Greetings, all! Today is my half-birthday. When's yours? Hope you all had a fun October 31st! The pic above is of the pumpkin I carved (and H designed) sort-of last minute last night, so I called it the "quick & dirty pumpkin." It also happens to be white (my personal favorite), which in my opinion is much scarier than your average orange variety. He was only out for one night, but that didn't stop us from ooh-ing and aah-ing outside over it with iPhones and cameras in hand, taking pictures in the dim evening light. It was pretty gross taking out the innards, I'll admit, because the inside is white-greenish, so it basically looks like snot.
Yesterday was fun hanging out with the family for a few hours. Laura & Jim introduced me to their new measure to stop smoking: the e-cigarette. The tip glows red when the user sucks on it, and they blow out a vapor that is just nicotine and water, basically. The "filters" contain the nicotine, which you can gradually step down. I think it's neat because there's no smell, it gradually pulls you away from the feeling of a real cigarette, and (in my opinion) the mind's memory of the smell of cigarette smoke is probably diminished over time, creating less association between the reward of a ciggy and the smell of smoke. Bravo, aunt & uncle!
Mom, Lukas and I visited Erik's grave yesterday, and it struck me as mildly ironic that the first time I would come back to visit Erik's grave would be on Halloween. His grave marker isn't finished yet, so right now he has a temporary marker of marble that incorrectly spells out his birth date as "September 21, 1969". Boy, Erik would have loved that, to be born in the 60s-70s! (He was born in 1989.) They're working on the replacement though, while we wait for his beautiful permanent one. He has a gorgeous bouquet of flowers my mom picked out, too!
Somewhere inside of me, when logic and practicality fall away, believes that Erik (or any soul, for that matter) would chuckle at the thought of us placing so much weight and importance on the body of a person after they are gone. He probably feels freer than ever, that his body in particular was a prison of inadequacies. He probably wonders what all the fuss is about this shell of a thing that is not really him. The real him is an amazing, intangible summation of energy+matter we physical beings cannot comprehend, or see. Well, we can see them, alright, just not with our eyes.
In any event, this week is both scary and eventful because on Wednesday I have my first preceptor "experience" in the trauma department, and Thursday is the big Webber Prize poster competition, in which I will present my research poster (pics to follow soon) to faculty and judges, competing for a $500 first-place prize. In reality, I probably will not win, but it will be fun to participate, like I'm a real researcher, or something! ;)