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i got a little more comfortable…

…with the Pacific Ocean on Thursday. (I’m not sure why it has taken me so long to post about it. Silly me.)

The drive from NSI down La Jolla Shores Dr. was a beautiful, winding journey, with a view of the ocean that I failed to capture on film but that is unlikely to leave my memory soon. Parking my (the Smith’s) Mustang under a palm tree and walking to a beach littered with surf boards and bonfires/cookouts embodied my most California-y experience here to date. Besides that traffic the other evening.

It was great to observe the various amalgamations of families and friends: those high school kids who I regrettably used to be (except they are much better off because their hangout is the beach), new parents introducing their child to the sea, that father who plays sports with the kids (in this case a lovely, portly, young dad who managed to turn soccer into a chase game, resulting in many a squeal from his daughters and nieces), and my favorite: countless duos of father-son surfers.

All that camaraderie warmed my heart but also made me feel pretty lonely, to be honest. I’ve been trekking to all these really great places that are relaxing when alone but they merit the company of someone close to you. On a scale of one to lonely, I was almost desperate enough to walk over to one of the cookouts and introduce my hungry self with the line, “Hi, I’m Genna. I’m new here. From Jersey. Not as bad as it seems. Anything you suggest I do in SD besides eat this hot dog and ear of corn?”

I withheld my urge and instead took to the sea again, this time motivated to take a memento or two. When I visited Torrey Pines Glider Port, I decided that I was going to collect something from each new place I visited this summer. Unfortunately for my luggage, this decision has amounted to a growing collection of (really sweet, neverbeforeseen) rocks. And one royal blue zipper pull that I almost threw back in the ocean until I realized that a seagull was probably going to eat it if I didn’t take it. And I kind of wanted it. And now I have it.

Oh, one more thing: after the beach, I finally went to an In-N-Out Burger! It didn’t quite live up to its name due to the length of the drive-thru line, but it surely lived up to its reputation. I got a Double-Double, Animal Style (on the secret menu), with a side of fries (ketchup too!) and chocolate shake. In retrospect, I really did not need that shake and I certainly did not need the ketchup for the fries. I said “Sure” when the cashier offered it to me because I am usually a fan of the condiment and always a fan of something to dip my fries in, but after employing the ketchup for its intended purpose, I realized that these fries were just too good to be tainted with Heinz. Away with the ketchup packets!

Excuse me while I ingest this bucket full of health.

One last thing: I’m going to include a song in this post that makes me feel better whenever I hear it, off an album that makes me feel better whenever I hear it. It is one of the only CDs from my adolescent period that I insist on keeping. I have kept a bunch of the music, but in terms of owning the physical compact disc, Bleed American is the only one that has persisted. Ladies and gentlemen, Jimmy Eat World’s “Sweetness.”

reresearching (or, finally researching again)

My favorite part of an undergraduate education is doing research for papers. It is the thing I miss most in the summer, so I requested an off-campus VPN log-in so I can get my research fix whenever and wherever I want, as long as I have my laptop. That “Proud to Be a Nerd” moment aside, yesterday, my computer at NSI was set up with access to journal articles abound and I was able to dig for information about infant neural development, cortisol levels, stress in the NICU, infant perception of music, etc. etc. If only Rob Haley could see me now. He is Haverford’s Interlibrary Loan (ILL)  librarian who has definitely written a poem or two to cope with how often I request articles.

Yesterday at Children’s, Dr. Knight gave me the task of perusing through the data input program to familiarize myself with its format to speed up the process of entering data when the study actually gets underway. After this task, Abbie, Dr. Knight’s assistant, gave me a PowerPoint document that included a lot of info about the NICU to help me get a better grasp about how RCHSD’s NICU is set up.

Finally, I gave myself the assignment of looking through all of the various heart conditions that plague infants, neatly described on this website for parents and Wikipedia. I’ve been keeping notes while at the hospital of little snippets of doctorspeak to look up when I get to a computer again in hopes of picking up some of their language. I’m finally getting there with some of the acronyms, as observed in native speakers with sentences like, “This one is SGA* with PDA** and needs ECMO*** stat.” (This sentence does not refer to any baby in particular, and I’m not even sure if ECMO would be needed for a patient with PDA, but I’m learning the nouns and adjectives first, okay? I’m getting there.)

*SGA – small for gestational age

**PDA – patent ductus arteriosis, a heart problem that results from a failure of the ductus arteriosus (a blood vessel connecting the aorta and the pulmonary arteries in fetuses) to close, resulting in a mixing of oxygen-rich and oxygen-poor blood and strain on the lung arteries and the heart

***ECMO – extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, essentially a heart-lung machine

please don’t stop the music

Soon, I will post a rundown of my first week on the job, pictures from my first intimate moments with the Pacific Ocean, and a bunch of interesting facts from the reading I’ve been doing, but for now, I need to vent a little bit.

At Wednesday’s NSI lunch, I had the pleasure of meeting Carol Krumhansl, a psychology professor at Cornell who does work in music cognition and knows Marilyn Boltz! Towards the end of lunch, we exchanged information because she had been talking about a performance at UCSD.  It was going to include a simultaneous performance of John Cage’s 45′ for a speaker and his 27’10.4554″ for a percussionist, called 51’15.657″ for a speaking percussionist. I decided to leave NSI and go home for a quick dinner before returning to UCSD for 7:00. I figured that leaving NSI at 5:00 would give me enough time to do this.

Unfortunately, San Diego rush hour traffic lengthened what would have been a 20 minute drive to 90 minutes. I called Professor Krumhansl with my regretful apology because I was certainly not going to make it to this performance. It would have been my first exposure to John Cage in the live setting! And I am sure it was going to spark an interesting conversation with Krumhansl about rehearsing this piece which employs both music and language because she brought that up at lunch. During our short phone exchange, we decided to keep in touch about future performances of interest, so I hope that I learn to navigate the traffic and my schedule well enough by then to follow through with my attendance.

I took a picture of the traffic from my car but the angle is kind of weird so here is this one from the New York Times website. It is pretty lovely to burn an unwieldy amount of gas while chillin’ in a highway standstill. But funnily enough, traffic jams never bothered me before because I was never in the driver’s seat. Often, I’d be too busy reading a book or acting as car DJ to notice. In fact, I often preferred these longer car rides so I could get that many more pages read or that much farther down the playlist. Not so when you’re the driver. And as for music, all I had was the radio today, so I was listening to all of the San Diego versions of New York stations, shouting “oh oh ohoh oh-oh, oh my god.”

And all of this came the day after another failed attempt at attending a concert due to my age. “San Diego’s Best Live Venue,” The Belly Up,  is 21+, and they were host to (what I’m sure was) a great show Wednesday evening. On my first day at NSI, Ani informed me of a music therapy benefit concert that several of his co-workers were attending. After reading the artist descriptions on the invitation, I grew even more interested. Alas, if the event were one week later, I would have been able to attend.

At least I just downloaded this new mash-up album from Major Lazer and La Roux called “Lazerproof.” It adds something new to my musical arsenal after this week’s upsets.

day one

So much about which to blog. So little energy left. So I’ll give a quick rundown.

Today marked my official first day of work at the Neurosciences Institute. Finally, NSI has become a place where living, breathing people do incredible science instead of a series buildings that had been entering my dreams on an increasingly regular basis.

Although I included a nearly identical photograph in an earlier entry about the Institute, this picture was taken with my camera.

Upon arrival, I had some lunch (catered by NSI, tasty, intended to encourage interdepartmental dialogue) with Dr. John Iversen, one of Ani’s colleagues and the second researcher involved with this summer’s NICU project. Towards the end of lunch, Ani met up with me and we ventured to Rady Children’s Hospital to meet with Dr. Gail Knight. The three of us went over some of the more logistical things regarding the study, and then Ani and I returned to NSI. I got acclimated to my office, and that was pretty much it for day one. Today, it became clearer than ever the degree of intelligence that will surround me this summer. I’m already honored.

After work, I took an extremely congested route to join UCSD’s gym and it took me approximately thirty-five minutes in rush hour traffic. Upon arrival, the receptionist told me a much easier way to get there: drive two blocks. Thanks, GPS. Your system may have succeeded at positioning me globally, but it lacked efficiency, to say the least. Stressed, frustrated, and a little stir crazy from the car (I need to get used to the amount of time I’m going to spend in a vehicle), I went to the Torrey Pines Glider Port.

Before I left the house this morning, Penny suggested that I go there, and this suggestion was seconded and thirded by  gentlemen at lunch. I sat down, read, and slowly ate my dinner (avocado, tomato, mozzarella, caramelized onion sandwich on baguette bread). There is nothing like an hour and a half of listening to the ocean while watching the sun pierce the clouds to relax you. It was a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Pacific Ocean. Hopefully next time we can get a little more intimate.

I would say that my destress period was perfect, save for one detail. I didn’t have headphones and could not listen to the music that I craved: Sigur Ros.

When I finally returned home, I was catching Jay and Penny up on my adventures when the phone rang. One of their lovely family friends called to let me know that PBS was airing a NOVA program called “Musical Minds.” We watched it together; blog entry on the topic to come soon.

don’t worry, be happy (or how i learned to stop worrying and love the food)

The more I read Sapolsky’s book, the more I realize that “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” should be everyone’s theme song or else we are all going to die of stress-related illnesses.

I guess that’s why the song was the first one I listened to after setting up my computer in SD – a hefty combination of reading Sapolsky on the plane and landing in a place with perfect weather and swaying palm trees. My subconscious was like, “Genna, we’re getting this summer off right, and you’re going to be relaxed.” Before I proceed into the intended topic of this post, I want to mention two anecdotes about my experience with “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” and its artist, Bobby McFerrin.

1) Freshman year, I was seeing the Philly-based “Viking vaudeville, manic Gypsy jazz” band Man Man play at their album release show. (Thanks to Wikipedia for the apt description.) After the second opener played, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” came on the loudspeaker. Also at this time, the venue’s management finally kicked on the fans, truly needed at the packed concert. The combination of the song and the fans made me feel a lot better, allowing me to mentally prepare for the headliner. But then “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” played again. And again, ad nauseum. Seriously, eight or so times on involuntary repeat is not the way to enjoy this McFerrin classic. I would not be surprised if it actually caused some audience members to lose their dinner.

2) Bobby McFerrin was one of the panelists of the “Notes and Neurons: In Search of a Common Chorus,” one of the events of the 2009 World Science Festival, joining the stage with host John Scaefer, Jamshed Barucha (current Tufts University Provost and a psychologist who studies cognitive neuroscience and music perception), Daniel Levitin (Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Neuroscience at McGill University whose research on music is widely published), Lawrence Parsons (Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Sheffield). He demonstrates the universality of the pentatonic scale with an audience demonstration that I watch at least once a month because it is so cool.

And now a return to stress eating…

Sapolsky describes that stress effects food consumption, fat distribution, the health of the gastrointestinal tract, and ulcer formation. All things considered, he paints a pretty grim picture, one that I will try to summarize here.

Stress  makes two-thirds of people hyperphagic, marked by increased eating during periods of stress, and one-third of people hypophagic, marked by loss of appetite. Different stressors cause different responses, and these contribute to the demonstrated difference in eating behavior. Also, despite the stress response involving the same hormones regardless of individual, differences in each body’s physiological and psychological reactions to stress contribute to the divide between those who find comfort in an eating frenzy versus those who engage in a self-induced famine.

The first hormone released during the stress response is CRH (corticotropin-releasing hormone); among other things, it is an appetite suppressor. It starts the chemical cascade that results in the release of glucocorticoids, a hormone that stimulates appetite. CRH surges the blood stream within seconds of a stressor, but it takes many minutes for glucocorticoid levels to enter the bloodstream. Also, it takes merely seconds for CRH to be cleared from the bloodstream while glucocorticoids can linger around for hours.  Frequent intermittent stressors, the kind that plague our lives, are the type of stress that most contributes to hyperphagia, so it is understandable that stress-eating has become such a casual part of the cultural vocabulary of food.

Sapolsky offers examples of the factors that contribute to these individual differences. Some people, for example, are glucocorticoid hypersecretors, and they are predisposed to experience hyperphagia after a period of stress. They produce greater levels of glucocorticoids in their bloodstream after experiencing stress as well as a greater preference for sweets. Another factor is an individual’s attitude towards eating. Sapolsky describes literature that shows that “restrained” eaters, or those who are trying to actively diet, are more likely to be hyperphagic. He explains how logical this is: when these individuals are stressed out, they ease up on something that they often keep highly regimented.

More to come on the other topics he covers (body shape, etc.). For now, I’m headed to the beach!

it tastes of california sunshine

I just returned from one of the most fulfilling afternoons for my foodie self at Hillcrest Farmer’s Market, about a 18 minute drive away from my digs here in Scripps Ranch. In this post, I will record my purchases. In the next, I will outline some of the major points Robert Sapolsky makes in Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers about stress and food consumption because although it is not directly relevant to the project with the babies, it resonates with a lot of people nowadays so I figure it worthy for the blog.

My purchases

-4 organic fennel bulbs, for 2 fennel fontina pizzas I’m going to make tomorrow in honor of Penny’s birthday (link is to my food blog, a collaborative effort with Scott Schnur ’10 over the course of the Spring 2010 semester)

-1 container of peanut butter hummus (yes, such a thing exists; so glad the stars aligned that way)

-lots of heirloom zucchini and summer squash for a vegetable lasagna I will also make tomorrow

-1 bunch of organic basil

-6 pluots (plum-apricot hybrid) that my taste buds forced me to buy after trying a sample

-1/2 pound of dried apricots, California style; was turned on to these by Harper Hubbeling ’11 freshman year, who taught me the proper pronunciation and mouthfeel of the dried delicacy; was informed by the saleswoman today that they taste of California sunshine

-2 bunches of candy-striped beets*

-1 container of cilantro-, chile- and garlic-ridden labneh (cannot wait to make sandwiches; yum)

-1 handcrafted ring featuring a stone of which I forget the name (I’ll ask them next time I go, in T-168 hours), fit to size in front of my eyes on a ring stretcher made in 1921

-1 organic iced coffee with soy milk and agave nectar that did not stand a chance against my thirst/fatigue

-1 spicy mushroom/garlic gourmet tamale that did not stand a chance against my hunger (finally, I know what Adam Mayer ’10 has been talking about regarding Mexican food on the West Coast-sorry any other Mexican food I’ve ever eaten; I would have eaten the husk if it were edible, I swear; no more California dreamin’)

-2 green glass tumblers made from recycled wine bottles for Jay ’73 and Penny as a sign of my gratitude, in honor of Penny’s upcoming birthday, and because I wanted to add to their collection of incredible cups (Jay blows glass, see below)

*P.S. In the spirit of eating healthily, not wasting food, and loving to cook things I’ve never cooked before, I asked what to do with radish leaves. The man I asked relayed my question to his son who was about my age who asked first if I was raw, vegan, vegetarian, etc. before he proceeded. His suggestion was to wash the leaves, spread them some tahini, hummus, or nut spread of my choice, pan-fry them, and enjoy. Nom x 1,000,000.

music and the mind

Have you ever heard of the Vienna Vegetable Orchestra? Their website introduces them as a group that performs music solely on instruments made of vegetables, with “carrot flutes, pumpkin basses, leek violins, leek-zucchini-vibrators [??], cucumberophones, and celery bongos.” Sometimes, they even include the noises of kitchen instruments.

Geez, I’m hungry. Good thing I’m going to Hillcrest Farmer’s Market after finishing this post!

Anyway, here is the cover of their album Automate, complete with my favorite vegetable, romanesco (fractal) broccoli. I’ve never eaten this cauliflower relative, but I have been known to call supermarkets when it is in season to see if it happens to be in stock.

Here are some of their instruments:

Cool! I was ignorant to the existence of this musical ensemble before finding a video of a talk by Dr. Patel called called “Music and the Mind.” It is part of a series available on YouTube called Grey Matters: From Molecules to Mind. Ani included the group as an example of how humans are constantly innovating new ways to explore as musical beings. This topic is one of the many interesting remarks made throughout the talk, and I wanted to write on some its highlights as a way to introduce formally the overarching topic that inspired my summer project.

Part IAn introduction

The video starts with an introduction from Dr. Ralph Greenspan of the Neurosciences Institute. He remarks that Ani is a clarinetist and a classical guitarist and that this musical background sparked his interest in the way the brain intersects with music. (I played clarinet and piano throughout my pre-collegiate education and attribute my interest in the field to this musical background!) Greenspan also notes how appropriate it is that, in light of this, Ani works at NSI, which is not only a premier research institution on brain science but also the home to a beautiful performing arts space that offers a plethora of performances throughout the year. Luckily for me, I get to benefit from both of these aspects of NSI, and of Dr. Patel!

Part IIA song is…

Patel’s talk begins with a quotation from Plato circa 400 B.C.: “Rhythm and harmony find their way into the inwards places of the soul…” He reflects that despite this early mention of the real impact that music can have on the individual, the field is only several decades old. He continues to explain some research with which I am vaguely familiar on the physiological manifestations of strong experiences with music, powered by the ventral tegmental area and the nucleus acumbens, brain areas involved in the reward circuit featuring the neurotransmitter dopamine. My Haverford adviser Marilyn Boltz showed me a journal article on this topic when I was planning the syllabus for a Hurford Humanities Center class I co-taught with Jane Holloway ’11 on film music. Ani was focusing on strong experiences with purely instrumental music that was not paired with lyrical or filmic stimuli.

More generally, it is important to consider why music neuroscience is an important field. How is research in the field able to contribute to a scientific understanding of brain mechanisms and humans as a species? Is it anything other than just really awesome? Yes, indeed! And Ani lists several compelling reasons why. He indicates the benefits of the fact that music engages many brain functions, including emotion, memory, learning & plasticity, pattern perception, imagery. Also, music and language are universal and unique to human beings.

You may be like, no, birds sing. Haven’t you heard of parrots? Or the lyrebird? But Ani addresses this point of controversy, pointing out that birdsong tends to be triggerd by hormonal and neuronal changes that happen at certain times of year and in certain contexts, mostly by males who have reached sexual maturity. Humans of both sexes, conversely, are musical from an early age.

It is important to understand how both humans and, for example, parrots are able to produce complex sound patterns based on auditory input, known as vocal learning. Ani explains that this phenomenon also exists in songbirds, hummingbirds, whales, dolphins, bats, and seals. He showed a video of a dancing parrot, and cited not only vocal learning capabilities but the existence of the basal ganglia as reasons why this parrot was able to synchronize its body movements to a beat. It is also true that species unable to vocally learn, such as our closest genetic relatives chimpanzees and bonobos, cannot move to a beat.

Part IIILife without music, or without language

Since there is no animal model, much of the research on music neuroscience has focused on individuals who are amusic, or those with problems with, for example, recognizing familiar tunes, spotting sour notes, or telling the difference between two tunes. (Ani provides these specific examples in this talk, citing the research of Isabelle Peretz.) These problems can range from melody perception/production, rhythm perception/production, and the emotional response to music, which has elucidated that the brain has no specific musical center. This was found by observing and studying two groups: amusics without aphasia (language loss), and aphasics without amusia. This talk introduced me to another cool musician, composer Vissorion Shebalin, who suffered several strokes and lost his ability to speak

Intrigued by these findings, Ani’s lab (circa the 90′s) was the first to use brain imaging to study the processing patterns of music and language in health patients without brain damage. Using musical and linguistic sentences with grammatical anomalies (a wrong, “sour” note, or an incorrect verb tense), they found that the brain responses to were nearly identical. It has also been shown that some areas of the brain deemed specific to language, such as Broca’s area, are activated by music. The connection between music and language in the brain described by these findings is bolstered by another finding that musical and linguistic grammar impairment is significantly correlated, with the severity of one predicting the severity of other depending on the degree of aphasia or amusia.

Part IVBabies

Of most relevance to the current project, Ani divulged that humans are the only species that use music to soothe their young. Lullabies are universal among humans, as is “parentese,” the sing-song-like speech that adults tend to use around children. This summer’s research aims to continue to explore the merits of these behaviors on the health of newborns, in particular the cardiac surgery recoverees.


I just took my first shower in my personal bathroom, and I cannot even describe the feeling of walking out of a shower to a room that is not ridden with the wet humidity of New Jersey and Pennsylvania. I have a summer of frizz-free hair ahead of me. I’m about to head out into the backyard to continue one of my required books (Music Therapy with Premature Infants by Jayne M. Standley) while waiting to go to a BBQ with the Smiths’ friends, but I wanted to post some picture of my summer home. (The link is to my favorite song by Bone Thugz-N-Harmony, which also happens to feature Phil Collins.)

This is where I’ll blog and keep connected.

This is where I’ll sleep.

This is where I’ll get ready in the mornings. (I failed at photographing the salle de bain well, but it has beautiful blue tile floor.)

This is where I’ll watch movies, and perhaps some CSI: Miami. Hush now, it’s my guilty pleasure.

This is where I’ll relax and read. Note the (not yet bloomed) flowers that Penny bought me!

Posts complete with those aforementioned “a-ha” moments and other information from my readings will begin tomorrow. Also, anticipate a post with the home’s exterior and landscaping, which is gorgeous and so Cali.

birdman (healthy, wealthy, and wise)

So my first flight was excellent and complete with a turkey dog “wrapped in dough” (quite a way with words, Stefano Foods), Tony Hawk (San Diego native, professional skateboarder), naps, and wonderful scenes from the wing-side window seat (good advice, Scott).

My first afternoon/evening in SD started with a short tour of downtown from Haverford alum Jay Smith ’73 (daughter Lauren is HC ’04) who is housing me with his wife Penny. He was kind enough, in true Haverford style, to pick me up at the airport, wearing a Haverford t-shirt and his class ring. Nice! We then stopped at Vons (the West Coast’s answer to Safeway a version of Safeway) to buy hors d’oeuvres and some other finishing touches for my welcome dinner. The three of us have spent the past three and a half hours or so getting acclimated and eating our fill. I can tell already that this is going to be a wonderful home to call my own for the next ten weeks or so.

I’m about to put a dent in my clothes organization, but as you know, my body’s striking midnight while the Pacific Coast is like no, lady, it is 9:00. So early to bed, early to rise am I.

this time tomorrow, it’ll be three hours earlier

What a week! Preparing for my departure has been a full-time job, especially considering the added neuroticism of an individual who has ne’er-before traveled by air. Yes, it’s hard to believe, but I’m about to embark on my first adventure in the sky. Here are some thematically-appropriate tunes, even though I already booked my flight and I’m not going over the sea.

I’ve been shopping to smarten up/California-ize my wardrobe and gathering all of the last minute necessities that have spent a little too long simmering on the back burner. I just finished packing my carry-on, which barely falls under the limit in both weight and size, and my personal item, a stuffed-to-the-brim backpack complete with airplane snacks and enough reading material for a time period equivalent to the length of my flight cubed.

Tomorrow, the Cherichello clan is getting up bright and early to have a family breakfast before Dad has to go to work and my brother (Johnny) has to set off to school. Mom is taking the day off to take me to the airport, which I greatly appreciate.

Anyway, on a note directly relevant to the project, I received an e-mail about a required Biomedical Ethics training course that I had to take online due to my involvement with this summer’s music therapy research with human subjects. This course, mandated by the UCSD Institutional Review Board (IRB), ended up taking me longer than expected because I became fascinated with the array of completely unethical studies throughout history that led to today’s cautionary procedures. One study that sticks out for quite a number of scientific errors intended to determine whether sleeping or being physically active allowed for more digestion. The researcher fed two prisoners a large amount of food, then sent one to bed and one to engage in vigorous physical activity. Going through the lessons and quizzes of this course brought me back to this semester’s Experimental Methods and Statistics (colloquially, “Psych Stat”) at Haverford, as they mark one of the many prerequisites to my first engagement with IRB-approved research as a role other than “participant.” Although I have conducted two group studies at school, both have been for lab classes and thus have not gone through the IRB. I feel so legit!

To further build on this legitimacy, I’m continuing my progress with Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers and Music Therapy for Premature Infants (I’ve yet to mention the second in any detail, but that post is soon to come). Both have incited in me countless a-ha moments, whether they regard my own experience as a stressed person, my (limited, but growing) knowledge of infant development, or the power of music. If I were already in SD,  it would be merely 12:30 a.m. and my eyes would not be feeling the wee-hours-burn, so this post would include some of the content of these “a-has,” but for now, they must wait.

One last exiting update is that I meet Dr. Patel for the first time over lunch at the Neurosciences Institute (NSI) on Tuesday at noon, after which we are both heading over to Rady Children’s Hospital for the first meeting with Dr. Knight. I have training at the hospital during the next few mornings and will my afternoons at NSI.

In sum: sleep, family breakfast, Newark airport, California by 4:30 (7:30…), readreadread, acclimation. I can’t believe this thing that I’ve been talking about for so long and thinking about for even longer is happening. Wish me luck!

Note: Posts following this one should be full of photographs, pending the purchase of batteries for my camera.

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