Thursday, August 28, 2008

Tonight at 10 Eastern...

A black person is going to accept an official major-party presidential nomination.

If you don't understand why that's a big deal, come over here and let me beat the shit out of you with this history book.

In the meantime, if you haven't already seen Sen. Clinton's move to nominate Sen. Obama by acclamation, go watch it. She is a true stateswoman.

And again, if you don't get understand why I teared up when a stadium full of people chanted a woman's name as she nominated someone for president, you should duck and run. This book's heavy.

This round's on me

I got my Step 2 boards score back.
It went quite well.

Drink up, friends.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Thursday, August 7th

(The day before)

It started with a baby. I got into town at about 11:30 that morning, and my sisters and I went to the hospital. We took my brother a bottle of scotch. He has been a little anxious about being a new father. (And, by a little anxious, I mean, he's been a neurotic nut-bar about the whole thing.) It seemed like the perfect gift.

We went to the nursery to see the baby, but didn't get to hold her. She was getting a bath and then had to have a full hour of re-warming so that she wouldn't get hypothermia and brain damage. That’s what they say anytime you dare to question one of the labor and delivery policies or procedures…yada yada yada, brain damage. It's really a miracle that any of those kids who get their first bath in a sink, or a tub, or a river even survive. But, I digress.

We spent a little time with my brother and sister-in-law and then headed back to my parents'. It wasn't long before my grandma called to ask when I was coming over. I originally told them I’d be there early afternoon, but I was sort of dragging my feet. I couldn't seem to write what I wanted to write for my grandpa. Every time I tried, I felt like I might vomit. I finally decided I would just take a blank card and a pen with me. I thought maybe I could just bang it out in the car when I got there. As soon as I pulled up, though, my grandpa was standing at the front door, waiting for me. Shit. Now, I couldn't really sit in the parked car for 15 minutes and write.

I left my pen and the card on the passenger seat and headed in for dinner. I could smell the bacon cooking from the street. My grandma made a full pound for the three of us. Only two of us are really eating. Long story short, I ended up eating ¾ of a pound of bacon. Again, I felt like I might vomit, and that this might be the theme of the weekend--on the edge of vomit.

After dinner, my grandpa and I went out to the porch swing. The white swing has been on their side porch since I was a baby. Every night for the past 26 summers, my grandparents have been on that swing. On this particular night, my grandpa and I sat on the swing while my grandma sat across from us in a white wooden rocker. They told me about how they bought the swing at the Acme-Click for $19, and then, about how a man had another one just like it that he didn’t want, so they took it as a back up. The second swing hangs in their basement. When the tornado sirens go off during the summer, they go down there and swing until the weather passes. (And yes, that's both as incredibly sweet and as utterly ridiculous as it sounds.)

The three of us talked on the porch for over an hour, mostly about the neighbors. Occasionally, my grandpa would say something that would remind me that he doesn’t think he’ll be on this swing next summer, like when he talked about he asked the man across the street to put the window air conditioner in for my grandma next year. He has made plans, reorganized things in the house a bit, cleaned the garage. As we talked, I kept thinking, just find a little lull in the conversation and tell him what you want to say. Just tell him.

The first problem was in finding the lull. There aren’t a lot of those when you’re talking to my grandma. Finally, I decided I would just wait until she took a breath and interrupt. There aren’t a lot of those either. I think perhaps she has mastered circular breathing, or she has somehow slowed her metabolic rate to the point that she doesn’t require normal human quantities of oxygen. I couldn’t get a word in.

I was beginning to think I was just going to have to mail him a note, when finally, I saw my opening. Grandma got up for a moment, still talking, to peak around the house to spy on the neighbors. “Watch this,” my grandpa said. “There she goes, all subtle like.” He chuckled and rolled his eyes a little. I stifled a laugh.

When she turned to come back, still talking, I said, "Grandpa, I have a story for you. Grandma, you can stay and listen, but you’re not allowed to talk during this.” She looked a little surprised, but she put her hand over her mouth and said she’d try her best. He laughed and said, “Hey, I like this story already.”

And now, I must say, I have debated about whether or not to post the rest of this here. First, because it’s a bit personal. Second, and more importantly, because it’s a God story. I don’t usually tell those here. Mostly, because I think I suck at them. But, when I started this blog, I never imagined that actual live people would read it. I envisioned it as a virtual cork board, a place where I would stick little bits of life I may want to look at again later. It is in that spirit that I continue, despite my better judgment.

It went like this…

Well, Grandpa, this story is sort of about you. Hopefully, it won’t embarrass you. (My grandpa has a really hard time hearing anything good about himself. I was a little worried.) A few months ago, Mom called me to tell me that you were sick. And, well, I wasn’t really surprised. I mean, I was surprised by the call. I wasn’t expecting to have that conversation with her that night. But, I knew that you were sick. When Mom and I got off the phone, I was just sitting on my bed, and then…

Well, wait. Maybe I should back up a bit.

Okay. When I was with Ex, I didn’t really have a relationship with God. I mean, I talked to him, but it was always the same... I’m sorry for whatever I did to get into this mess, please help me out of it.
I’m sorry.
I’m sorry.

And then, after I left Ex, it was all, please just don’t let him hurt me.

So, you can imagine, after all that--seven years of the same two or three conversations--you wouldn’t have much of a relationship with anyone. And, I really didn’t have one with him.

I came out of that, and I was just kind of in this place where I didn’t really know who I was to God. I mean, there aren’t a lot of verses in the Bible for the divorced woman. There’s a lot there for women who are wives and mothers. But, I was left wondering, what happens when you screw all that up? I really felt like I might be a huge disappointment.

So, that’s what I told God. I said, "Look, I don’t know who you are, and I don’t really know who I am. And, I don’t know what to do about that."

In the end, I just kind of left it at that.

Then, one night, Mom called to tell me that you were sick. When I got off of the phone with her, I was sitting on my bed, thinking about you. But, as I sat there, I felt like I heard God. I wasn’t thinking about him. And, at that point, I was done looking for anything from him. But, there I was, and there he was.

And I heard him say, “T, when you think about your grandpa, when you think about how he loves you, that is me. That is how I love you. His love for you, that comes from me. Next time you wonder about who I am, think about him. I love you like that.”

And with that, I ended my story. With tears in his eyes, my grandpa said softly, "What an honor. What an honor."

Thursday, August 21, 2008

When I saw the magnet...

I jumped up and down a little.
And squealed.
Like a girl.

Which is to say, thank you.
Thank you.
Thank you.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Smells like Jesus

I published a post earlier this evening about a conversation I overhead in my hostess' living room. Soon after, I deleted it. I decided it was unfair--not the way I wrote it, but the fact that I wrote it at all. She should be able to say whatever she wants in her own home without her house-guest broadcasting it to the internet. Even if it's one of the worst things I've ever heard.

I was talking to my dad and then later to Graci today. I told them both the same thing when they asked how I was doing here. I said, "Well, the program is phenomenal. I'm not sure I'd get a better education anywhere. The place, though...I'm, uh, not so sure about it." I said, "You know, there are no gay people here. It's a city of 200,000 people, and there are no gays. I can't help but wonder what they did with their gay people."

You would think that maybe that wouldn't matter to me because I'm not actually gay. But, well...when I was in New York the day after the World Trade Center fell, a firefighter sitting next to me looked around and simply said, "No birds." At first I thought maybe he meant to imply that they'd all burned up or something. But, he explained, "It's a sign that the air quality is really poor. No birds. It means it's not safe to breathe here."

I told Graci and my dad, "There are no gay people, and I think it's a sign. It's not safe to live here." (Please forgive me if the analogy is one of the worst things you've ever heard.)

Tonight, as my hostess and the friend she was talking with in the living room tonight headed out for dinner, I went off in search of a coffee shop. I ended up in the art district. I didn't even know this city had an art district. I walked into a pottery shop and bought several pieces by Sarah McCarthy.

The street was closed for a music festival. No, wait, that makes it sound like I walked into Lilith Fair. The street was closed for a bluegrass/country/80's cover band. A small crowd was gathered, and a couple guys in cowboy hats danced with women (here they're called ladies) in front of the band's little stage. I crossed the street from the pottery store to a shop with scarves and hand-made jewelry in the window.

Inside, I picked up a copper bracelet and a bar of soap made with frankincense and myrrh. Because there's nothing quite like that new baby Jesus smell. The woman at the register had an Obama button on her peasant dress. I said, "Well, it looks like I've found the town's liberals."

She laughed and said, "That's right, baby. We're all right here on these four blocks--the art district."

I said, "Well, I have to say, I'm more than a little relieved to have found these four blocks."

And then, even without the gay bird analogy (I spared her), she said, "Yes, you're safe here. The rest of the town, there's always someone watching, looking at you, listening... But here, you can speak your mind, be yourself. You can be a participant. It's safe here."

I called Graci to tell her I found the birds.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


On a visiting rotation.
A couple states away.
All is well, but I'm freakin' exhausted.
Tell you all about it...over the weekend.

Right now, it's all work, all the time.
Otherwise, I'm pretty out of it.
When I heard Georgia was at war, I thought Atlanta had been invaded.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Lucy Martin

She came at 8:40 this morning.
The feet belong to a 9 pound, 7 ounce,
22 inch long (not so) little girl.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Feed me wine

Tomorrow, I'm going home to hang out with my grandpa on his porch swing and then, later, in a maternity waiting room. Did I mention that my sister-in-law is having a baby tomorrow? My sister-in-law is having a baby tomorrow. (I will be more excited when Lucy gets here. I promise.)

This weekend, I leave for two months to do anesthesia rotations in North Carolina and New York. The Grandpa that I know probably won't be here when I get back. Later today, I'm going to work on writing a little something, a story I want to tell him. I'll sneak it into his Bible tomorrow. He does a morning devotional, so he'll find it when he's sitting in the park on Thursday, watching God wake up that corner of the earth.

If I'm still in one piece when I get done writing, maybe I'll come back here and cry to all of you. Get a bottle of red ready. Fuck the migraine it'll give me. I'll drink it anyway.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

In magnetic words on the fridge at the test center

every secret always speaks
ferociously like questions
lingering in poisoned champagne window
or translucent sails that dance
to a stiff young melon devoured
in squirming angel breath and blue
ocean sky with girls smiling at
velvet colored hearts throbbing

I'm not sure if it's poetry, or test psychosis. After eight hours of multiple choice questions, it sounded inspired to me.


soon after we will celebrate and drink hard

pick the fresh pie


No. I didn't write the last one. But, I think it's a sign--the Ex has been dating.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Tis crunch time

I am studying (almost) every waking moment between now and my exam on Monday.

I have a bunch of little projects planned for next week. I'm sure you'll get to hear all about how they don't go as planned. Mark your calendars. Something to look forward to.

In the meantime, I'm just going to post links to things I like that you may or may not like. (Depending, of course, on whether or not you have taste.)

First up is Schmutzie's x365. Every day, she writes 50 words about someone who has made an impression on her. Every day, it is brilliant.