Thursday, November 29, 2007

Location, location, location

Do you ever wanna say...

I bet you had no idea those pajama pants that look so cute when you wear 'em around the house would look so white trash when you wear 'em around the Walmart. Funny how that works, huh?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Hey, how's med school going?

It's going pretty well, Rich. Thanks for asking.
I'll try to say more about that later this week, but right now, I'm off to read about ovarian cystadenomas. They either look fabulous with pumps or taste great with cocktail sauce. I can't remember which.

Verizon Wireless is run by Satan

My phone broke. In half. It is a shitpiece, and it is almost two years old, and shitpieces only live to be almost two years old. (Shitpiece is my new favorite word, by the way.) So, last night, I had to drive 846ish miles in the pouring down freezing rain to the Verizon store. I told them, "Look, my shitpiece phone just broke. In half. I'm due for a new one in less than two months. Can you help me?"

They said, "No." Except when they said it, it sounded like, "Well, we have many nice phones over here to choose from. You'll have to pay the full retail price, of course, because your contract with Satan isn't up yet, but I'm sure we can find you something reasonable."

I growled and said, "Show me your cheapest phone." And then it began. The fucking Verizon Wireless dog and pony show. The woman started talking about all the things my phone could do for me.

"For $212, this one has a built in navigator."

"Do you know how many maps I can buy for $212?" I said.

"Well this one has a directory in's like the yellow pages."

"I get like the yellow pages for like free. And you're not understanding me. I just want a phone. I plan to use it to make and receive phone calls. I don't need it to store low-resolution pictures or music videos, or to sing to me with that crappy phone voice, or to give me directions, or to massage my feet, or to kiss my ass."

Talking low and slow while squinting a bit for effect, I repeated, "I just want a phone. Do you have one of those?"

In the end, I walked out $150 lighter with a phone that has a sticker on the back that reads, Internal Antenna Area--For best performance, do NOT touch this area while using the phone. So, now I have a brand new shitpiece that I have to carefully balance on the side of my face so as to avoid contact with the antenna. When I slip and touch it, it totally ruins my reception and probably gives me finger cancer.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


The holiday went about as well as could be expected, which is to say it was all a bit much. I've been away long enough now that I am truly a guest when I go home. They have whole conversations about people and places that I know (and care) nothing about.

I found myself sitting at the kitchen table at my grandmother's house, surrounded by siblings who seemed more like acquaintances. In some ways, this is comforting. It reminds me that I have my own life, a life that I built, apart from them. But, in some ways, it's a bit jarring. I mean, they all still look like a lot like the people I left when I moved away years ago. But then they start talking, and they sound like people I don't know very well at all.

Or maybe that was the wine. Who knows.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Give thanks

I just got off the phone with my dad. He said simply, "Well, we've ordered the wine." By that he means that he ordered my brother, the server, to bring a couple cases. We finally started incorporating alcohol into the holiday last year. My grandparents don't drink. You know, because they go to church instead. But last year, we finally said something to the effect of, "Look, this getting together and pretending like we all like each other bullshit would be a hell of a lot easier if we weren't all so very alert and oriented the whole time." Or at least, that's what we meant. It may have sounded more like, "Have a glass, Grandma. Trust me...Jesus would want you to."

We could probably do the whole thing cheerfully sober if it weren't for those two. You know the ones. They talk and you think, "Do you ever want to strangle you, or can you not actually hear yourself speak?" Yeah, we've got a couple of those. And every year we give thanks that they don't live any closer.

So, tomorrow I will raise my glass, and then tip it upside down over my esophagus until I feel nothing but gratitude.

I'm staying in her guest room

She reminds me of my late grandmother. I came into the house the other night to find her in her recliner surrounded by piles of books with little scraps of paper marking her place in each. She was reading The New York Times. I pointed at the paper and said something about the big city news. She said, "Well, you know, if you live in a small town like this and all you read is the local newspaper, you miss a lot. If you want a broader world view, you've got to read other things."

I smiled and sighed a bit as I told her, "My grandma Betty used to read The Wall Street Journal for the very same reason." We went on to discuss that broader world view, and I found that I'm staying with a rather well-read, well-traveled liberal old lady.

I have often wondered what it would be like to sit and talk with my grandma now that I am grown. I think I may have caught a glimpse of that this week.

She is funny, entirely without meaning to be. Last night found me chasing her pug around her neighborhood in my pajamas. The little Houdini occasionally likes to stretch his legs when she opens the door, and she can't catch him. I did catch him (not before entertaining the neighbors as I darted around their backyards braless and shoeless yelling, "Come here, Smokey!") and returned him to her. She proceeded to yell at him, "You are such a little s-h-i-t!" That's right. She spells it. Because he is only eight, and you shouldn't really cuss around children.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Actual voicemail

Hey T, it's Grandma.
Well, I just wanted you to know that we're going to have Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday (like we have every year since before you were born).
I'm just calling to invite you (in case perhaps you thought you maybe didn't make the list), and tell you we'd really love to have you come.
Okay, well we hope to see you on Thursday...for Thanksgiving dinner (just to clarify, that's what we'll be having).

I get this message during the second week of November every year.
I'll get another one around December 15th when she calls to invite me to Christmas.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

So much to say, so little time

I'm bogarting a wireless signal and listening to shared iTunes from someone named Leah. Leah has rather eclectic music tastes, by the way--Ella Fitzgerald, Kenny Chesney, and John Fogarty in the same library. I really want to write about the woman I'm staying with (she reminds me of my late grandmother) and about my amazing surprise visit from Graci last night (I'm still smiling as I think about it), but I really have to get some reading done before surgery tomorrow. So...I'm writing to say that I can't really write.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Something Beautiful for you.

Sinful meme

The seven deadly sins come to me courtesy of Vic, who did this meme forever ago. I'm just now getting around to it (damn you, sloth).


With whom did you last get angry? The Ex, who still hasn't refinanced the house despite the court order.

What is your weapon of choice? Usually dirty looks get the job done, but, in this case, it's an over-priced lawyer.

Would you hit a member of the opposite sex? I used to whomp on my brothers occasionally...

How about the same sex? and my sisters.

Who was the last person who got really angry with you? I generally try not to piss people off.

What is your pet peeve? People who take their children to Panera, let em have at it with a bagel, and then leave without cleaning up the mess. It's all I can do not to say, "Now, I know you don't let your kitchen look like this. Get back here and pick up after those zoo animals you call offspring."

Do you keep grudges, or can you let them go easily? Why would I let them go? How will they take care of themselves? Won't they be lonely without me?

What is one thing you're supposed to do daily that you haven't? Eat fiber.

What is the latest you've ever woken up? Hmm...probably 2:30 pm when I wasn't sick. I can sleep until dinner if I'm sick.

Name a person you've been meaning to contact, but haven't. Heather Stuckey, what is your married name? And how the heck are you?

What is the last lame excuse you made? It's best to be non-specific..."Something came up" (like my overwhelming desire not to meet you for lunch).

Have you ever watched an infomercial all the way through? Did you know that you can make your own fruit roll-ups with the Ronco Food Dehydrator?

How many times did you hit the snooze button on your alarm clock this morning? Twice.

What is your overpriced yuppie beverage of choice? Imported beer.

Are you a meat eater? Well, I had cut back, eating almost everything vegetarian. But, then I went to the small town for OB. I eat free in the hospital cafeteria, and one look at their salad bar (iceberg lettuce and a shredded carrot) told me that I was either going to eat meat or loose about 50 lbs. during this rotation.

What is the greatest amount of alcohol you've had in one sitting? I can only drink about three beers before I have to stop sitting and go pee.

Are you comfortable with your drinking and eating habits? No, I should be eating more fiber, drinking more water, consuming more fruits and veggies.

Do you enjoy candy and sweets? Do oreos count?

Which do you prefer: sweet, salty, or spicy? I have to pick? Why? Are we on some God-forsaken deserted island where only one of these fine things grows? We can't have the others flown in?

Have you ever looked at a small house pet or child and thought, "lunch"? No, but I have thought, "Why don't you go get me some lunch."

How many credit cards do you own? None.

If you had a million dollars, what would you do with it? Pay off my school debt and set up a college fund for my soon to be niece.

Would you rather be rich or famous? Rich. I don't like having my picture taken.

Would you accept a boring job if it meant that you would make megabucks? No. In fact, after college I turned down a couple of these jobs.

What's one thing that you have done that you're most proud of? You know, I honestly can't think of anything right now.

What's one thing you have done that your parents are proud of? They don't say it, but I think they're proud that I'm in med school.

What would you like to accomplish late in your life? I would like to be a well-read, well-traveled old woman.

Do you get annoyed by coming in second place? I usually can't even see second place from where I'm standing.

Have you ever entered a contest of skill, knowing you were of much higher skill than the other competitors? No, I'm not at all competitive.

Have you ever cheated to get a better score? In fourth grade on the states and capitals test.

What did you do today that you're proud of? Well, I got up before 9. (I haven't gotten out of bed yet, so I'm fishing in a rather small pond for this answer.)

How many people have you seen naked (not counting movies, family, strippers, locker rooms)? I'm going to assume we're not counting patients either and say...I still don't know. I'm not a slut. I just spent a lot of my high school summers skinny dipping.

How many people have seen you naked (not counting physicians, family, locker rooms, or when you were a young child)? So, I can get naked with all the physicians I want and they don't even count? Huh. I wish you had told me that sooner.

Have you ever caught yourself staring at the chest/crotch of a person of your chosen sex during a normal conversation? No, I was looking had a piece of lint there.

Have you ever had sexual encounters (including kissing/making out) with multiple persons? No. I've led a pretty boring one-on-one kind of life.

Have you ever been propositioned by a prostitute? No, this isn't really that kind of neighborhood.

What item of your friends would you most want to have for your own? Do you have a digital camera? Because if so, I want it.

Who would you want to go on "Trading Spaces" with? Perhaps this should be under sloth, because I'm not redecorating anybody's dining room just to get on TV. "Come, wear matching shirts, paint your neighbors house..." Yeah, I don't think so.

If you could be anyone who existed in the world, who would you be? I'm still trying to master being T. I don't think I'm ready to move on.

Have you ever been cheated on? I don't know.

Have you ever wished you had a physical feature different from your own? Bigger boobs, a smaller nose, a not to think about all that too much.

What inborn trait do you see in others that you wish you had for yourself? Eye-hand coordination.

What deadly sin...
Do you do the most often? Sloth.

Do you do the least often? Probably envy.

Is your favorite to act on? Ahhh, lust.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Biting my tongue

I was standing in the surgery lounge today and Fox News (and we're using that last word very liberally here) was on the television. The reporter (again, not the literal definition) said that the government is now warning us that there has been some threat of terrorism in the form of attacks on malls in LA. In response, the LAPD has decided to map Muslims, identifying neighborhoods where they live in order to root out potential extremists.

Upon hearing this story, I shook my head a bit and said, "Well, that's just great." I try to avoid religion and politics when I'm with my ultra-conservative physician preceptor, but I couldn't help it. Occasionally, carbon dioxide builds up and stimulates my respiratory centers, and I have to exhale to keep from dying. Similarly, occasionally, bullshit builds up and stimulates my brain, and I have to shake my head a bit so as to keep it from sticking.

Said physician saw the head shake and replied, "Well, if you don't want to get blown up at the mall, you have to be okay with profiling; and the only people who aren't okay with it are people who want to blow you up."

I bit my tongue (the end of it is now gone) at the time, but get ready for some head shaking now...

First, I worry about a lot of things, but I do not worry about Muslims lighting up my ass at The Gap. No one does. I don't worry about it, in part, because, as is the case with all of these threats of terrorism, I'm never shown any actual evidence. Believing them now requires almost as much faith as believing in Allah himself.

I do, however, worry about profiling. I'm against both blowing up shoppers and mapping Muslims. (Despite what the good doctor said, those two positions are not mutually exclusive.) I'll tell you why I'm not okay with profiling, why it's not okay. It's not okay because it doesn't work. Profiling people based on their religious beliefs does not find terrorists. It finds Muslims. They are not the same thing.

Let me say that again. Muslims and terrorists are not the same thing.

Like Christians and Jews and Agnostics and Atheists and all the millions of I just try to live a good life and pay my taxes please stay off my lawnists, Muslim Americans deserve peace and privacy in their homes and neighborhoods.

The story I heard today scares me because it reminds me of the writing of Martin Niemoller...

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I was not a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.

We studied the Holocaust my freshman year in high school. I had an English teacher, Mrs. Toth, who taught it every year. She ended the Holocaust unit by sharing Mr. Niemoller's writing with us and by finally saying, "I know it seems like the Holocaust was a long time ago, but it wasn't really. This kind of evil still lives in people. And, if we don't learn from this, if we don't learn to speak out even when they aren't coming for will happen again."

So then I wonder, how much should I really bite my tongue?

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The OB

Well, I think that maybe the best way to describe him is to say he's one of those doctors that nobody--not even people who have worked with him for twenty years--ever calls by his first name. Because, well, it just wouldn't fly.

He can drink a bottled water in 30 seconds. I know this because he told me, "I can drink one of these in 30 seconds." I wasn't really sure what to say to that, but, ever since then, I've been timing him. If he looks like he's going to make it, I try to interrupt him with a question. I now consider it a personal victory every time it takes him more than 30 seconds to drink a bottle of water.

He says the same thing to every patient...I find a pretty healthy lady. One of these patients looked at me, rolled her eyes a bit, and said, "You know, he says that to everybody." When they're pregnant, he hands them all a book to read. He handed her the book. She smirked a little, turned to me again, and said, "I've got three of these books at home." He looked a little annoyed. She was my favorite patient so far.

Monday, November 5, 2007

My bags are packed

I start OB tomorrow in a small town about an hour and a half away. I am working with a doc in private practice and staying with an older woman who donates a spare bedroom to medical education.

Graci was with this same physician during her last rotation. Of her, he said, "She is the most superior student I have had the honor of mentoring in several years." pressure there. (She's going to kill me for writing that, by the way.)

The older woman has a dog, though, so the clerkship should be a great success--I'm good with dogs.

Saturday, November 3, 2007, uh, got a haircut

That's what people have been saying all afternoon. That's what you say when someone has obviously lost a lot of hair (in a non-chemo, non-middle-aged man kind of way), but it doesn't really look great. It's like saying, "I'm not an idiot. I noticed. I'm just a shitty lier, and am therefore incapable of mustering up a respectable Damn, girl, you look hot."

Except that I think it does look great. Or, rather, it will. In about four days. Right now, it's a bit short...even for my hip, cool taste. I freaking love getting my haircut, though. For one hour a month, I feel all Margaret Cho as my hair designer (yeah, he actually calls himself that) fans the flames of his faggotry.

Last month, I got to see pictures of he and his fiance's new poodle, Madonna. Pictures of Madonna before they rescued her--before the bows, and the haute couture, and the weave. Poor thing looked like...well, like a dog. Pictures of Madonna now, the happy and healthy diva she was born to be, getting kisses from Scott, Shane's fiance. All of the pictures were tucked in a lacy pink baby book. As Shane handed it to me, he said, "Is that not the gayest thing you've ever seen?" It was.

This time we chatted about Shane's upcoming birthday. It's upcoming as in just two short months away. Shane and Scott have been getting their house ready for the party by redecorating. As Shane talked about wall colors, he stopped cutting briefly to say, "Well, you know, my favorite color is purple..." He went on to explain how this week they are painting the dining room to match some fabulous curtains he found. He sighed and said, "We've been busy little bitches!" I've been invited to the party, and I've penciled into my planner. I can't help it...I want to see those curtains.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

It's like a really crappy poem

Sorry no posts
Big psych test tomorrow
Lots of studying
Then some drinking
Then posts

This weekend
(I promise)