Monday, 23 November 2009


The on call birthday weekend passed pretty uneventfully.
It rained here and snowed a lot more in Whistler.
The boys enjoyed knee deep light powder while I reported endless CT scans.
I accidentally fell into Tiffany's for respite.
We went out for a lovely supper and my pager didn't go off.
Dawna my housemate made an excellent mango cheesecake.
Quite a few people remembered by birthday which was nice (facebook reminders help) as I do wonder whether out of sight is out of mind.
I sometimes wonder how many people will turn up to my funeral (if there isn't a live web link by then).
I'm not sure I can even get away with lying about being 30 anymore.
Will continue to tick wrong age demographic box in questionnaires for a while longer though.
Found lots of grey hairs today - at least the expensive highlights are justified now.
Will stay away from the botox until the early mid life crisis kicks in.
Body clock clearly malfunctioning, or battery broken. Maybe will sell eggs, freezing too expensive.
Chicago in 4 days. Then skiing begins in earnest.
Hope not too osteoporotic yet.

(35 is a discrete semiprime (or biprime) (5 x 7); the tenth, and the first with 5 as the lowest non-unitary factor.)

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Highway 1

Highway one is the pacific coastal road from San Fran to LA. It is part of the pan- American highway which starts in Alaska heading south through the Yukon province of Canada, into BC past Whistler to Vancouver (where it is called the Sea to Sky Highway) across the border, into Washington, Orgeon, California and then all the way to Panama and onto Valparaisao in Chile.

It is spectacularly scenic hugging the rugged coastline with crashing surf and remote sandy beaches, interspersed with towering redwoods.

Big Sur was the destination - a selection of high end lodges and eco cabins nestled amongst several national parks stepped in anicent redwoods on the pacific coast ; a calming place with excellent hiking and stunning panoramic views. Great burritos, quiet, and incredible stars as no light pollution. Cabin in woods (+ heated floor + internet for her) + wood fire outside (for him) made for a relaxing few days.

Always good to leave a place wishing you could stay longer. California is cool.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Wet Dog Kinda Day

Without exaggeration it has rained non stop since I landed from San Fran on Saturday. I remain unadjusted as to how foul the weather is. I'm told that the yearly rainfall in Vancouver is similiar (sic) to the UK and I quite frankly didn't believe it. Cue Prof Google. With good reason - the average annual rainfall in Vancouver is 1117.2mm, with November being the wettest month with 167.2mm of rain. Average rainfall in London is 585mm with Devon + Cornwall receiving about 900-1000mm (another place to potentially live dismissed) and parts of western Scotland a tsumanious amount of over 4,000mm (not sure that is a word or not). In true British style I whinge daily about the weather whereas the Canadians continue to be ever cheerful and charming. They clearly know something I don't - hopefully about the amazing snow which is dumping in Whistler - a record 233cm base this morning. Total bummer that I'm on call this birthday weekend as my new skis are eager to play in the powder.
It has been a wet dog kind of few days - where even the dog wouldn't want to go for a walk and then remains damp and smelly for a while afterward. Perfect baking weather though. North American chocolate is like dog chocolate and I'm currently loving Reece's peanut butter cups which is strange as I don't particularly like peanut butter; however it is the combination of salt and sweet which works so well. Crispy salted oatmeal white chocolate cookies may just get me through a weekend on call and into a new age demographic....

Thursday, 12 November 2009

San Francisco

Just over two hours flight down the coast and the climate is totally different. For the humid obsessed amongst us (n=1), it is actually more pleasant than the dryness of Vancouver; the skies are clear and it is a very pleasant 16-18C (packing exam failed with too many jumpers and no sun cream). And not a rain drop in sight. HEAVEN.

Home of the Golden Gate Bridge and the huge bay, cable cars (brilliant invention on the steepest of hills - the cables are changed every 2-3 months as they wear out), Alcatraz (vastly inferior to Robben Island), the second largest Chinatown town in the States after NYC with amazing dim sum to name but a few attractions and of course the HIV epidemic where in the 1980s a third of the gay male population were infected.

It is a really lovely city; cities and water go together like gin and tonic. It feels a little edgy with an interesting melting pot of cultures, people and (importantly) cuisine. Not too much of America to sour the taste. Good discovery of a happy hour in this recession ridden country (with a headline the other day announcing unemployment at a new record high of over 10%) was 1$ oysters!

Anything goes here. It really is a uniquely distorted place.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Pre Californication

Time has been playing tricks again this week. My perception of time passing is definitely abnormal. I still think I'm 25 and this week has gone on forever. I cycled to work this morning amid what started as light drizzle and progressed too rapidly to a heavy downpour and as I attempted to dodge the piles of wet slippery slimy leaves they don't clear away here (adds to the adventure I'm told when attempted to complain), I tried to think of the appropriate word to describe the weather (in an effort not to focus on the ever increasing paraesthesia in my terminal phalanges). I concluded on the appropriateness of the word filthy. Not in the smutty way either.

I digress.

It's been a long week.
The boiler broke (now fixed).
I spent more time wet than dry.
Mental note: never go and live in Wales or Scotland for prolonged periods.
H1N1 jab hurts (have it in your thigh not your arm).
I finished my 8 weeks of booty camp (with a 4% reduction in body fat) which I perversely enjoyed.
4 months is too long between holidays; they should be on repeat prescription every 6-8 weeks.
I'm off to San Fran tomorrow early (strictly still the middle of the night) to meet Will for a few days then driving down Highway 1 to Big Sur.
I'm excited but long distance relationships are hard. Hope we get on!
Trying to pack; which I see as a chore when it shouldn't be as it means you are going somewhere (usually) fun. Hence the blog writing distraction.
Having worn scrubs at work and cycling / gym / fleeces / uber casual clothes for the last 4 months; it is quite interesting looking through the wardrobe at heels (reluctantly) catching dust, and pretty nice clothes which I can actually wear next week; I feel deattached from them.

Have flowers for my hair at least.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Lynn Valley

I had a quiet weekend as have been rushing around a lot with plenty of early starts for max-ing out the oh-so-precious weekends not on call for weeks and weeks on top of the early weekday starts. It was forecast to rain so that meant writing some blogs, catching up on emails, trying to write consultant application form, having a haircut etc. The people who clearly make up the weather forecast (as a job no less) got it wrong again and it didn't rain so I felt obliged to be outside and enjoy the unwetness of it all; particularly as I was beginning to get used to the unkempt drowned rat look and was wondering why I owned a hairdryer.

I trekked over to North Vancouver and the Lynn Valley Park - there is an Indiana Jones style suspension bridge over a narrow pretty gorge and lots of hiking trails. I went with Jules and her cousin back in September but wanted to come back and walk some of the trails. It was lovely; especially to be out in the crisp fresh air on my own with plenty of time to think (and dogs to say hello to), but rather wet and slippery and I had an good fall with a resultant rather impressive calf haematoma. I looked twice my age trying to sit down on the ferry on my return but rewarded myself with a Vera's burger on the journey home - I couldn't believe I hadn't tried this establishment yet; succulent juicy burgers with every possible topping you can think of. Perfect post walk anti ravenous fuel. In close competition with the gourmet burger company in my humble burgopinion for a high ranking.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Thunder + Lightening

A controlled eruption has occurred here...

A couple of last year's fellows have published their experience in the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologist's newsletter. It is not 100% accurate (the waiting list for MR is only 5- 6 months here now ! and the typists are pretty good and speedy!) but gives a frank and reasonably fair piece of writing about the job I am currently doing even if it is not the most politically correct of articles. Safe to say it has not gone down well here. Interestingly (and thankfully) my opinion on the article has not been sought by the powers that be. The boss is responding with a letter to the editor of the newsletter as they are worried that the Australians won't want to come and work (and perhaps the English too...); will be an interesting read...

Does everyone think they are better than they really are ?
Is not insight meant to be part of higher cerebral function?

Sunday, 1 November 2009


I began my radiology career aged about 6 when my mother made me an excellent costume for a Hallowe'en party where she sewed cloth in the shape of the bones of a human skeleton onto a black jumper and tights. Educational and scary. Brilliant.

Hallowe'en is big here. Commercial and all quite alien to us Brits (perhaps as the 5th November is around the corner?), despite it being popularised in the 19th century by the Irish and Scottish immigrants to North America. The exterior of houses are decorated with pumpkins, skeletons and puppets. Families with young children go 'trick or treating'. Dressing up on Hallowe'en is a national pastime here. Scary to ridiculous to say the least. And I mean everyone - I took the bus last night and was the only one not in costume - even the boring looking guy by the window had a Star trek costume on under his coat when questioned by an inebriated student dressed as a lion. It is a huge night on a par with New Years Eve festivities. As I walked back to the bus stop, the whole of downtown was filled with people wandering around in costumes. Isn't it odd to find such emphasis on an essentially Pagan festival when less than half of North Americans believe in evolution?