My New Kitchen Table- Another Woodworking Project

This will probably be the last project for a while.  It’s getting colder out and the garage isn’t heated…
I also have to re-certify for my internal medicine boards this spring.  Time to hit the books!
I hated our old kitchen table.  And by old, I mean old.  It was left in the house by the previous owners.  It was really wobbly. Its chairs kept breaking, and we were down to two.  Here it is:
Hmmm.  That’s an old picture.  I don’t typically have a cat walking on my table.  Especially that cat.  He died last year.  Anyway, when we took the table to the dump, we saw that the previous owners had nailed plywood to the bottom of the table to hold it together.  Apparently, at some point, I had also shimmed it with my business cards (I KNEW they’d come in handy!!!).  Clearly, the table was on its way out.
I wanted a large table.  I also wanted benches for two reasons: 
1) When not in use, we could slide them out of the way under the table so that there would be more free space, and 2) The table is near the garage entrance (the entrance that we use).  Jackets get slung over the backs of the chairs.  Bags get thrown on the seats of the chairs.  Before long, they are so covered in crap that they look like a big mound of junk.
Soooo, here we go!  My new Farmhouse Table with Matching “Nesting” Benches!
Plans again from Ana White.
I’m totally happy with how this came out.  I used kiln-dried pine.  The finish was 2 coats of Minwax Red Oak stain and 4 coats of polyurethane.  It’s really sturdy and I think it will stand up well to the abuse from the kids.  It’s also incredibly heavy.  Really, really heavy. If you make this, don’t drop it on your foot.
So that’s it for now.  Like I said, this is the last project, at least until after I take the boards!  Oh, by the way, I SWEAR that it’s just coincidence that the same bulb is blown out in the picture from a few years ago and the current pictures.  Really.  I swear, I’ve changed that bulb.  You believe me, right???

Without saying a word, she taught a generation of physicians.

I first read The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down while in medical school.  If you’ve never read this incredible book, go out and get it RIGHT NOW.

It is the story of Lia Lee, the child of Hmong immigrants living in the Sacramento area.  Lia had her first seizure as an infant.  Her parents spoke no English.  Their view of illness and disease was unlike anything Lia’s doctors had ever seen before- leading to a culture clash that eventually culminated in a massive seizure in 1987, when Lia was four years old.  That seizure caused permanent brain damage, and Lia lived for the next 26 years in a persistent vegetative state.

She died on August 31.  Her death was first widely reported today, via an obituary in the New York Times.

This book is required reading in many medical schools, as it well should be.  It provides amazing insight for dealing with patients from different cultures who have different views of health, sickness, and disease.  Its lessons came in handy many, many times while I was working in the melting pot of New York City.  I continue to use those skills in my practice today.

RIP, Lia.  The sacrifice of you and your family will not be forgotten.



I apologize for the recent lack of blog content.  Things have been busy.  Work’s been busy, family life has been busy, and I even managed to slip in a quick vacation down to NYC.
Matthew turned 3.
We got in lots of beach time.
Lots of ice cream was eaten. 
I remember back when I was a new parent, I naively thought that it would get easier as the kids got older.  Well, in some ways it does.  We get more sleep now.  There are no more diaper changes.  However, in many ways, it gets harder.  All of the sudden, Alex has after school activities.  He has homework.  I mean, I can’t believe that I have a kid in kindergarten!  
It does sometimes get hard to balance work and motherhood.  It’s especially difficult when work tends to run into evenings and weekends.  That’s how I ended up with this scene in my office this past Saturday:
Alex had soccer.  Patrick is one of his team’s coaches.  And I had to work.  That left Matthew to hang out in my office while I saw patients.  A donut and an iPad work well to bribe a child to stay quiet!