Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ridiculously Cute Knitted Thingees

We got the most delightful package from my sister, containing two pairs of fingerless gloves (smoker's mittens?, iPhone-adapted-winter-wear?)

Dark green heather for Alexis and knobbly-lacy leaf green for me. We hold hands a lot while we're wearing them. In fact, we were holding hands and walking through our still-snowy neighborhood when we saw this outside the local yarn store:

The knitting actually goes a lot higher - pretty much as far as their needles could reach.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

The Three Feet of Ought Ten

This has been the most beautiful welcome back to the East coast. Three fluffy, beautiful feet of snow fell in about 24 hours - stopping the hustle, the bustle, and covering the city in the deepest fall since 1922. Alexis stayed downtown on Friday night to get to her shift, and was going to stay again in order to be there by 7am. But no, my doctor slogged through 3.5 miles of slush and ice and snow to get home to me - and did it all again this morning to be back at work by seven. The dogs and I went to meet her:

One thing to know about dogs - they will always take the easy they can be seen shuffling along in a pre-formed track. Earlier in our walk, we came upon strangers and the dogs fell quite happily between them, satisfied to let anybody clear the way.

Today the sky is bright blue and the sun in starting to melt the slush. In an hour I'll head downtown to see the carnage.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Good Lord! The snow is coming!

There has been a week-long buildup to this storm. A-bert went in early today for an evening shift and will stay at the Mariott downtown so that she won't have to risk the roads tomorrow morning. The rest of us are home, and now the snow is finally starting to come. We're in the attic, watching documentaries on Netflix and gathered around the heater.

There are five creatures in this picture - can you find them?

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Davidge Hall

The Museum of Public Works has tragically closed due to budget constraints, so we spent the afternoon poking around Davidge Hall - the first and oldest continuously used medical school building in the US. Here were the highlights:

The acoustically phenomenal dissection chamber...if you stand in the very center of the room, your own voice is reflected back from every surface of the peeling and coffered ceiling. I stood in the center and listened to myself sigh dramatically and snap my gum obnoxiously. It was annoying. I annoyed myself.

What happened in the dissection chamber? Dissection, of course. According to contemporary letters from school deans, the janitor was a top-notch body snatcher, "as handy with a spade as with any broom." This janitor was *so* good, the dean offered to send cadavers up and down the East coast for the mere cost of $50. That money went more towards shipping materials than for handling fees -- after all, it took GALLONS AND GALLONS of WHISKEY to pickle the bodies, and a STURDY BARREL to ship them in.
This is one of the actual barrels, on display next to a desiccated and uncapped body in a dusty corner of the third floor of the oldest medical education building in the nation.
Actually, this corner room is where students would cluster around the mummified corpses - it's a tiny room, I can't imagine cramming together by candlelight over these bodies.

Here's the thing...this kind of behavior was considered as reprehensible then as it is today. Doctors, and especially those doctors studying, I don't know, treppaning techniques, by stealing, pickling, and then desecrating Great Aunt Mary (and frequently RE-SELLING THE PICKLING WHISKEY to make back some of the money) were vilified in general opinion and occasionally mobs would storm the medical school. Davidge Hall was originally surrounded by high walls, and included this hidden circular staircase that acted as a secret passage to get students and faculty out of the dissection hall and out the back door. Here, a modern-day doctor recreates these tense moments: