questions considered appropriate at all? (2) Why have those comments/questions only been directed towards women, and lastly (3) what really is the best way to respond to men who ask those questions without coming off as the PMS-ing b*tch or the weak and inferior/compliant underdog? What I love so much about the Men in Surgery post was that it actually turned the tables and illustrates the fact that sometimes, even in a "man's field", women often have the advantage (either biological or otherwise) and the fact that we must work so hard just to belong is completely preposterous when the facts defy any notion that women don't belong in the field.

My overarching question really nests in the inquiry of what is the art of being a lady when you are in a field that's seen so few and does not know how to break its insularity? Sure one answer is to just strap on boots, stuff your pants, and act like a man. The alternative is preserving your identity and your second X chromosome and hopefully addressing issues politely yet firmly as they arise. I think it's time to recognize that we have a third option and that's being upfront about what's appropriate in the first place before things become hostile or uncomfortable.

It's been a number of years since I left the engineering/defense industry behind, but my experience there has stuck with me since specifically because of the stark contrast of working for a corporation versus being in medicine. Believe it or not, there are things I've encountered in medicine that would never be acceptable in a corporation. There are measures set in place to ensure that those things do not occur or escalate in companies. I attribute that to our female predecessors in corporate America that addressed those things upfront in the previous decade to set the standard of how women deserve to be treated equally in the workforce. (I was not aware that those efforts did not apply to every industry. Silly me.) This act alone made working in an industry as conventionally male as the military an experience that I look back on rather fondly.

Don't get me wrong, I love medicine, all it stands for, all it aspires to be, all it can do for people and more. I firmly believe that medicine has the power to not only change individuals, but also to collectively change a society for the better. That is why I gave everything up to apply to medical school and become a doctor. I'm just wondering if there will ever be a day where it can make a little more room for women to be women in an OR without being discredited or discouraged. That responsibility rests with the men in the field, the women that are already there, and the women who aspire to be a part of it. To make real contributions to humanity the stride is collective and involves everyone's willingness to move forward and break ridiculous traditions and mindsets that women don't belong or don't have the ability or aptitude to belong.

Friday, September 20, 2013

This week's musings

(1) Very informative piece on Detroit's woes and how it got there.
#SaveDetroit

(2) Maybe I should've tried harder to actually go to my fencing lessons.

(3) 7 things you should NEVER say to someone (click on the link for why)
"I don't care"
"You're wrong"
"You can't do it"
"This should be easy"
"I told you so"
"As I just said before"
"Good Luck"

(4) Exercise and eat less!
and yay for teens that are exercising more and eating less sugar!

(5) Infographic poster: how to take a perfect nap!
although I'm not someone who cannot nap.

(6) From PK, a hilarious documentation of men that take up too much space on subway stations: http://mentakingup2muchspaceonthetrain.tumblr.com/
PK and I often discuss the psychology and sociological implications of stature in public and workplace interactions; it speaks volumes about the gender gap (and also how evolutionary habits die hard.) It's also just poor manners in my opinion. Hopefully I'll find time this year to join that women's group, but until then Swimming will try to take up as much space as possible to try to fill the gender gap. After all, your body language really does shape who you are.

In other news Swimming has invested in some pepper spray. Burglars beware. I haven't used it yet so let's see how the year goes!

Lastly: Congrats to SM on her engagement!!!! Yay and super excited!!!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Best way to propose? FLASH MOB, Musings and more

(1) I absolutely love this <3<3<3: Utah Man Proposes to Boyfriend with Help From a Flash Mob in Home Depot

Link to story

(2) In case you don't know about the situation in Syria, here are some good links to help:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/08/29/9-questions-about-syria-you-were-too-embarrassed-to-ask/

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/08/27/the-one-map-that-shows-why-syria-is-so-complicated/

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/15/opinion/sunday/kristof-hearing-you-out.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20130915

(3) Since I've been trying to be more conscientious about the environment I started to reduce my usage of disposable plastic water bottles. Here's another reason to do so:high BPA levels (a chemical found in plastics) are linked to higher obesity risks for children

(4) While I love my classes, I am increasingly aware that I ought to be more well-trained in self-defense. Crime even in the daytime and consequently I have already had to tone down my style as to not attract goofy people with nefarious intentions. Swimming apparently needs a better plan of action so I hope to expand on this, but here are some quick safety tips I found for ladies everywhere:
http://www.thenonprofits.com/safety.htm
http://www.cosmopolitan.com/advice/tips/safety-tips-every-woman-should-know

(5) Why people need to stop complaining about how busy they are
Nothing is more annoying than when others complain about how busy they are. In this economy it's a luxury to have work and a gift to have work that you like and want to do. More often than not it isn't the people like residents that work 90+ hours a week or those with families and jobs that somehow always manage to make time for others amidst a busy schedule that complain. Those individuals chose their lifestyle and are content with giving their time to get better at their craft or balancing their career and family life. It appears that the people who complain about how busy they are probably are not truly content with their life and work. My mum used to tell me that not every day can be the same. That's the truth and on days that aren't so great t's important to be grateful for and realize we're a lot luckier than many others around the world. (See #2 above if you don't believe that.) Take a few moments to be grateful regardless of what kind of day you're having or how busy you are and then I suggest you TOGGL your time to see how you can better spend it if you are one of those people who are "soooo busy."

(6) While I'll refrain from any comments on my own experiences, I just wanted to put this out there from the Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/08/education/harvard-case-study-gender-equity.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

(7) Chart from CDC via the Economist: Obesity in America

(8) To top off the musings list another story from Utah where a Dad tries to teach daughter lesson about short shorts

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Art of War (lessons)



The Art of War is actually one of my favorites. I refer to it frequently to heed advice on becoming more tough and also to reinforce my conviction that the way I've chosen to go about things is really the best way for me and aligns with my philosophical belief system. Things are rarely what they appear to be; I've waited to do things which has brought many others to question my commitment, interest, and conviction to succeed and pursue what I've set out to pursue. Moving and starting graduate school I am definitely closer to what I eventually want to do, but what most don't know is that grad school was in my plans for a while now (years in fact) and it's nice to be in a program that values my approach to medicine and is trying to help me get there in the best way possible. Here's to a kind fall!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Moving Musings/Lessons learned

(1) If you want something done, complaining or over-contemplating is the worst way to go about it. There's a fine line between consideration and hasty decision-making. At some point: Just do it and move on.
(2) The only person you can rely on 100% is yourself.
(3) With that said, if you expect nothing from others you'll never be dissapointed.
(4) Fed Ex is the best way to move. I owe my seamless transition to FedEx by not only picking up all my items on time, but also delivering them literally the same time I arrive and got my keys to move in. Thank you FedEx!
(5) Another Special thanks to American Express for being vigilant enough to monitor my expenses and alert me of unusual spending. 
(6) It's time for Swimming to go green. I already recycle, but now I've invested in some nifty Kors Hydration Vessels to reduce my usage of plastic water bottles. There's a nice deal on Gilt that allows people to make the change too! This was probably one of the biggest ways that I was wasteful so here's hoping that I cut that down.
(7) On that note, we all could benefit from drinking more water.
(8) You're never too young for nostalgia.
(9) Never, never NEVER not try to get fully settled as possible when moving. The mess in my new (gorgeous) apartment is unnerving and really frustrating to deal with and this all could have been resolved if I made a greater effort finish furnishing my apartment before I moved in.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The unexamined life is not worth living/Lessons

The unexamined life is not worth living -Socrates

Swimming has gone out to sea (meaning back to Detroit) for the weekend for a dear friend's wedding (Congrats S&Y!) and has returned with an airplane anecdote. This weekend proved to be highly productive, but has also curtailed my sleep a little. Swimming is excited and ready to start grad school in a few weeks (albeit in Cleveland), however,  I'll always have a little Boston edge in me.

On my way to detroit I had the luxury of sitting next to a priest. I took this opportunity to get back on religion's good side by choosing to strike up a conversation with him (I had formerly upset the Reverend that runs my front desk by accidentally not attending his dance recital/sermon last year and going to brunch with a friend instead--shame on me.) Anyway, I used the opportunity to learn about religion and ask him questions on the coexistence of philosophical thought and religious beliefs (we both agree that the two in fact complement each other and this priest had studied Philosophy in Rome--how lucky!) I was so enthralled with my priest's discussion that I took a risk and opted not to read the flight safety card this time. I usually always read the safety card since I'd like to be prepared and lead people to safety should something bad happen, however, I figured the priest would help us out in this case so I figured I'd just ride on his cassock this time. Anyway, I came out of this experience with a some solid lessons and a better understanding of certain aspects of religion.

(1) The unexamined life is not worth living. Probably one of the most famous Socratic quotes, but very relevant. As I cultivate my scientific thought, I have gained a deeper understanding about the idea that much of life is about asking questions and inquiring about the truth. Let's all be seekers of the truth.

(2) Being in the world is an opportunity in its own right. For some perspective, I feel lucky to go places and do things and I don't think I take that for granted. In fact, I take advantage of the fact that I can meet and learn about people from all walks of life and feel privileged to one day be a physician and have the opportunity every day.

(3) (Unrelated) but standing in an attack position seems to be effective at asserting power, confidence, and respect for Swimming's elder sister in a male dominated field. Methinks it's time to try that.

(4) Make the time to do what is most important to you and your future. -Swimming's former boss Dave (thanks! I need the extra motivation!)

(5) Find out who other people really are and how/what they think by asking questions.

With that, I leave you with the end to my story: I exchanged emails with the priest and parted ways and had a fabulous time at the wedding this weekend. To my surprise, I received an email from the priest saying the following:

Dear Swimming (name changed on purpose),

I think it was providential that we met yesterday - a dad wanted to switch seats with me, so I ended up beside you. I hope I didn't confuse or bore you...

Here is my email if you have any questions or concerns. Thank you for your example of openness and thirst for the truth - God will bless you and already has!

Have a great Sunday!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

This Week's Lessons Learned

(1) Learning how to delegate is imperative to one's success in proper time management. Task Rabbit has once again saved me from a mountain of stress!
(2) You learn a lot about others simply by their responses upon receiving news about your successes and failures.
(3) 1-2-3 Allons-y!
(4) There really is no rest for the weary. For the triumphant, however, sleep is imperative.
(5) If I haven't posted the quote below earlier here it is again. Simply put, I love/revel/thrive when immersed in a relentless pursuit towards success or for a solution. Here's to keep moving on.
(6) Again, as much as I love the BBC program Planet Earth, it is far too troubling for me to watch it at night. (Tonight's episode featured a fox eating a baby duck as the parent ducks [who mate for life!] watched in distress.)
(7) I really do practice the art of being quiet and unassuming...which is most-likely why others are taken aback after publicizing a major decision that was actually very well-thought out internally.
(8) The hidden nutrients behind Chia seeds!

-------
From the Abstract of the 1985 book Aquarium by Victor Suvorov about Soviet military intelligence:

Man is capable of performing miracles. A man can swim
the English Channel three times, drink a hundred mugs of
beer, walk barefoot on burning coals; he can learn thirty
languages, become an Olympic champion at boxing, invent
the television or the bicycle, become a general in the GRU
or make himself a millionaire. It's all in our own hands. If
you want it you can get it. Most important is to want
something: the rest depends only on training. But if you
simply train your memory, your muscles or your mind
regularly, then nothing will come of your efforts. Regular
training is important, but training alone decides nothing.
There was the case of the odd character who trained
regularly. Every single day he lifted a smoothing iron and
continued this for ten years. But his muscles got no
bigger. Success comes only when the training, of
whatever kind (memory, muscles, mind, willpower,
stamina), takes a man to the limit of his capacity. When
the end of the training becomes torture. When a man cries
out from pain and exhaustion. Training is effective only
when it takes a man to the very limit of his capacity and
he knows exactly where the limit is: I can do two metres
in the high jump; I can do 153 press-ups; I can memorize
at one go two pages of a foreign text. And each new
training session is effective only when it becomes a battle
to exceed your own achievement on the previous day. I'll
do 154 press-ups or die in the attempt.
We were taken to watch future Olympic champions in
training. There were fifteen-year-old boxers, five-year-
old gymnasts and three-year-old swimmers. Look at the
expression of their faces. Wait until the final moments of
the day's training, when you can see on a child's face the
grim determination to beat his own record of the day
before. Just study them! One day they will bring home an
Olympic gold to offer to our red flag with the hammer
and sickle on it. Just look at that face: so much tension,
so much pain! That's the road to glory. That's the path to
success. To work only at the very limit of your capacity.
To work at the brink of collapse.
You can become a
champion only if you are the sort of person who, knowing
that the bar is about to fall and crush him, nevertheless
heaves it upwards. The only ones who have conquered
themselves, who have defeated their own fear, their own
laziness and their own lack of confidence

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Etiquette Wednesday: Pedestrian Etiquette

(1) Please please please keep your phone conversations to yourself! It's quite a nuisance when I just want a quiet walk home and I'm stuck listening to some gabby girl's inane phone conversation with her BFF. It's one thing if someone is discussing something important, however, something tells me she is not discussing solutions for the energy crisis.
(2) Ok, really, what happened to ladies first? I seem to always be getting shoved aside and pushed around by quite rude men in a rush. No no no.
(3) No one ever follows this, but in America you travel on the right side of the street--I believe this pertains to cars and pedestrians on sidewalks.
(4) Nothing is more annoying than being stuck behind a slow-poke especially if they are just texting. If you are texting, move to the side to allow others to pass you.
(5) I have generated a theory on pedestrian-on-pedestrian collisions. This should eventually factor in walking pace, psychology, and direction but it goes something like this: notice next time when you are walking and someone else is walking towards you. My theory is that you will always cross paths at the narrowest place. I notice this everyday many times throughout any given day and now that I have disclosed this theory you will probably notice it too. At some point I will make this a substantial theory and post it on wikipedia. :)
(6) It is conscientous and courteous to be aware of who is in front and behind you. This means that if there are runners or fast walkers behind you please move to the side to allow them to pass you. If there is someone coming towards you carrying lots of groceries, has a stroller or child, a handicapped person, or even a doggie, it is also courteous to move aside so the person carrying the heavy load does not have move.
(7) When it's raining, be aware of how close you walk past others with your umbrella. It is no fun getting hit or worse getting soaked by the droplets off of someone else's umbrella.
(8) Always look before crossing the street. Even on walk signals because there may be ambulances or fire trucks coming. (This is especially important if you are wearing headphones and can't hear the sirens!
(9) On the same note, if you see an ambulance coming it is extremely uncivil to walk in front of it just to get where you are going. I see this all the time on my way to MGH and it is terrible to see other people selfishly walk in front of ambulances just to get where they need to go and not think or consider the injured person in the ambulance that needs the right of way. Come on people. Please put civility first!
(10) When passing others, please be mindful of not sideswiping them with your elbow, bags, backpack or whatever else you are carrying. I actually call people out on the street for this by saying "EXCUSE YOU!" it makes them feel bad, but some times people need to be reminded of manners and the fact that they are not the only people on the road. The point is, no matter how teeny, other people matter too.
(11) One would think this goes without saying, you'd be surprised how many people push me out of the way to get to the same place when I'm only a half a second behind them and they don't have the courtesy to open the door.


Please keep these in mind on your next walk. We would all be happier if we were all more courteous towards one another.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Little Swimming's activity-bucket list

Greetings Readers!

I've been toiling away at the bench trying to work on my research and I got to thinking there a number of activities that I would like to partake in some day. Thus, I am compiling a list of activities/Boston-related/totally random things that little Swimming wants to do. This is only the start and I'm sure there's more to come!

(1) Fly a kite
(2) Ride a horse
(3) Go to Boston's Aquarium!
(4) Go back to the Detroit Zoo before all the animals are sold.
(5) Cook some sort of meat (well-done considering Swimming's history of meat related food-born illness.)
(6) Learn how to sail.
(7) Become a sailor.
(8) Go on the Great Migration (the world's largest mammal migration in sub-saharan Africa.)
(9) Spend the night at the museum. Something I've always wanted to do ever since I saw The Hideaways as a kid.
(10) Actually be able to find The Weeping Zeus statue/fountain at Cranbrook. Back in my CK days, after school we would go on walks as a group and would visit it no problem. For some reason, till this day, I am unable to find it on my own. 

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Musings/Lessons

Jay-Z-Forever Young (original video)

(1) #SaveDetroit
Sad to see the Detroit being liquidated. Apparently a Giraffe is only 80k! Anyone want to go halvsies? I want to name it Sally!
Let's Get Detroit Back on its feet
(2) From #theMBTAruinedmylife: when I saw the cover of rolling stone
(3) Baby Elephant loves to swim--super cute!
(4)  Patience is a virtue
(5) Things can change very quickly--just go with it.
(6) Document relentlessly.
(7) The fact that most people are not as meticulous as I am is extremely bothersome in the arena of a precise science.
(8) What to do when getting attacked by big scary animals
*Apparently you're only supposed to play dead if the bear has already attacked you.
**Also apparently if you're confronted by hippo you are screwed

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Etiquette Wednesday: Wedding (Guest) Etiquette

In light of a few upcoming weddings, I will post some nice tips on how to be a proper guest:

(1) Salutations: Traditionally, one is supposed to only say "congratulations" to the Groom and greet the Bride with "best wishes!"

(2) RSVP stands for répondez s'il vous plaît or Please respond. Please just respond on time. It's stressful enough for the bride and groom to have to trail guests that haven't responded.

(3) Attire: There are some rules that depend on the kind of ceremony.
-For weddings where the bride will wear a white dress under no circumstances should lady guests wear a white dress.
-For Indian weddings: do not wear white (for funerals), black (too gloomy) and red (for the bride)
-Depending on whether the reception follows the ceremony or not use your judgment on color scheme. If the ceremony is in the morning then pastels are most appropriate for ties and dresses. For suit coat/pants: grey and khaki are appropriate in church/temples. Black and navy are acceptable too.
-For receptions following the service immediately it depends on if it's a lunch or dinner/cocktail. For lunch-stick with lighter tones for ties/dresses. For evening do black tie and a darker dress color (black is ok in this case if you're not wearing it to the wedding ceremony and just for the reception.)
-Females should aim for an appropriately cut dress for the wedding ceremony (esp. if the ceremony is in the morning.) Appropriate cut really means that this is a religious ceremony for the bride/groom. God does not want to see your cleavage. That's for the cocktail/reception--esp. if you're single. I think shoulders are ok if it's super hot outside.
-Men:always coat and tie. Pastel if it's day time, black tie at night.

(4) Presents: Depends how well you know the person/type of relationship.
-Stuff off the registry is perfectly fine (although I have had my qualms recently regarding the expensive luxury items on some registries.)
-Check is acceptable too depending on age $75 is acceptable if you're a young single person that's friends with the bride or groom. $100.00 is also fine if you know the people well. If you're bringing a date and you're young then $100+ is appropriate.

(5) It is rude to leave early unless you are on-call or some sort of emergency.

*Weddings are a great place to meet people and celebrate. I like the concept of marriage very much and regardless of my own plans on spending time/money planning a wedding, I think it's fine however individuals choose to celebrate their new lifestyle.

Bottom line: Just have fun and celebrate!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Musings

Jay-Z-Holy Grail (Little known fact, I LOVE Jay-Z)

(1) In botanical news, my orchids are blooming! Surprising since my windows are frosted but there appears to be one benefit of the lack of ventilation system in my bedroom: the very muggy/tropical climate in my room appears to be perfect for Phaeleonopsis growth.


(2)  Obviously a very sad day for Detroit becoming the largest city in American history to file for bankruptcy. I had a feeling when I read this article in the times last week. I'll address this further when I have more time, but I sure hope something breathes life into this city. Not just because it's my home state, but more so because it becomes an eerie warning of how political corruption can lead to an entire major city's demise.

(3) A very interesting discovery after Michael Douglas's confession about the origins of his own throat cancer.

(4) An interesting piece on how physicians sometimes treat different patients differently.

(5) And just for fun from PK, apparently you can get fired for being too cute.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Trayvon Martin's legacy

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/15/opinion/trayvon-martins-legacy.html?ref=global-home&_r=0

I've considered this case and its implications on society a lot lately as the trial has proceeded over the past few weeks. What has been especially disheartening is the reality that a 17-year old teen is dead and the community he came from most likely has even less faith in the justice system or even the faith in any opportunity to prosper/express themselves in America without being profiled.

Tonight I watched Trayvon's friend (the girl who testified for him in court) Rachel Jeantal on Piers Morgan. (Please watch Part 1 and Part 2). I can't imagine being 19 and having to testify in court over the murder of a close friend. Most of us are not prepared for that reality even well into adulthood, so the fact that this young lady has been the recipient of exorbitant amounts of criticism based on her style of speech and her demeanor during her testimony is inappropriate and those critics need to be ashamed of themselves (especially since she has a speech impediment.) When did it become acceptable to openly demean someone to that level of disrespect? (Let alone a minor?) There are many great things about twitter but i think a good and bad thing is that it allows everyone's opinion to be publicized and matter. Piers played a clip from AC's interview with a juror who called this girl uneducated an said she "felt sorry for her." After watching Piers' interview, Ms. Jeantal (in my opinion) communicates effectively so I'm not really sure what the juror's basis is for thinking she is uneducated (if that isn't also profiling in and of itself.)

Unless you've been living under a rock, you probably know by know that George Zimmerman was acquitted and one of the major points of the defense was that this case should not consider racial profiling as an aspect to incriminate Zimmerman and his motives that evening. The thing that I consider the most is that if the races between George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin were reversed would the outcome of not guilty still be the same. Perhaps this article provides some basis to answering that question: (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/06/04/the-blackwhite-marijuana-arrest-gap-in-nine-charts/)

Just something to think about.

Update 7/16/13:

Please ready some of these articles from the NYTimes on this trial

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/16/opinion/the-truth-about-trayvon.html?ref=global-home

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/16/opinion/the-whole-system-failed.html?ref=global-home