Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Blast From the Past - 40th Birthday Dinner at Bar Charlie

I really am trying to clean out my email inbox but the task is just a little too daunting.  As I was going back through some old emails trying to figure out why I still had them, I came across an email from 2009 that I had saved.  I'd forgotten that the most memorable (and most expensive and longest duration) meal we have EVER had was captured by a very nice staff member who took the time to grant my request for a copy of the menu that we enjoyed.  It was August 31, 2009 and we had reservations at Bar Charlie at the Palazzo in Las Vegas.  I remember being very excited about our first-ever Omakase experience and it did not disappoint.  It took us 5 hours to eat our way through 15 courses that included beverage pairing.  Our courses were paired with champagne, wine, cocktails, AND sake.  The only menu we have ever come across, so far, to pair a meal with cocktails and sake.

Here's what we had that evening:

An Evening in Bar Charlie  
Monday, August 31, 2009  

Japanese Tai, Black Grapes & Celery  
~NV Prosecco di Valdobbiadene "Rustico" Nino Franco~  
Iwashi, Watermelom & Kitagawa Yuzu  
~Plymouth Gin, Yellow VEP, Lemon Verbena, Lemon Coriander Bitters~  
Spanish Blue Fin Tuna, Umeboshi & Seawater  
~ The Cat's Meow Cocktail ~  
Heirloom Tomato with Cucumber & Avacado  
~2008 Sauvignon Blanc "Te Muna Road" Craggy Range, Martinborough, New Zealand~  
Spanish Blue Fin Tuna Tartare, Hijiki Seaweed & Daikon  
~ 2007 Rias Baixas, Albarino, Martin Codax ~  
Tasmanian Ocean Trout,Fennel & Pearled Barley  
~2007 Carl Von Schubert Riesling "Maximin Grünhäuser Herrenberg" Mosel, Germany ~  
Japanese Big Fin Squid, Lemon & Kanzuri Carrots  
~NV Champagne Chareles de Casonove "Premier Cru" Brut Rose, France ~  
Diver Sea Scallop, Bloomsdale Spinach & Japanese Turnip  
~ Masumi "Arabashiri-First Run" Nama Junmai Ginjo Gen-shu, Miyasaka Shuzo, Nagano-ken ~  
Maine Lobster, Beets & Tokyo Scallions  
~2006 Pinot Noir , Drew "Fog Eater" Anderson Valley California~  
Hamachi Belly, Green Curry & Braised Red Cabbage  
~2006 Cabernet Sauvignon, Chappellet "Signature" Napa Valley, California~  
Braised Miyazaki-gyu Strip Loin, Asian Pear & Plum  
~ 2006 Priorat "Les Terraces" Alvaro Palacios,  Spain ~  
Japanese Green Tea Sponge Cake, Caramelized Peaches & Plum Sorbet  
~ 2006 Riesling Beerenauslese "Wehlener Sonnenuhr"  Hauth Kerpen, Mosel, Germany ~  
Basil Semifreddo, Strawberries & Olive Oil Ice Cream  
~2003 Tokaji-Aszú "5 Puttonyos" Royal Tokaji Wine Company, Hungary~  
Dark Chocolate, Banana & Roasted Hazelnut  
~1979 Montilla-Moriles "PX Gran Reserva" Bodegas Toro Albalá, Spain~  
I don't remember exactly what the meal cost but it was worth every penny.  We were so so so sad to hear that Bar Charlie closed its doors not long after we had dined there.  Now to go and hunt down the pictures from that wonderful evening...

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Move for a Shot@Life

Sometimes I think I've got myself spread a little thin - work, family, hobbies, serving on a few non-profit Boards (and president of a few), and, most recently, being appointed to a Federal Advisory Committee.  So I'm all about multi-tasking and killing numerous birds with one stone, if possible (figuratively speaking, of course, because I AM a pediatrician after all).

I've always been a staunch vaccine supporter in my 18 years of private pediatric practice.  Last year at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition, I attended a training session to become an AAP advocate for Shot@Life:

"The American Academy of Pediatrics is a founding partner in the Shot@Life campaign. As an active partner, the Academy spreads the message that all kids deserve a shot at life and offers resources to help pediatricians educate patients, parents, and the community on the importance of international vaccine access."

Not much later, I happened to catch an email calling for applications for a mini-grant from the AAP for a Shot@Life project.  Hmmmm.....I thought to myself.  I was pleasantly surprised when I opened the email to see a relatively short application.  The wheels started turning.

The grant was for residents, members or chapters to support events that benefit global vaccine advocacy and the United Nations Foundation’s Shot@Life campaign.  Not only was I a trained Shot@Life advocate but also a member of AAP national as well as current President of the Oklahoma Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (OKAAP).  To top it off, I'm also the current President of the Enid Running Club (ERC).  The idea really didn't take long to sprout.....a running/walking event that would give me the chance to fulfill the ERC's mission (to promote a healthier lifestyle through running and walking...), gather people together to advocate for Shot@Life and explain why global vaccinations are so important, and utilize the resources of the OKAAP, the ERC, and my job as a Pediatrician.

Wow, how many birds is that??

Probably the toughest part of the project was choosing the date.  Like I said, I'm spread a little thin at times.  As luck would have it, I was free the weekend of Mother's Day.  What a fabulous fit for a global vaccine advocacy project centered around mothers!  My project was to be called "Move For a Shot@Life" and it would be a 1 mile, 5K and 10K race.

Through the OKAAP - I had an executive director, Kim Estes, to help with planning as well as the OKAAP newsletter to spread the word.

Through my job as a Pediatrician, I had access to our medical office building which was the perfect venue for my project - registration was in the building lobby, restrooms were available, and the race would start out in the parking lot.

Through my connection with the ERC, I had equipment to borrow for the event:  tables, chairs, a PA system, the ERC flag and mats that would mark the start/finish of the race, traffic cones to mark turn around points, a TV and stand to show the participants videos about Shot@Life.  I had many ERC members who were available to help out on race day and participate in the event itself, a base of runners/walkers in the ERC Facebook Group and Page that I could advertise my event to, and access to online registration.

Because I was receiving a grant, I wanted to be able to make this event free to anyone who wanted to participate.  This was a novelty in Enid - a FREE running/walking event?  It was the first of its kind and I was forever grateful not to have to go to businesses or people asking for sponsorships or donations.  I did partner with several businesses in town including both hospitals and our local Rotary Club and scored free advertising, a gift basket to give away, a donation (from Rotary - even though I didn't ask for one), and several other gifts to give away.  I even had a few ERC members who are business owners step up and volunteer gifts to give away.

As if a free running/walking event wasn't enough, I further enticed participation by using some of the grant money to purchase gift cards - all from locally owned businesses, gave away t-shirts purchased from Shot@Life, and had water and snacks purchased for after the race.

On race day, the Saturday before Mother's Day, the weather was perfect - sunny with minimal wind.

We had 107 people registered to participate and 58 showed up to run/walk 1 mile, 5K, or 10K.

Before the race started, everyone gathered outside and I gave them statistics regarding global immunizations and 3 videos were shown (Motherhood is UniversalAmanda Peet Joins the Fight to Champion Vaccines with Shot@Life, and Sophie Blackall and Olive draw their week in India).

 The race started at 8:30 am.

Participants walked/ran as far as they wanted.  The 1 mile, 5 km, and 10 km turnarounds were marked with signs and ERC traffic cones.




Following the race, we held drawings and gave away about 30 prizes that were either donated or purchased.  The event was very well received and went off without a hitch.

Probably the thing that I will remember most from this event is the generosity of the people of Enid.  I mentioned some of the unsolicited donations above but I was astounded that even though online registration was free, participants were given the opportunity to donate online ($5, $10, $15, or $20) and on race day.  In the end, the event actually raised a total of $535 for Shot@Life.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Bernice Yu (October 3, 1942 - March 3, 2014)

It's taken me a few weeks to gather up my thoughts.  The first week was spent trying to reconcile that Mom was gone so quickly, arrangements were made according to her wishes....and there was that initial guilt with all the "shoulda, woulda, and couldas".

Things spiraled downhill pretty fast after that with my sister, Rae, but I'm done with all the negative things that have happened - I'm ready to move on with the positives.

The strangest paradox to consider is that a child who is raised "right" or "well" gets to a point where they don't "need" their mom anymore.  Even though I have my own family, career, and am self-sufficient (I was clearly raised "well", Mom), I still wish that Mom had lived closer and that she hadn't been consumed with taking care of my sister for the last 12 years - but that wasn't anybody's fault in particular.

Mom paid - all by herself - for me to attend medical school.  I graduated with no debt.  Even though she spent the last dozen years taking care of my little sister, she was still dedicated to taking care of all her grandchildrens' educational needs too.  With Mom's help, my kids will also be able to attend college pretty much anywhere they want and graduate debt-free.

Mom loved to shop and was fanatical about buying presents way early (birthdays and Christmas) and any time we would visit, we would always be taking home presents for the next year.  She labeled each one specifying who it was for and which special occasion it was meant to be opened on.  It wasn't unusual for us to find the odd present in the closet labeled for a birthday that was months ago or opening a few presents in 2013 that were actually labeled "2012".

Mom was a very shrewd business woman even though she never gave herself credit for that, typically citing a language barrier.  She was very knowledgeable about properties, rentals, and tax law and that's what made it possible for her to fund all of her education plans for her kids and her grand kids.  She just wasn't happy unless she was making someone else happy - that's the essence of my Mom and what I'll always remember and learn from.

I wish that we had more time together but Mom was crushed when Dee died.  She had nobody left to take care of because she had raised her remaining 2 daughters so well.  I've been thinking about that a lot - particularly in the last week.  I refused to say goodbye when we scattered her ashes in the ocean this week.  She knows how much I loved and appreciated her - there aren't any words that can adequately express that.  I'm in the habit of putting my thoughts down so I can get them organized and remember them later so I'm putting this on my blog.  It's never a goodbye for me - it'll always just be a "see you later" to both my Mom and my sister, Dee.

Bernice L Yu (1942-2014)
Dee H Cataline (1972 - 2013)