Saturday, May 31, 2008

New Steps

As it turns out, what I took to be incomplete, temporary, wooden steps was actually a concrete form. Wednesday, during the day, they came back and filled the form with a new set of front steps. They've been curing up ever since. We've had a bit of mixed weather since then, and now the weekend, so I'm not surprised that they haven't been back to put in the railings and take away the caution tape and orange cones.

Still haven't heard a thing from them.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Knee Walker - update

Well, it's been about 134 hours since I last posted about the oversized knee walker that I've been asked to build, about 40 hours of which have been devoted to just that. When you consider there was supposedly a long weekend in the middle there, I'd say that's pretty good.

Here is a CAD model of what we're building. To provide some scale: front-to-back is about three feet, floor-to-handlebars is five feet (to my shoulders, basically), and the wheels are 10" in diameter.

The rear axle assembly: hubs, bearings, even a disc brake.

At this point, just about all the parts are on hand and ready to go. A few are still being milled out, but things look hopeful to be able to deliver the finished device on Friday. Now that the design is mostly there, I've turned my attention to assembly while the Shop finishes cutting some of the more intricate parts.

If things go as planned, the thing should be finished and ready to deliver on Friday.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

More Housework

When I got home from work yesterday evening (yes, evening. The knee walker is still demanding some long hours) I was met with a surprise: someone had walked off with the front steps.

I kid you not. When I left for work yesterday morning, I trotted down the prefab-ed concrete front steps that have been with the house for who-knows-how-long. When I got home, they were gone. In its place was something that resembled a wooden staircase, with stringers and risers, except that they lacked actual horizontal steps, and there was caution tape around the whole setup. They took the railings, too.

Ok, ok. So it wasn't marauding concrete fairies or scrap metal meth-fiends. A few months back H and I had signed up with a subcontractor to replace the front steps, because they were starting to fall apart and weren't very attractive to begin with. The contract didn't specify an actual date - we had just verbally agreed that they'd come and do it when they had a gap in their schedule. I guess yesterday was that gap. You'd expect that they would have called at some point, though.

I am hoping that, when I get home today, that I will find a complete set of front stairs awaiting me (concrete or wood). Or, at the very least, a note or phone message or something. Otherwise it's going to quickly become an awkward relationship with our handymen.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Bathroom Update

The long weekend has provided some time to work on the bathroom. Between that and the knee walker project at work, I've done little else this whole weekend. Last I mentioned, I was faced with the conundrum of a purchased medicine cabinet that needed to be returned because there was no hope of it fitting into the hole in the wall. As it turns out, that particular cabinet is meant to be slapped right up against the wall - not set into it. Scanning the local hardware stores revealed no "framed" cabinets (i.e, meant to be set into a wall pocket) anywhere close to the right dimensions. It's not like medicine cabinet sizes are standardized, so unless it were new construction, I wouldn't have had much hope anyway.

So, I fell back on plan B - built my own. Norm Abram (I mean Naaahhm Abraahm) I am not, but I've got some power tools and enough experience to do a decent job of it. The only bugger of the situation is that it'll take me a fair bit of time, and materials alone will cost twice what a prefab cabinet would be. Ah well. I relish the challenge.

For some reason, I took our smaller car to the hardware store to get the first supplies. Stupid me - I could'a had the station wagon. Now I know that it is exactly 10 feet from the back of the trunk to the front of the windshield. I had to get clever to get a 4x8 sheet of thin plywood home, too. Namely: chop it in half, lash it to the roof, drive at 35 mph, and hope the winds don't get you.

First order of business - the base frame. I could have gotten fancy with dovetail joinery, except that without the proper jig, it'd take me about ten times to get it right, and being set into the wall, no one's ever going to see it anyway. Instead, I just did a simple rabbet joint, and will rely on the sheet of plywood in the back to keep the box rigid. Some work with the table saw and router, and things were looking pretty good.

The cabinet frame even fits into the hole about right, especially once I did a little extra trimming around the jagged opening.

Another Quick Update from AZ

It's been a wonderful long weekend. Mom and Susan and I headed north on Saturday afternoon and spent the night in Flagstaff. We had an amazing meal at a veggie-friendly restaurant, and cranked up the heat in our hotel room (it was cold and rainy, not quite the weather that any of us had expected). On Sunday morning, we got up, had breakfast at another nifty coffeehouse, and headed for the Grand Canyon. Thankfully, the weather had cleared and it was sunny and warm, but not too hot.

The Grand Canyon was just spectacular! It's hard to even wrap the mind around how enormous and beautiful the scenery is. Mom and I strolled along the Rim Trail, which took us past several outlooks and also gave us a view of hikers and mules going up and down the Bright Angel Trail into the canyon. We also watched the National Geographic IMAX movie about the Canyon before entering the park, which was amazing.

Once Susan gets her pictures developed, I'll post a couple of photos, but they can't possibly do the place justice. When the crumpet gets a bit older, Alex and I hope to return and do some hiking off the North Rim, which is less crowded.

We did start the crumpet's National Parks passport book, leaving plenty of room for a second Grand Canyon stamp later on.

Today, Mom and Susan went off to tour Taliesin West, and I got a lot of studying done.

Here are a couple of photos that I took when Alex was here, just showing the lay of the land a bit. Here's a view of the apartment complex. Mine is all the way in the corner there, on the second floor.

And here's a view of the kitchen. If only it always had Alex in it making guacamole! Though cooking has been much easier since he brought me a big cutting board and our second-best chef's knife.

That's all for now! Mom and Susan unfortunately head out tomorrow, and Dad arrives Thursday. I'm expecting a busy week working with one of the chief residents.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Hero Worship

Mom arrived in Arizona on Wednesday night to keep me company for almost a week! Back when she was planning this trip, she carefully cross-checked her dates against the WNBA schedule, so we had a long-standing date to attend the Phoenix Mercury-Seattle Storm game on Thursday night. Since the main priority in watching WNBA games is to check in on UConn girls, we were quite pleased that this game would let us see no fewer than four: Diana Taurasi and Willnett Crockett (Phoenix) and Sue Bird and Swin Cash (Seattle).

I was able to leave the hospital in plenty of time for us to head into the city for the evening game, and on the way, I asked Mom where we were sitting. She said that she thought we were somewhere in the Seattle section.

Then we made our way to the arena, walked halfway around (why does one inevitably enter a sporting arena one hundred and eighty degrees from where one's seats are actually located?) and presented our tickets to the guy at the door, who looked at them and said, "Oh! You're right down on the floor! Just head all the way down the steps!" It turns out that Mom had gotten us seats DIRECTLY BEHIND the Seattle bench. As in front row. There was no one between the players and us. It was the most amazing view we've ever had at a basketball game! I am so excited to tell the crumpet how close she actually was to Sue Bird.

The game got quite exciting at the end...Phoenix completely dominated the first half, and then Seattle staged a tremendous comeback in the second half and actually pulled out the win. We got to see a lot of Diana, Sue, and Swin (Swin has had a rough couple of years playing in Detroit and it's wonderful to see the "old" Swin reemerging with this new team). Mom turned to me at one point and said, "well, we've never had our view blocked by the referee before!" Indeed. And what's with those coaches feeling the need to stand up all the time? Couldn't they crouch out of our sightlines?

It was amazing to be that close to the action, and to see how quick and strong the players really are. Also lots of fun to hear them all talking to each other. We thought we'd be able to hear the Seattle coach in the huddle during timeouts, but the arena blasted the music so loud that we could only catch a few words here and there.

All in all, it was a big treat, and a great night. I wished very much that I had a camera, but after several minutes of fiddling with my cell phone and trying to figure out how to work the pathetic camera it has, then finding that the shutter delay was about ten seconds, I abandoned the attempt and just watched the game!

The surgery rotation is trucking along. I had a good week with a breast surgeon, and actually have a three-day weekend now, being lucky enough to have Memorial Day off. Mom and I have been joined by Susan, visiting from Oklahoma, and we'll be heading up north this afternoon, staying overnight in Flagstaff, and visiting the Grand Canyon tomorrow. Susan, luckily, has a camera, so I may be able to post some photos from our adventure in a couple of days.

The crumpet is growing and bouncing around, she'll be 30 weeks along on Monday! She has been very obliging when I've been scrubbed in for surgeries, staying nice and quiet and not kicking me in the spleen. In return, I'm trying to get her as much sleep and good food as possible, and finding time to do some yoga every night. We're getting along quite nicely, though we miss Alex (and Jasper) very much.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Knee Walker

I haven't had a chance to do any work on the bathroom in the last few days, not since trying and failing to dry fit the new medicine cabinet. It's not that I've been avoiding it - I certainly don't want to look into that hole in the wall forever. Nope, it's been from a lack of any free time whatsoever. Work work work.

But, hey, what's keeping me busy at work right now is pretty cool, and well worth the long hours. As many of you will know, my job sometimes requires me to drop everything and devote all (or at least most) of my efforts to design and build something that a patient needs now. It's nice to completely cut out the usual proooocccceeeessss that projects adhere to, and just let fly on a schedule long on hours but short on time - like I did in college. This is what I've been doing the last few days, and will probably continue doing through the weekend.

Some of you may have seen people getting around using a knee walker. It is a wheeled device that the patient rests one lower leg on, while using the good leg to scoot around. The patient's weight is alternately carried on the good leg and the contralateral knee, bypassing the injured foot. Some look like folding chairs with wheels, others look like backwards tricycles - two steerable wheels in front, one in the back. They are a way to avoid using crutches. I am currently custom designing and building such a device.

But why, you ask, do I need to build one, when the patient can go out and buy one at any time? Well, for this particular patient, buying one is simply not an option. Although medical devices are gradually being designed for a larger and heavier patient population, no one makes a knee walker to fit a 7'-plus, 600-lb patient. I can't go into many details, but suffice to say that the patient has a bum foot that the docs want to rest as much as possible, while avoiding keeping the patient immobile. There is a fear that the injured foot could get a whole lot worse if it doesn't start healing up soon.

So, I've been putting in 14-hour days for the last couple of days whipping something together. It won't be pretty, and not nearly as polished as a commercial unit, but should work. It's another of those backwards tricycle types. Instead of solid casters that are only useful indoors, this one will have 10" pneumatic tires. Instead of a nicely shaped and welded steel tubing frame (which we might have done if we had a month or two instead of a week), we're using extruded structural aluminum - an industrial erector set. Instead of a wimpy brake that presses against the wheel tread, we'll use a disc brake from a downhill racing mountain bike.

At some point I'll have pictures, but the design isn't even finished yet. The disc brake I picked up just this evening. The wheels are coming overnight and will get delivered to my doorstep Saturday morning. With these in hand, I can design the rear axle, brake mount, and front wheel mounts this weekend, and probably Monday, too. The machine Shop, as always, has done an quality job in turning out the parts I ask of them, making quick work of the stack of drawings I've given them so far. If all goes well, the thing should be finished and ready to give the patient by the end of next week.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Cabinet Difficulties

Since I now have sizeable hole in the bathroom wall right at eye level, I though I'd try to fill it. I'll still have to paint before I install a new cabinet, but it's nice to have a look.

Before she left, H and I picked up a medicine cabinet, vanity, sink, and faucet to put into the bathroom. Tonight I cracked it open. I had some difficulty sizing the medicine cabinet when we bought it, because it was tough to tell what the actual width, height, and depth of the pocket were that I'd have to fit into. The trim around all four sides threw me off - it's tough to know what its covering. Now that the old cabinet it out, it is trivial to measure.

As it turns out, the cabinet we purchased is a non-starter. I'm not sure it's really meant to be set into a wall - the trim is wrong for that. Plus, the dimensions are wrong by an inch or two all around. The dimensions of the cabinet don't even match the dimensions on the box. Compare 30W x 29-1/2H x 5-1/2D that's on the box to the 28-7/8W x 28-1/2H x 4-1/2D the thing actually measures (minus the trim).

But, we're going to need that hole filled, somehow. I'll take the cabinet back and see if there's something similar in a different size. If that fails, well, I'm kinda handy with a table saw...

Monday, May 19, 2008

A New Project

So, per the advice of a real estate agent, and our own desire to improve our living space, Hilary and I have decided to redo some stuff in the bathroom. Since Hilary is in Scottsdale, this means that I am actually redoing the bathroom. No, really, this was planned - this avoids exposing the unborn to paint and other fumes, or so goes the theory. Also, if there's going to be serious disruption in our one-and-only bathroom, it's best if only one of us, the not-so-pregnant one, is inflicted with it.

Goals: replace the vanity and sink, inset medicine cabinet, and repaint the walls to something less...uh, spongy.

The first task: remove everything so that I can paint. For tonight, this means you, Mr. Medicine Cabinet of the 1970s!

It took me a little time to figure out how this thing was held in place. Turns out it was a combination of screws into the ineffectual walls and a whole lot of caulking around the edges. After slicing the caulk around the edges, and a little persuation from a crowbar, the cabinet actually came out pretty easily.

I suppose I should have realized, given the vintage of the house, that the walls were honest-to-God plaster and horsehair. Still, it's a bit of a shock when you're confronted with the shocking horror or reality.

That's all I was able to get tonight.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

In Arizona

An update on the goings on in Scottsdale:

I arrived Friday night without incident, and Hilary was there in a jiff. As it turns out, she had spent most of the day studying, patiently waiting for her resident to page her with something, ya know, medical to take of. Instead, we think that he took off golfing sometime around midday.

Anyway, Friday night was taken up with a quick dinner at the apartment while watching something on the History Channel about the history and production of chocolate. Hilary rejoiced in the return of wireless internet - she has been tethered to the DSL modem al week! Before long, it was almost midnight in Minnesota - high time for bed. The air conditioning here is rather a necessity, although I discovered the apartment's ceiling fans do a great job for less energy. Perhaps the previous occupant (another Mayo person most likely - there's a Minnesota utility bill addressed to him here in AZ) was keen on conserving energy more than us - only about 1/4 of the light bulbs in the place work.

Saturday morning was spent, not surprisingly, lounging around the apartment and trying not to heat up too much. Morning concluded with a nap. When we were finally ready to face the world, we went out to see the new Narnia movie. A good way to spend two and a half hours (almost three when you include the five previews that preceded it). Scottsdale, we have learned, is nothing but compact subdivisions, condos, apartments, wide roads, and shopping centers. As it happens, we stopped off at one that was close by after the movie to do some food shopping. I picked up some of the local brew. We picked up dinner to go at a neat local restaurant - Pita Jungle. Excellent falafel! I found it using the Google Maps feature on my iPhone, reinforcing my belief that it is the ultimate travel companion. We resisted the desire to hit up the gelato cafe right next door - it would spoil our appetite.

Here is Hilary doing her daily prenatal yoga practice. Yes, we know she's getting a bit large at 29 weeks. She's trying not to take it personally.

Sunday we decided to get an earlier start and get out and about. The local outdoorsy sight is Camelback mountain, which is a rocky ridge in the midst of the city proper, a bit NE from downtown Phoenix. Being a relatively short hike and right in the midst of the city, Camelback has lots of people on it all day. Urban Hiking, I think they call it. We approached the hike with this mindset: it's a mile and a half up, with 1200 feet elevation gain over rocky trail, with little shade, in what would soon be 100-degree weather. Ordinarily Hilary and I could make short work of it, in spite of the conditions. As it was, with her carrying extra weight and with decreased lung capacity, and me fighting off a caffeine-withdrawal headache and (as I would later conclude) a little dehydration, we moved a bit more leisurely. That was just fine - we still passed some folks on our way up. Even so, this was one of those rare occasions where the book time applied.

The south and east base of Camelback is bordered by a ritzy country club and resort: the Phoenician. This picture is, I think, the central clubhouse and hotel, with what looks like five swimming pools. The 27-hole course is verdant, well-kept grass, quite an accomplishment (and ostentatious extravagance) in the middle of the freakin' desert!

Actually, the descent took as long as the ascent. Hilary was being particularly careful of her footing on the gravel-covered rocks. The heat was up, our water exhausted, and the trail really seemed longer coming down. We received a pleasant surprise about halfway down - a call from Hilary's father, who is in the midst of a hike across Scotland. We stopped off at a supermarket on the way back to get cold water to knock back before anything else. Then we headed to the gelato place we found last night. It's a few hours later, and we're still trying to catch up fluids - a useful lesson there.

We'll be doing some of that fluid catch-up at wherever we decide to do dinner. It'll be an early night - Hilary has to report to the hospital, and my flight leaves, all before 7 am.

Friday, May 16, 2008

On the road

I'm heading down to Scottsdale to see H for the weekend; currently hanging out in the bedlam of MSP airport aon a Friday afternoon, dashing off this quick update before boarding.

It's been a busy week here in the not-so-frozen North. I am attempting to let the grass in the backyard recover from being torn up all winter and spring by a very quick and agile dog. It's gotten ripped a fair bit, not counting the patch worn bare along the fenceline with the border-collie-owning neighbors. So, I've been taking Jasper for short walks in the mornings for him to do his business, which is time normally spent eating breakfast and making coffee. The alarm clock as steadily been rolling back all week from that and other chores, such as setting a load of laundry put to dry before heading off to work. Other chores have been pushed up, since I won't be around this weekend to so them. Hopefully I can catch up next week.

Jasper will, no doubt, have a great time at doggie camp this weekend.

More updates about triple digit-weather later.

Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

So Far, So Good!

Just a quick update from your friendly correspondent in Arizona!

I am settling in very well here. The apartment, though in the midst of suburban jumble (everything for miles seems to be either condo/townhome communities or strip malls), is quite comfortable, and my high-speed internet got hooked up yesterday without a hitch.

The consultants and residents have been easy to work with so far. Monday was just an orientation day, and I was done early enough to go out grocery shopping and make lunches and dinners for the rest of the week, anticipating long days. Yesterday (Tuesday) was my first day in the operating room, though my consultant had both of her cases canceled. I had spent part of Monday evening reviewing hernia repairs and groin anatomy in anticipation of these operations, and was very nervous when the resident told me that he'd find me some other surgeries to watch, since I hadn't studied anything else! Luckily, I ended up scrubbing in on three hernia repairs, so got to put some of that knowledge to use. They had me suturing within about 10 seconds of walking up to the table, and my fingers thankfully remembered what to do, even though it's been months!

Today was an outpatient clinic day, when the surgeons see pre and postop patients. Not too much for me to do, except to tag along and try to see/feel interesting clinical findings. Tomorrow we're in the OR again. At some point I'll post a much more detailed entry about what I'm up to surgery-wise, but for now I need to get to bed! The schedule has actually been very good so far, I arrive about 6:30-6:45 and have been out in the late afternoon.

Alex is arriving on Friday evening, which I am really looking forward to! We've also been able to videoconference each night using iChat, which is WAY more fun than talking on the phone, and even means that I can have a look at Jasper. He's going to bring the camera, so then I can post some photos of the desert surroundings. (It was a "cool" 75 degrees yesterday...most days it is in the 90s, and will be over 100 soon.)

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Our Little Graduate

Jasper "graduated" from his obedience class last Friday night! Here he is with his certificate:

All three of us learned a lot from the course, and Alex will keep working with Jasper while I'm away, though it will probably be a little while before we are able to take another formal course. The options for future classes include Canine Good Citizen, though that testing involves some interactions with strangers that might be too stressful for Jasper, and also Agility (leaping obstacles, going through tunnels, weaving through poles, and so on), which I think would really build his confidence and looks like lots of fun for dog and handler! The instructor brought a tunnel last week to practice with, and Alex and I were shocked that Jasper actually went through it. Once. After a lot of coaxing (and you can see the big trail of treats). He did sort of freak out in the middle and come bolting out the other end, though. Here he is on his way in:

So, though there might be more complex classes in our future, for now we'll just focus on the basics that we learned during this first course, especially "Stay," loose-leash walking, and "leave it."

Jasper also got a toy for completing the course. He is clearly meant to be a New England dog, as he seemed particularly interested in this lobster, so that's the one we brought home. So now it lives with him under the coffee table, and Jasper occasionally mouths gently at it. (It is a squeaky toy, but Jasper doesn't chew it hard enough to make it squeak.)

I am off to Arizona this afternoon, so Alex will be updating the blog from the home front, and once I get internet access (on Tuesday, I hope), I will be able to post occasionally about my surgery rotation. Please keep your fingers crossed for interesting cases and kind surgeons!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

More spring photos

Our lone daffodil has been joined by many other blooms! Everything popped while we were away in Chicago, thanks to heavy rain followed by a couple of sunny days.

Here are tulips in the front beds (and a nice view of exactly why our front steps need replacing, which will happen later this summer):

The daffodils in the side yard:

And the ultimate sign of warm weather, the first laundry of the year hung outside to dry! I made it home from a shopping trip just in time to run outside and rescue all the nice dry clothes as a rain shower began.

Things have been very busy the last few days as I get ready to leave for Arizona on Sunday. My apartment keys have arrived, and I've printed out all the rotation info and filed it away. Today, we took two boxes of stuff to the clinic shipping department...they will send it to Scottsdale for free! So lots of books (study books, books to read to the crumpet, and books I can read for pleasure if I get a moment to myself), some mac and cheese, some clothes, and some office supplies are on their way. Hopefully everything else will fit in the 1-piece, 50-pound allotment from Northwest.

I'm also hard at work tying up loose ends on my research project, trying to store away winter clothes (and summer clothes that are simply not going to fit this year), finishing the crumpet's registry online, and a wide variety of other projects, both school-related and personal. There are two racks of wool sweaters drying on the porch...I hand-washed all of them, we are on Day #2 of waiting for them to finish drying. (The porch smells like wet sheep.) There are little piles of going-to-Arizona stuff scattered in various rooms of the house. There are three running lists on my computer desktop (Scottsdale packing, Scottsdale stuff-to-send-ahead, and a grocery list for when I actually get there). I tried to take a nap today, but kept remembering things to add to my lists, so it was a bit of a bust!

I'm hoping that a final burst of activity tomorrow will result in a fairly relaxed Saturday and Sunday morning to spend with Alex and Jasper before boarding the plane. Also very much looking forward to tomorrow's lunch with Beth and a class cook-out for dinner!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Chicago Weekend

We had a fantastic weekend in Chicago with Lucy and Steve!

After getting up at 5 AM Saturday and driving, driving, driving our way to the Windy City, we arrived around noon at Lucy and Steve's beautiful new condo. After buying it, they spent the last month doing a lot of work around the place, and it looks wonderful!

After a mellow afternoon (including a nap), we ventured out to an Italian restaurant that came highly recommended by one of L&S's friends. The meal was indeed delicious, and we all saved enough room to split chocolate cake, lemon ice, and homemade tiramisu for dessert. We also stopped by a great bookstore called Women and Children First, where I found the crumpet her first book in Spanish.

It was the moose that first caught my eye, but the entire book turns out to be full of gorgeous colors, with felt-figure illustrations.

On Sunday, we started off the day with breakfast at Tweet, which is an incredible breakfast place that we try to go to every time we visit. They have tons of veggie and vegan options, and also emphasize local food and free-range animals. Then, Lucy took me to Bloom for a prenatal yoga class. It was a great experience, since I have been practicing yoga daily at home with a couple of DVDs but haven't been to a live class since I stopped being able to do the normal abdominal work! There were about 35 women there, ranging from 6 to 38 weeks of pregnancy (I had lots of company at 27 weeks as well). I will definitely be checking to see if there is a prenatal yoga class in Scottsdale that I can attend.

Then we strolled around some neighborhoods, stopped for crepes, and eventually ended up back at home where the guys were working their way through the newly acquired Star Wars Lego Wii game. Once they conquered Episode I, they handed over the Wii-motes to us ladies. This is the only time over the weekend that we remembered to take photos, so here are a couple. As you can see, Lucy is doing some fancy lightsaber work and I am looking clueless. Pretty much par for the course. You should have seen how many attempts it took me to figure out how to get my character to jump over things on screen! It was very appropriate that Lucy was playing Qui-Gon Jinn (the Jedi Master) and I was Obi-Wan Kenobi, the padawan.

Lucy took Monday off to hang out with us in the morning, and we took a beautiful walk along Lake Michigan. The weather was perfect, and we had a chance to admire the goings-on at the dog beach, which Jasper would love. After lunch (Lucy and I spent much of the weekend eating stinky cheese that the guys hate, and this meal was no different), Alex and I hit the road again.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Random spring photos

The daffodil wins! The tulips were looking like they were ahead for awhile, but this daffodil was the first of our flowers to actually bloom (post-crocuses, that is).

Here's a cute photo of Jasper that Alex took at obedience class last week.

Jasper is doing quite well with the loose-leash walking, did a good job of ignoring a bunny tonight and responding to "come" instead, and has not eaten or rolled on any dead things since last weekend.

We're looking forward to spending this weekend in Chicago with Lucy and Steve. Jasper will get to spend the weekend at his wonderful dogsitter's house, where he is able to loll happily all over the furniture and has another dog to play with.

He came with me to the humane society down the street this evening, where I gave the new volunteer orientation talk. It's nice to have a "demo dog" there, and Jasper is definitely coming out of his shell...he stuck pretty close to me, but also let other people approach and pat him.

Today I actually started my packing list for the upcoming Arizona rotation. I finally got my basic schedule for the rotation. I'll spend the first two weeks on consultant services (one does a lot of laparoscopic procedures, the other does mainly breast cancer surgeries), then two weeks on chief resident services (even busier), then a week in the ICU and a couple of days with the anesthesia team before coming back home. As I think I've written about before, we gave this away rotation a lot of thought when the crumpet came along, and considered whether I should just stay here instead. However, the general consensus in the med school is that the schedule will be lighter in Scottsdale than here (no in-hospital call, for example), and I will probably be needing my sleep as I move into my third trimester! Pushing surgery to fourth year wasn't a very appealing option, either, since I will want to be on call even less with a newborn. So, off I go to Arizona. Alex will visit twice, Mom is coming for a week, and Dad will probably be coming once, too. I'll also be in Hanover for my reunion one weekend. So I'll have plenty of company, and will be back in Minnesota at 33 1/2 weeks of pregnancy, well ahead of the 36 week travel deadline. The crumpet has been strictly instructed that she is not to be born in Arizona!