I spent this past week worrying that my in-laws were going to divorce me. For sure. No getting out of it this time. I do not keep a neat house. There are piles everywhere. Piles of books. Piles of papers. Piles of clean-but-unfolded laundry. Piles of mail. Piles of music. Piles (believe it or not) of instruments. Piles of shoes. Piles of coats (it’s cold these days, but varying degrees of ...

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I just recently attended a meeting where there was a panel discussion on caring for Holocaust survivors. The person who opened the meeting spoke about how she felt inadequate when dealing with this population because she had no personal place of reference -- she had no family members who died during the Holocaust, and so she couldn’t truly understand what the survivors went through. I have a different thought. Although every experience ...

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Recently, my eldest son came home from college for a couple of days. Our home was in perfect harmony and rhythm. The duets (and quartets, if you count us parents) that had played over the prior month-and-a-half were once again trios and quintets. Five or six hands on the piano at a time. The clear brass joining in again with the bright woodwind and the deep bass. The voices in ...

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Responding to a medical student in pain This evening, I read a post written by a woman who finds herself feeling alone, depressed, desperate, and afraid of losing herself as she goes through medical school. This post is my response to that woman. Dear colleague and friend, You are not alone. You are far from home. You are far from your family. You are far from the desert, the open ...

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Doctors talk with their patients about many things that might make some people uncomfortable -- sexual issues, abuse (physical or emotional), anxiety, depression, sleep habits, bowel habits, and fears about health-related topics -- things that many people might not talk about in casual conversation at the coffee shop or at work. Doctors talk with their patients about smoking, weight, eating habits, exercise, seat belt use, helmet use, and a myriad ...

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I recently went to an “admitted student day” with my eldest son at the university he plans to attend in the fall.  On our campus tour, our guide pointed out a block on the ground in the center of campus (which incorporates a symbol of the university) that no one steps on because “stepping on it will cause you to fail your first exam.”  In the winter, it is the ...

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Our privacy is eroding. Some of this erosion is our own fault -- we post to Facebook, Twitter, and other social media with reckless abandon. Some is the nature of modern communication -- electronic trails are just as easy to find as paper trails (if not easier). Some of the privacy erosion really doesn’t bother me so much -- if Target knows that I buy a lot of Cheerios, I’m ...

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I like a lot of things about Facebook. It allows me to see pictures and video of my nephews and niece and of friends’ children, it quickly lets me know when something big (either happy or sad) is going on in people’s lives, it lets me know what people are thinking about, and it gives me the opportunity to share my own news, thoughts, pictures, or occasional videos with others. But as much as ...

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There was a brief scare in our neighborhood this past weekend. Our phone rang. Our friend, who lives nearby, asked if her 12-year-old son was at our house. He wasn’t. The child had been gone for about 15 minutes. Their family had just returned from a shopping trip with a family friend, and that family friend had forgotten one of his items at our neighbors’ house. The child said, “I’ll run ...

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Our 13-year-old woke up feeling lousy two days ago. He had a sore throat and sinus pressure, and felt really tired and generally icky. He didn’t look toxic -- just a little tired. I gave him a zinc lozenge and told him to get ready for school -- a method that generally can tease out exactly how bad one of my kids feels. He just sat at the table. We generally ...

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