Saturday, January 29, 2011


In the south, snow tends to be somewhat of a rare occurrence. Many years there won't be enough snow fall to coat the roads or shut down businesses. Southerners are currently boasting about the 60 degree weather they are enjoying as it snows in the north. And the people up north in New England find themselves constantly covered in snow. Their lack of snow days is because snow is a part of life everyday and they have learned to deal with and ignore it.

And then there is this beautiful little area between New England and D.C. that gets to experience the wonderful thrill that is snow. Snow has not yet lost its wonder for me. On rare occasions we will have a winter that leaves us wanting. And then there are winters like this one where it does not seem to stop. Thirty inches at Christmas and fourteen inches just this week with lots in between and right now the flurries are falling, just as they did last night. The ground has been blanketed by snow for over a month now, a rare winter indeed. While many grumble and grow weary of our treacherous roads, I've been sipping hot cocoa and watching the snow fall. It hasn't lost its magic. And I hope it never does!

I did a little experimenting and used a Bokeh filter with a flash to take this picture. It makes the snow look as magical as it feels to me!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

On Being Extraordinarily Average

Sitting in Patient Centered Medicine (one of the "talk about your feelings" Medical School classes which deserves a post of its own), I flashed back to the 7th grade. English class that year was the first time I really struggled with school. I was a nerd among nerds that never really worried about how I was doing in school because I was doing fine; I knew nothing else. 7th grade english changed all that. While I struggled with diagramming sentences and prepositional phrases, the biggest blow to my academic career up until that moment came when we had to present about the "culture of our family". I live in New Jersey; everyone has some unique culture. Everyone that is, except apparently me. Priya talked about Hindu traditions of her Indian family, and Caryl about her Filipino background, and even the "white" kids talked about immigrants from Ireland during the potato famine. I remember asking my mom what we were and she told me I was Heinz 57 Varities. A little of everything, not enough of anything. The truth is, we can trace my family back to the Revolutionary War. While there are some later immigrants from Germany and Scotland, none of it was ever culturally significant enough to have any impact on my family. Naturally, I received a C because my teacher did not understand what made my family special. Neither did I!

We are blue collar. My parents generation has 4 kids on one side, 3 on the other and all the grandkids are between the ages of 19 and 26. This means we don't have babies at Christmas or Easter. We haven't had a wedding yet and really no funerals either. We are average, typical, American. Flash back to sitting in class and the teacher asks us to go around and tell about when our families came to this country. It is medical school. Half the room is from Asia/India and is either first or second generation. Without fail, everyone in the room came to this country in the early 1900's or earlier. And then there is me with my family from the Revolutionary War and everyone gives this bewildered look and I shrug my shoulders. My ethnicity is American. That is me, Heinz 57 varieties.

Which brings me to this Christmas when a very complicated bit of extended family came to Christmas and brought their beautiful baby girl, Lily. This was a very new experience for all of us because we haven't had babies at Christmas in years. O how we missed babies! My mom said, "Don't smell the baby, she's contagious!" Well, we caught baby fever, even my dad!
We haven't learned the cure for baby fever yet in school

Lily was adorable and gave me the opportunity to take some great pictures, because I never get to see people under the age of 20 in medical school and let's face it: people like to see innocent little faces instead of stressed out medstudents. Okay, maybe I do occasionally see little people but of course I'm not about to go taking pictures in the grocery store! I need more babies in my life. I'll have to recruit someone to get on that. For now I'll have to be satisfied with seeing this adorable face once in a while.

In the end, we are so average, we are unique. And I'm okay with that.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I Heart Faces

This week at I Heart Faces, which hosts weekly photo contests, the theme is innocent wonder. I have been thinking about starting a blog and in order to enter the contest I decided to do it. Thanks to I Heart Faces for the jumpstart!
I absolutely love this picture of Lily who you can read more about in the next post. I don't get to take pictures of babies often. I don't get to take pictures often at all with the busy schedule!

Mud Pies to Medicine: My Life

The concept for the title of my blog comes from a musing I had one day as an undergrad reflecting on the wonders of childhood while pulling an all-nighter and trying to write a personal statement to medical school. In a frustrated rant, this is what came out:

"Sometimes this world is spinning faster than it did in the old days.

I miss making mud pies. There is this huge rock in my front yard. To call it a rock really does it a dishonor. It is a boulder, brought home by my father on a huge dump truck after he blasted it out of a work site. My mom one day told me that even though it is nearly 2.5 feet high, 6 feet long, and 2.5 feet wide, that it was, in fact, only half-showing. The scientist inside of me was disbelieving and set out to get some proof. Clad in a dress, bow in my hair, and my best accessory, a shovel, I trudged outside ready to prove my mother wrong. That is when the digging began. I dug, and dug, and dug, and nearly all 3.5 feet of Danielle fit in that hole when I had reached the bottom of the rock. That became my digging spot, my mud pie kitchen. Each day it was dug, and each evening it was filled back in. Sometimes the holes were small, sometimes they were enormous, and most days the hole was turned into my mud mixing bowl with that rock as my counter. The novelty never wore off. The ebb and flow of my childhood was, in many ways, measured by the ever-changing depth of that hole in the front yard, the hole that never really disappeared even each day after it was filled in. Even though the grass has grown back in that spot, there still remains, an indentation, the scars of my childhood and the disbelieving scientists I have always been.

So, RWJ, you ask me why I want to be a doctor? I do not want to be a doctor. I want to open a mud pie bakery with the cash register on that rock in my front yard. But, somehow, I doubt I would stay in business long, for the world seems to have lost its taste for mud pies. I guess being a doctor will have to do."

And while I did not end up sending this to medical school, I did end up getting in. This blog is meant to be a reflection on everything from mud pies to medicine (with photos when I can). I have quite a bit of photos already so while my life is not all too exciting right now, I'll try to chronicle some of the past. I hope you enjoy it!