Monday, February 27, 2012

Winter holidays and a new discovery

Well I'm back in Buffalo, and we are now officially in the season of Lent.
It occurred to me that I have only been in Buffalo for about two and a half weeks this winter!

Holidays and Remembrances

Sometimes I mark major life events in my memory with the season or holiday they occurred in.  My mother's death will always be tied with Thanksgiving now as she died in the early morning hours after that feast day.  My grandmother died the day after Valentine's Day this year.  And I got married in Lent in 2011. 

I spent Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, my son's birthday, Mardi Gras and Ash Wednesday in Louisiana.

Valentine's Day in Buffalo
Back in snowy Buffalo 
Valentine's Day was spent in Buffalo with my husband, thankfully.

I have logged many travel miles this past season.  But I count myself as a fortunate person to have two such wonderful locales to bounce between.

Holidays in Louisiana with the family
A new blog discovery

I was excited to find an interesting, new blog today--a Penned Point.
Dr. Karen Sullivan Sibert writes from Los Angeles where she is an accomplished anesthesiologist. 

Though she has a glowing educational pedigree, her writing is immediately warm and easy but polished and accessible.  Every post I read grabbed my attention, spoke to me and earned my respect all at once.  These are hallmarks of an outstanding writer!

She writes in a way that weaves in her personal life experiences with her medical expertise and work in such a way that both are valued, respected and brought forward for the reader to learn from and appreciate.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Happy Mardi Gras and 10,000 views!

Fat Tuesday

Happy Mardi Gras everyone from Central Louisiana!
"Laissez les bontemps roulez!"

Note:  Hixson brothers funeral home, where I have been a frequent guest lately, is on Bontemps (trans. good times) St. in Marksville.

NOLA Abita Brewery posted this reveler throwing beads.
Marksville is quiet and warm today.  Half the town is enjoying a day off from work or school and the other half is New Orleans--see below!

The drive thru line at the drive through Daiquiri shop in Marksville is around the side of the building!  Folks are lining up to buy their daiquiris by the gallon!

I'll be heading back to Buff tomorrow, so I'm soaking up the sunshine and warm weather today.

I hit the 10,000 views number today!  Wow, this came fast.  Thanks and keep reading!

Bigger than life!

Throw me something, Mister!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Walking in my mother's shoes

My mother's shoes, my feet, Mac book, & Imperial Stormtrooper
(aka my new iPhone)

Friday I walked in my mother's shoes at my grandmother's funeral.

Really, I wore my mother's Ferragamo shoes -- I left my dress shoes in Buffalo.

My mother died in November and this has been a winter of loss.
I spoke for her and myself at my grandmother's funeral on Friday.

View from the top!

Father Paul says he will come by Tuesday (Mardi Gras) after Mass and we can burn another roux together.
Making another appearance with Fr. Paul
As I prepare for spring and think ahead to summer and PA school this fall.
I can't help to wonder, ask questions and doubt.
What will it be like to be back in school intensely?
Will I love it or hate it or both?

Medical Family

My family are mostly medical folks:
Last count -- we had:
-3 MDs
-a DO
-a nurse anaesthetist (that's tough to spell!)
-a dental student
-a couple vets
-too many RNs to count

My great grandmother Luella Deville Clark (whose crypt is seen here near her daughter's--my grandmother Capitola McCann) was essentially the one who started all this when she encouraged and indeed pushed her grandchildren (my mother and uncles) to go to medical school.
Clark and McCann
Side note:
My mother was in medical school at LSU in New Orleans on a Betty Crocker scholarship in 1958 when she got pregnant for me and decided to not go back and earned her pHd in Biology from CUNY later.

But Mama (our great grandmother who lived to be 99) pushed all her grand children to go into medicine and my mother's youngest brother, Bryan went to LSU medical school as did two of his sons--Shawn and Darron.  Darron practices with his father in Marksville now.  And Shawn is getting ready to move to Australia for a year to work in primary care.
My cousin Shawn-soon to be an Aussie

It's interesting to observe the various personalities and personas that express themselves through these professions when they all get together.  And I wonder sometimes if the personality fits the profession or if other avenues had been available to some of my family at the time if they would have embraced those aspects of the medical profession.

Mausoleum where my great grandparents & grandmother are.
Those "what have I done feelings" surface at times.  And the "why didn't I do this 20 years ago" thoughts, too.
Oh well...

Sealing my grandmother's crypt
Uncle Bryan, cousins Corey and Darron-2 Docs & a Vet

Aunt Ceil

Lilly, Lilah and Shawn

Friday, February 17, 2012

Louisiana names

Last night at Hixson brothers funeral home in Marksville, LA, I met two sons of a friend of my grandmother's at her wake.
Dick worked for and with my grandmother and with me for many decades, and these were two of his adult sons.

What's in a name

The older son introduced himself as June and his younger brother as Fabian "The Baby."

Me:  "So June, How did your parents select the name "June" for you?"

He replied:  "Well, I'm Dick Junior.  So June is for Junior."

Me:  "Okay, makes sense now!"

Me:  Feeling somewhat silly....going to the funeral now.

Where Marksville is.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Back to Louisiana...again.

Quick turn around here. 

Buffchic back to LaChic tomorrow

My grandmother, Capitola McCann, passed away this afternoon.

Heading back to Effie, LA tomorrow morning early.

She was 93. 
She gave up her desire to continue when my mother, her only daughter, died the day after Thanksgiving.  I was very close to my grandmother.  She taught me to cook and gave me a strong work ethic and a lot of coping skills. 

I'm very glad now that we took her out of the nursing home and kept her at my mother's home in Effie at Christmas time for three weeks.  She was still able to eat at that time and I made her plenty of gumbos, banana puddings, and berry cobblers to stimulate her appetite.

I am glad that I was there with her this past week as well. 

Writing a thank you note for your interview.

So do you write a thank you note or email after completing your PA school interview?
To write or not to write...

Is it always a good thing to do?  Or is it, as my mother would have said, "de rigeur", i.e. a must, a virtual requirement?

Certainly this is an individual decision that each applicant will handle as suits their personality.

But my take on it is why pass up an opportunity to express your sincere gratitude when completing this important step in your application process?  Just as we write hand written thank you's to our grandmothers and Aunt Susie's for birthday and graduation gifts, so should we cordially extend our gratitude to our superiors as they extend us the chance to educate ourselves professionally.

How to write the "thank you":

When writing your thank you note, keep these guidelines in mind:
  • Choose an understated card or stationery piece
  • Establish a professional tone
  • Write legibly (skip the heart over the i this time!)
  • Write simply and sincerely
  • Be brief and to the point
  • Send your letter or note immediately following your interview while your impression is still fresh in the mind of your interviewer
  • Close with a "sincerely," "best regards," or other professional closing and your best signature

Here are a couple of forum posts and links on this topics that I found helpful:

Thank you note for interviews discussed on

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day everyone.

Here are some of my favorite pictures with my Valentine, David, at our wedding.

In my friend Preston's 1929 Cadillac

At the altar at St. Jame's Episcopal Church

Wedding feet

Our wonderful photographer Jordan Bush, who we were so fortunate to find, is uber talented!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Outliers, Bald Eagles and Back to Buffalo

Well, it's back to Buffchic.
I have bounced back to Buffalo where it is snowy and cold.

Bald Eagles in Pointe Coupee Parish

I did see the two bald eagles at the Morganza spillway on my way to the airport yesterday morning.  They were in their new nest.
Perhaps this pair of bald eagles are outliers now, having constructed their new nest closer to the road --though probably not for our viewing pleasure. 
Morganza Spillway. Bald eagle nests in trees to top left of this photo

Spring arriving in Louisiana

Note to self:  plan next trip back to Louisiana ASAP where Spring is arriving.

Evidence of spring in Louisiana:

Strawberries were for sale in the backs of pick up trucks along HWY 190 going into Baton Rouge last week.  Crawfish are showing up on in restaurants and seafood markets.  Mardi Gras balls are mostly wrapped up.
Buds are out on the trees--hope we don't get another frost before Easter.


I finished reading Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell on the plane.  Absolutely riveting book.  What a fabulous writer Gladwell is.  I want to read What the Dog Saw next.

I read the chapter on the Korean Air disasters and how they solved the communication issues that contributed to the layers of pilot error that contributed to their multiple crashes back in the 90s.

Fascinating reading while aloft!

It makes you realize that though you may have thought that your safe arrival at the next airport depended on the training and skill of your pilot, it more accurately may rest on the communication styles of the pilot, first officer and flight engineer and how their successful communication amongst themselves and the ATC depends on their cultural backgrounds and unique personalities.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Owen's 19th Birthday - Gumbo Dinner

I made a duck and sausage gumbo yesterday for my son Owen's birthday.  We had some homemade file (pronounced fee-lay) powder on the gumbo.  So good!
As before, my Uncle Bryan seen here behind Owen supplied the ducks for the gumbo.
Owen blows out his candles.

I didn't burn the roux this time! 
File powder-ground Sassafras leaves

Father Paul stopped by to say hello Thursday night and supervised my gumbo  cooking.


We played a rousing game of Rook.  Rook is our family card game of choice.  My great grandparents (Mama and Papa) were the starters of this card game in our family, and we continue their legacy as we recount their card playing antics while we play. In our family, we count cards, keep score and get pretty darn serious about our victories and defeats.  I took a beating at Rook on this evening by my aunt and uncle.  My final score was negative forty.

Vintage Rook cards
We actually buried my great grandmother, Luella Delilah Deville Clark, with Rook cards in her hand.  Yes, really!  She loved the game that much. 
We gave her the best hand in the game and positioned her hand as if she were throwing out the Rook card on her first play of the game.
Rook cards

Me and Owen

Buffchic endorses "Slap Yo Mama" Louisiana seasoning but uses Tony's

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Pictures: sometimes reality is funnier than a comedy!

We took this picture to sell this chest protector on Ebay and noticed Odette snuck into the photo!
Dave's cheesecake snow shovel pose.  Maybe I will like snow......

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Accepted again!

I just got my second acceptance to physician assistant school!


How wonderful to have choices!

Birds sighted in Louisiana.

Majestic bald eagle.  This is a BIG BIRD!
I have seen three bald eagles in the last two days, here in central Louisiana and two painted buntings.

I saw a bald eagle right in town in Marksville, LA.  Couldn't believe it!  This sighting was confirmed by my aunt and uncle, experienced wild life spotters. (I would not have trusted  my identification of this bald eagle in between two houses in Marksville, but we confirmed it with binoculars.)

Then I saw two bald eagles at the Morganza spillway.  One sitting in the nest and the other in a tree nearby.  They have apparently built a new second nest there closer to the road.  (The "old" larger nest that I used to see them in is still present in a large tree a couple hundred yards from the road.)

I think wife-eagle told her mate that she wanted a bigger kitchen and they built a new nest!

Painted Bunting: one gaudy bird:

Painted bunting
Then the day before I saw two painted buntings in one day at my bird feeder at Effie.  I hadn't had the privilege of seeing one of these brightly colored guys in about 15 years.  And then I saw two in one day--outstanding!  These birds are known to be a bit shy and not commonly seen at feeders--more commonly sighted in the woods or open fields.

I think the Painted Bunting looks like what a kindergartener would paint if you gave him a broad brush and some poster paints in primary colors and said to him, "now paint a bird."

P.S. I saw another painted bunting this morning at Effie!  A personal world record for me!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Name Game: What is a PA?

JAAPA is sponsoring a question of the month as part of their 25th anniversary celebration.

The JAAPA question for February:

"What is a PA? Write a description or a definition for the world at large."
The JAAPA editorial board will choose the best entry, and the writer will receive a one hundred dollar gift card.

The Question

This question brings up many interesting issues.

One of the first to come to mind is they asked for a definition of a PA, not a physician assistant or a physician associate.  So which one are we?  And which one do we intend or want to be in the future?  I suppose we could call this the old "what's in a name game."

A physician assistant or a physician associate?  Yale's PA program is the Yale Physician Associate Program.
An early definition of the PA profession is offered here from Yale's page on the "History of the Profession."
"The physician assistant, who was initially viewed as a physician substitute, was trained to provide medical care to rural and other medically underserved populations with physician supervision."
I really like this site on the History of the PA Profession, the Physician Assistant History Society.  Interestingly the PAHx site, describes the history of the profession in stages much like one may describe the Ice Age, the Iron Age and so on.  They delineate 2011-present as the Maturation Period.  So the profession is perhaps emerging from its formative years and coming into its own  maturation.  This seems particularly appropriate as we approach this new era of healthcare reform that will bring so many new recipients of healthcare into our care in the next several years.

Here is how the AAPA site defines PA:

Physician assistants are healthcare professionals who are authorized by the state to practice medicine as part of a team with physicians.
PA Profession Image

I like this.  PAs are part of a team with physicicans.  This seems to offer a clear definition to the healthcare consumer that defines the PA as working together with their physician to care for the patient.  It is a subtle but important difference from saying that the PA works under the supervision of the physician.

I think "physician assistant" is where we have been and "physician associate" is where we are headed--our future.

An evolving definition
AAPA Conference Invite

How will the PA profession define themselves in this new era?  Part of this certainly remains to be seen as the profession will surely take on a more substantial and influential role as our nation's health providers and part will be determined by how we define ourselves and advocate for our profession.

Who are we?*

Then there is the interesting issue of "Wow, it's the 25th anniversary of JAAPA and we are still defining who we are!"

This shows how long it takes to make a notice on the collective landscape of the public perception of a profession.  And perhaps, more importantly, it reveals that our profession is still in its infancy and that we still have the ability to shape and mold our public identity for the betterment of the profession.

PAs representing themselves to the public

On my flight leaving Buffalo a couple of days ago, I overheard a conversation between a very upbeat gentleman (who by the way--politely put my bag in the overhead bin for me) explaining to the lady in the seat next to him what a PA is and what he does.  He was doing his part for the profession!
This tee shirt brings up a host of implications that would be a whole different post

Which brings up another observation. Are our doctors overworked?

I have rarely, if ever, met or witnessed a PA who did not feel positively about what they do and their profession.
Not sure that I can say the same for physicians.  Is this because MDs are feeling beaten down by regulations, managed care and the increasingly heavy duty of how to actualize their ideals with their everyday practice?  I do not pretend to know the answer to this question.  But ponder it.
Gasoline Alley addresses the PA solution.

So let's go out there and let the public know WHO WE ARE!  Each one, reach one, teach one.

Check out this site:
Physician Associate:  A change whose time has come.


Please note that though I am not a PA yet, for the purposes of this article I have used "the voice" of "our profession" for simplicity's sake and because I already count myself as an advocate for the profession that I am becoming a student of and will be a part of in a few years.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Deja Blue!

Eli and the G-men pull off another stunning Super Bowl victory!

New York Giants Super Bowl Champs