Wednesday, January 27, 2016

154 Days and counting...

154 days

Until I am free

It doesn't seem like it's been two and a half years and in retrospect, I'm amazed it's taken me this long to feel like I'm going to explode.  Better things are so tantalizingly close.

I am fairly good at making do, finding a silver lining, some way to enjoy myself.  Being an introvert comes in handy in this way.

I think the tipping point was realizing the kinds of places I'll be able to live and work after I get out of here.  Imagine going to jail as an innocent person and being told eventually you'll be released and have a much better job than the one you had before.  You'll be living large, you just have to serve your sentence.  Sometimes you just get dealt a bad hand and you can't do anything about it.  For a bit you forget that you once lived outside where you could eat what you want, interact with people who weren't inhabitants of the bottom rung of society, choose where you slept and went.  You make do with the food, the minimal activities and entertainment, the miserable people that surround you.  Somehow you repress your anger at wrongful imprisonment - after all, if you burn bridges, you'll get shanked in the shower.  You get used to it and think it's okay, I have my own cell - I've customized things, the prison library has a good collection, and I've discovered my cell mate is another innocent person like me.  You form a little club of the innocent ones.  You work out together and swap books and contraband.  You find solace in solidarity.  You become the model inmate and everyone tells you how glad they are that a crooked judge had it out for you.  Things don't seem all that bad!  Heck, they even give you medals every so often to distinguish you from the rest.

Then a family member visits.  There are the usual pleasantries.  Unlike the last several times, they start telling you about the places they're looking at getting a house for you, and tell you about where you'll be going when you get out, where you'll work.  It's coming up soon, after all.  Suddenly everything floods back.  You're not supposed to be there.  You're going home soon, to a house, real society, and a job that doesn't involve folding inmate laundry without pay.  The life you've gotten used to, it's not really a life.  You won't always have to tolerate being surrounded by scumbags, being ordered when to eat and sleep and go outside.  It's like a cruel joke, a social experiment.

The trick you played on yourself to maintain your sanity doesn't work anymore.

You've seen through it and there's no going back.

154 days.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Two Weeks In...

Well, nearly two weeks into 2016 - unsure how I feel about this new year.  So much yet to happen.

Finalized the reservations for the next soonest trip - to San Diego.  Still have to arrange some electives, but at any rate, the next two weeks should be pretty chill since I am going to be overseeing a first year on pediatrics, and he's a fairly capable one, so I've been led to believe.

I really need to get back into the exercising... I did the video once this past week, I guess the goal this week will be to do it twice.  The weather is probably going to be getting better soon, so running might be on the list - just gotta get some new songs for the playlist and eventually some new shoes...

Duolingo streak is at 100!

I finished the TAR wars revisions and that COPD lecture, so now I have to make my Shutterfly album and after that, grand rounds..

Current book: For Whom the Bell Tolls - plenty accessible, and with my background in Spanish that is helpful.  I'm enjoying how he translates the more 'high class' dialect into older formal English with 'thy' and 'thee.'  Interesting choice.

Cardiovascular lectures... haven't watched one yet this week.  Maybe I can make up for it next week if I get enough sleep.  I have been doing plenty of medical article readings, that's for sure.

Violin - one of the books teaching 3rd and 5th position will be perfect for me I think.  It has exercises for strengthening the fourth finger.  The other book I got... first I got an "easy classical violin solos" which was way too easy.  Hardly more than the Suzuki level songs, they were all dumbed down versions.  So, I figure with Brandenburg Concerto under my belt and getting farther along on the Little Fugue, and adding a few more note-heavy songs and getting better at sight reading that maaaybe I was starting to get into the intermediate level?  So I got a 'classical sheet music for solo violin' book, with sonatas and such from Bach and a few other people I hadn't heard of, it sounded like exercises a la Brandenburg.  When it arrived, I was extremely happy with the sheer volume of pieces it contained - definitely a lot of bang for your buck.  The difficulty of the songs is a completely different story - way beyond my capabilities right now.  Maybe with practicing ONE of the pieces every day for an hour for a month I'd be able to get through a page.  On the plus side, it gives me something to aspire to and ways to tailor my training once I'm out of Redding.  If a song focuses on 4th position, get a 4th position book.  If a song focuses on double bowing, get a double bowing book.  Et cetera.  Intimidating, but I know with hard work I'll eventually progress.

I've been averaging 90 minutes a night on Fallout 4 - which has been excellent.

Imbolc is fast approaching!  I'm thinking:
   - Cheese plate focusing on sheep cheeses, e.g. soft cheeses, manchego; also seeds and dried fruit
   - Poppy seed cake
   - Irish lamb stew with likely potatoes, onions, parsnips/carrots
   - Mulled mead
   - Taking guesses on what the next month's weather will be like based on walks around in nature
   - Lighting candles

I've been experimenting with having more energy for things during the day - I'm drinking lots of tea, but having about 5 hours a night when I have very full, intellectually taxing days, is not quite enough.  I started taking a 'doctor formulated' energy pill, basically an energy drink in extended release form (various B vitamins, caffeine, guarana, etc).  I'll make a final report on it after I've taken it for several weeks.

Monday, January 4, 2016

On Into 2016

Well, the New Year has begun.  I started it out by finishing Jack London's "The Iron Heel" - not bad overall, but a little too preachy for my tastes, not enough focus on stories.  Too much explaining.  The ending is great, though, I will say that much.

Anyhow... back to work.  Yay.  Luckily, I'm mostly overseeing other people so that leaves ample time to study, read stuff, watch lectures, work on resolutions...

Alas, two things that I really must get out of the way to liberate myself from their constant pressure is the TAR wars presentation and my COPD presentation.

Resolutions wise, today is the first day to start strong -
Restart exercises - hopefully will get on that tonight
Duolingo streak - 95 days and counting, did two new German lessons today
Shutterfly album - I can work on that after these presentations...
Reading books - Finished Jack London, now for For Whom The Bell Tolls, methinks
Cardiovascular lecture - shouldn't be hard to watch just one of those a week
Continue AAFP, NEJM, BMJ readings - I'll look something up right now!
Violin - ongoing of course, probably going to be ordering some new sheet music.  As a Christmas present, my Mom paid off the rest of the violin, so I am no longer a renter, I own my own instrument!
Computer games - with any luck, these next three weeks I can be so productive at work that I'll be able to devote myself to my games!  Oh, Nick Valentine, I can't wait to converse more with you!
ABFM boards - Enh... that's what resolutions 5 and 6 are supposed to help with - I'll worry about that when I come to it.  My chance of failing is less than 1% even if I took it right now without studying.
Pre-Christian Sabbaths - Imbolc is coming up in a month, time to look up some recipes!   This looks promising: Poppy Seed Cake (No Lemon!) and perhaps an egg-white based cocktail or a white wine sangria, or mulled mead.  And a creamy quiche!

I've been feeling the tug to work on my stories again...  even Red Horizon which stressfully ate up an entire month of my life.  Not sure where I'll find the time to do any of these things... but I have to somewhere!  Balance... if only I didn't need to sleep.  If only I wasn't also trying to abstain from energy drinks.  They sure work well... but they also are so unhealthy.  I'm trying to stick with just tea as my brain booster.  Okay.  I can do this.  I can revise this horrible presentation for the project I'm ridiculously sick of.  Just a little longer.  Gaaaaaaaah!