It was a slow day today, but that was nice, especially since it’s the last weekend before returning to work. We lazed around for much of the day today, although we did manage to get in some Wii playing early this afternoon. I did some chores at home, and started reading Walter Isaacson’s Einstein. I was looking for something to read and Kelly was watching the movie IQ, which reminded me that I had the book and I hadn’t read it yet.
Spoke to Rich today, the first time I’ve had an extended conversation with him since he got back from Iraq. He sounds good. He is in Upland right now with Tricia and the kids, and he will be there until November 1st, when he heads back to Texas.
There was a pleasant breeze today and I had the screen door and front windows open to enjoy it. As the breeze picked up, this created a wind tunnel and the house became a virtual disaster with paper flying about here and there, and a clock falling off the counter. Much to my dismay, I had to close the screen door.
Sarah and Jim came over this evening and we headed to Alexandria (Old Town) for dinner. We ate at a tiny place called Trattoria Da Franco and it was actually very good. I had an excellent linguini al pesto dish, along with some wine. It was a small place and we were placed at a small table, but I enjoyed the atmosphere of it. Afterward, we went back to the house and the four of us played Wii for a few hours.
I got an email from Rich this morning, telling me he’d made it safely to Balad, north of Baghdad. He is a Major in the U.S. Air Force and this is his first tour in Iraq. He is working at the hospital there as a trauma surgeon.
I’ve known Rich since our first days at U.C. Riverside together. He got his bachelor’s degree at UCR, and then went on to get his Master of Public Health and M.D. After that, he did a 5 year surgery residency at St. Agnes hospital in Baltimore (where, for a while, I saw a lot more of him, his wife, Tricia, and his two kids). I attended his graduation from his surgery residency a few years ago. He moved back to L.A. and did a one-year laproscopic surgery fellowship at USC. He joined the Air Force while still in his residency. Once he was done with his fellowship, he started up in the Air Force full-time, attended officer training and was stationed at a hospital in Texas until his recent deployment.
Rich will be in Balad for the next 4 months or so. He is the first of my friends to join the service and be deployed to Iraq (Doug was in the Army but was lucky enough to stay state-side). As I said, he’ll be there working as a trauma surgeon, a kind of Hawkeye Pierce in the ongoing conflict there. He said that they arrived there in full combat gear, but I think he was able to change out of that pretty quickly. I hope his stay there will be a safe and uneventful one.
Rich and Tricia (dear friends from college) celebrate their 11th wedding anniversary today. I was Rich’s best man in their wedding (the second time I’d performed that duty) and going back to my diary entry from 11 years ago today, it is one the longest entries that I’ve got, taking up nearly 4 pages of small print. (It was the first Catholic wedding I’d ever been to, the services of which are notoriously long, and so perhaps my diary mirrored the wedding in that respect.)
I can’t believe that it’s been 11 years! It means that this coming September, I will have known Rich and Tricia (and Dan and Megan) for 17 years! Incredible!
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, GUYS!
I can sleep in until 5:30 AM tomorrow because I don’t have my workout until tomorrow afternoon. But rather than waste my evening away watching TV, I decided to get to bed early, and read while I finish up some laundry.
I got a rare email from Rich today. He was congratulating me on selling a story to INTERGALACTIC MEDICINE SHOW. He sounds like he and Tricia and the kids are doing well. He reports to officer’s training in the Air Force at about the same time I head off on my summer vacation. I’ve got to call him soon so that we can catch up.
Lots of mail today, T-Mobile bill, stuff from the Oriole’s reminding me that Fan Fest is on April 1 (April Fool’s day), and a “thank you” from Comcast for being a customer. It came suspiciously on the heels of a notice that they would be raising their rates soon. According to the note, they know I have a choice in providers and they thanked me for choosing Comcast. Okay.
Another busy day tomorrow. I’m doing what I can to avoid having to work this weekend. Don’t know whether I’ve been successful along those lines yet.
It was approximately 16 years ago today that I first met Dan and Shannon and Rich and Tricia, when I moved into the D1-East hall of the Aberdeen-Inverness dorm at U. C. Riverside. If I was a newborn on the day that we all met, I would be about to get my drivers license today!
In a similar note, it was approximately 19 years ago today that I first met strausmouse and Andy at Former President Grover Cleveland Humanities “School Without Walls” Magnet High School. (I think I met Norm and Lisa a little later, and I first met AJ more than a year later). Who would have thought that 19 years later, both Eric and I would be living on the East coast, and that Norm would be living in Nanuet, right around the corner from where my Grandparents lived for 30 years?
I received word this morning that Tricia’s dad, Ed, passed away on August 19 after a year-long battle with pancreatic cancer. I hadn’t heard from Rich or Tricia since they headed back to Southern California after Rich’s graduation from his surgery residency, but I had email from Tricia this morning with this sad news.
I left work a little early yesterday so that I could get up to Baltimore for Rich’s graduation from the St. Agnes’ residency program in surgery. Rich completed 5 years of the residency program, and was one of three chief residents who graduated this year.
Rich’s mom was in town for the graduation, as were Tricia’s mom and dad.
The graduation itself was held at the Maryland Club, a private club in downtown Baltimore of the type featured in the 1980’s Eddie Murphy movie Trading Places. Inside the club was rather sumptuous. Lots of dark mohagany, and animals heads lined the walls. There was an open bar. Most of the people attending (perhaps 150 people) were doctors and their spouses.
The graduation dinner lasted from 7:30 until about 11 PM. It included speeches by all three of the chief residents. Ironically, the two other chief’s were both woman and got through their speeches barely shedding a tear. Rich, on the otherhand, who spoke last, grew quite emotional, but he deserved it because he worked incredibly hard to get that far. I was honored just to be there.
Incidentally, Rich and Tricia headed back to L.A. today after more than 5 years in Baltimore. Rich was accepted into a one year laproscopy fellowship at USC, after which he will be serving 3-1/2 years in the United States Air Force as a surgeon.
Rich, Tricia, Gabby and Rich, Jr. came by at about 1:30 PM and picked me up. Rich’s mom was in town too, as was his newphew, and we headed to the metro station and then downtown. They wanted a quick tour and that’s what we did: The Mall, a few exhibits at the Musuem of American History, the World War II Memorial. By that time, the wind was picking up and the kids were getting tired, so we headed over to Union Station and had dinner at Capital City Brewery. They dropped me off back here at home about 20 minutes ago. It was fun, and it was good to see them. They’re heading back to L.A. this summer because Rich got a laproscopy fellowship at USC, so I’m glad I got to see them before they head back.
Mom called me while I was downtown and told me that she got her new MacBook today. I called her back when I got home this evening to get some more details.
SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, THE NEW YORKER, and AOPA PILOT all arrived in the mail today and I am so far behind on all of them, but especially SCIAM that it’s really embarassing to think about.