Licked ham and other realizations

The cat licked our ham today.

I turned my back for 5 seconds to grab some water to put at the bottom of the pan and he licked it.  And stared at me spitefully while doing it.

Confession… I put the ham in the oven… It is baking for the next few hours anyway, that should kill anything living on it, right?

Snowbanks make the stores look busier because they take up so many parking spots.

The only Saturdays I seem to have to get groceries (because I didn’t go another day that week) are always the tax free days when the stores are filled with crazies looking for a bargain.

The cat only plays with yarn when I try to knit with it.IMG_1091

The cat knocked my toothbrush into his litter box the other day.  He also knocked my hairbrush in.  Funny how one brush gets washed off and reused and the other warrants a special trip to the pharmacy on the way home from work.

Patrick when skiing today.  Well, I guess it turned out to be snowboarding.  Either way, I have had the house and car to myself all day.  I said I would use the time to work on my research.  So far that is about the only thing I haven’t done.

As pumped I am about Canada’s men’s hockey team being in the gold medal game (and going for the double-double, ha ha), I am crushed that the game fall on a Sunday morning.  I am having to deal with a strange pull to both watch the game and go to church.  Clearly, one needs to be rescheduled.

I finished this mug cozie the other day and am strangely proud of it.IMG_1106

Time goes slower when you are waiting for something to happen.  I swear it should be a law of physics, not just a perception.

My pager started making weird noises today in the car.  Turns out the battery is dying.  I nearly had a stroke because I thought somehow I was being paged despite being signed out.  Did I mention I hate that thing?

I forgot to pick up a smaller needle to give my Mother-in-law her second Twinrix shot tomorrow.  I guess she will continue to think I am a butcher.  Drug companies must get bargains on larger bore needles.  Because they, in my opinion, are just plain mean.

Image from

I am going to present my research at a national conference later this Spring.  Conference and flights are booked.   I have yet to make the presentation or book my hotel.   Is it weird that my biggest concern at this point is what to wear?

Drinking water out of a cup with a straw feels more satisfying than just drinking from a  glass.

Time to fold laundry… And then, maybe get some research work done… Maybe.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Treasure

This week’s photo challenge with the Daily Post is called “Treasure.”

My treasure is actually the blanket in the backdrop of this picture.  In fact, it has become a part of the backdrop of a bunch of pictures taken in our living room for the last almost 5 years.IMG_0590

Patrick’s Grandmother and I first bonded over two things (other than the love of her grandson).  Music, then knitting.  I think we would have been great friends if we were from the same era.  Either way, we got along famously.

She decided that for our wedding, she would knit us a blanket.  It would be in our wedding colours.  So, she did.  Now, the catch is that she, by the time of our wedding wasn’t very mobile, but she wanted to surprise me moreso than Patrick with the blanket, so if I came over, she would make him or anyone else nearby hide it, so I wouldn’t ask about her latest project.  I remember how excited I was when she gave it to us.

Since that time, it has set up home on the back of our couch.  It keeps us warm on colder nights, it protects the couch from Jeter fur when he sits beside us.

She died before we were married a year, but her memory lives on.  Our plan is to use this blanket to cover up our first baby when we take him or her home from the hospital, so it is kind of like she is there too.


This week’s photo challenge from the Daily Post is called “Pattern.”  They seek out photos of, well, patterns.

It is probably going to seem a bit odd to you, but photos are not the first things I think of when I think pattern.  Or really the second.  Sure, I take pictures of pretty patterns or designs when I see them, but I feel like that isn’t my first thought.

When I think pattern, I think pattern recognition.

Medicine is full of pattern recognition.  I do not eat, sleep and breathe exclusively medicine (except when I am on call sometimes), but they appear everywhere and they are SO ENGRAINED in me that I can’t help but notice them.  Sequences of symptoms, for instance the high fevers for days followed by a constellation of peeling fingers and toes, red eyes, red lips and such that make up Kawasaki disease (I totally had that case on Grey’s a few weeks ago figured out before the intro was over).  They way cancers tend to spread in a certain way by a certain route.  The way pregnancies progress.  Rashes (I hate rashes).  They are patterns to me.

But patterns aren’t just medicine to me.

Patterns are music.  Chord progressions follow patterns.  Some people like to recycle chord progressions (there are only so many options, after all).  I remember things to music better because I find it easier to recognize the sound differences.  When I was younger, I studied Aural Training, which is basically training one’s ear to recognize spaces between notes, chords and that good stuff.  I taught it when I got older and I liked to see it as pattern recognition.  If you recognize the pattern from one place, you can often apply it to another.

Patterns are knitting and sewing and creating things.

But patterns are also visual.  And since this is a photo challenge, I suppose I will get to that bit.

I took these pictures at the Vatican when we were visiting Rome.  The place was beautiful and epic and there was art everywhere you looked.  Even up and down.

Little things

Never worry about numbers.  Help one person at a time, and always start with the person nearest you.  ~Mother Teresa

Sometimes little things mean a lot to people.  The small details.  Things you do that you don’t really see making a tangible difference, but they wind up making a big difference to those people sometimes in ways you don’t even see.  Sometimes these sorts of things are helpful, others hurtful.

At work today, I had one patient ask me for her pathology report for her family doctor.  Apparently this physician keeps getting his mail mixed up with another physician of a similar name, and often doesn’t have information he needs or wants in his office.  He didn’t have the report, even though it had been available for weeks.  Other than the obvious system flaws that should be remedied, I was struck by this woman’s helpfulness in offering this service.  This summer, I spent 8 weeks in rural family practice and we were forever missing information, but thankfully had access to an electronic medical record that could fill in some of the gaps.  Here though, there is no such option for physicians out of the city.  We were grateful when people brought us information from specialists.  I can imagine that this physician would, as well.

Another patient today came in bringing some of his left over wound care supplies that he no longer needed.  He was asking if we knew of anyone who could use them, as they would expire in a few months and he did not know what to do with them.  Ironically, in the room next door, someone who had a large tumor removed from his shin and was now dealing with post op wound infections.  He was using some of the same materials this other man had brought in.  He asked the nurse if he could get any extra supplies, as his homecare nurse had not brought enough for this next week.  This saved someone from inconvenience and cost.

Last week, Jag (our car) was in getting fixed and took longer than we had anticipated.  Patrick had to take a taxi to work (which costs a small fortune) and I had to get from the hospital to the car dealership in rush hour the day after a snow storm.  I called a taxi and was told it would be at least 20 minutes.  While waiting, the resident I was working with came out of the hospital and asked what I was still doing there.  I told her I needed to get the car and was waiting for a taxi.  She volunteered to drive me, despite the traffic because it was only a few minutes out of her way.  She saved us $20 and me a bunch of time.

Our small group did a study almost two years ago now (wow, time flies) called “The Good Samaritan.”  It was all about being a good Samaritan based on Biblical principles.   The lessons are universal.  Loving people no matter what.  Doing the big things, but also taking care of the little things.  Not just in your home or work or school.  Not just in your immediate community or country.  Not just with a global focus.  Love is not always evident in our world today.  We see many hurting people.  It is easy to get bogged down with it all.

Patrick and I were talking today about different cities and stereotypes.  Newfoundlanders are prototypically friendly, people from Toronto less so, etcetera.  Those are just stereotypes.  I have met dreadfully mean people from Newfoundland and delightful and joyful individuals from Toronto.  Similarly, professions are stereotyped.  Religions are stereotyped.  We like to put people into boxes.  I love boxes and categories.  Sometimes these boxes and categories prevent us from loving people the same way we should.  Sometimes they distance us or give us a false sense of security.  We need to look beyond stereotypes and guard against actions that hurt people, stereotyping included.

My question in life is how do we truly show love to people?  I have been hurtful in the past and I am sure I will be again in the future.  Lately, I have been reminded that sometimes the little things, the things we don’t even consider can tip the balance.

Sometimes, I feel if I can’t do the big thing, maybe I just shouldn’t be involved.  I will pray, but really, I am not involved otherwise (prayer IS involvement, don’t get me wrong).  But, lately, I am remembering that little acts of service, prayers and even offering a helping hand to those involved in outside ways or with outside things can be a help.

International Christmas ( is an event put on by InterVarsity groups across Canada.  The goal is to bring International students out to camp and have them experience a truly Canadian Christmas complete with trees, a turkey dinner, carols, skating and the true Christmas story.  The main goal, however, really, is to show Christ’s love to students who may not have heard the Christmas story before or who are alone and scared in a new country.  It is a beautiful thing, International Christmas.  Canadian students and volunteers run the program and befriend students.  They have a talent show and an international meal to share cultural norms and dishes.  There is opportunity for conversation and growth and long-term relationships.  It is part of a bigger ministry to international students that seeks to support them emotionally, socially and educationally, to show Christ’s love and to help them truly experience Canadian culture.

I have never actually participated in International Christmas, though I have always wanted to.  Scheduling never really worked.  I have prayed for the event.  This year, Patrick is going to go, as he is stuck here while I am home for a rotation.  It is very exciting.  I wanted to help and didn’t know how.  But then, my opportunity arose.  They decided this year that it would be nice to give each student who participates a gift.  A scarf.  Many students when they come to Canada don’t have appropriate clothing for our winters.  This is practical.  It is also kind of symbolic.  So, I am knitting a scarf.  A lovely brightly colored scarf.  I hope it becomes someone else’s “little thing.”

The scarf 3/4 completed.

On a somewhat unrelated note, the pattern for this scarf is quite easy and available online at: