Wednesday, August 31, 2011

writing prompts: little d visits the cliffs of moher

If you couldn't tell from my little absence from this blog, I've had a slight case of writer's block. I was annoyed that every post I wrote was about med school and instead of, you know, writing posts about something else, I decided to abandon the blog altogether.

But I'm back.
And trying to tap into parts of my life other than riding shotgun (with my hair undone) on this ride we call med school. Don't worry, I will still gag you with tales of abscesses and discharge. Which has a nice ring to it.

Today though, I'm going to play along with a writing prompt link up at Mama's Losing It.
And this week's prompt enables me to channel my inner Suri Cruise: Write a post about a childhood memory as if you’re in that moment again…from the perspective of yourself as that child.


The Cliffs of Moher, Liscannor, Ireland

This smile? It's fake. I mean, look at my pants.

At this point in my life, I think I can safely say I hate buses. I've been on more buses than Ms. Frizzle (who I do not think exists yet, but if she did, she would adore my pants) and all of them have led to views like this one in middle of nowhere, Ireland. Which would be great and all if I wasn't FOUR.

You know what would make this view better? If I had a boyfriend - no - a husband to enjoy it with. We could hold hands, maybe sip some hot chocolate and talk about how we're going to remember this moment for the rest of our lives. He'll hold me up as the wind threatens to knock me over.

But for now, I'll take my stuffed Care Bear back- thank you for holding it, Mommy - and retreat back to the bus for another few hundred miles of sightseeing. Or in my case, charming the rest of our tour group with my undeniable cuteness and trying (unsuccessfully) not to barf. At least my pants are comfortable.

Mama’s Losin’ It


The maxidress was a bad choice. Should have stuck with 80's pants.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

i'll miss you... antique stores

I was never a huge fan of antique stores.

As a shopper-in-training, tagging along with my mom, I was taught to look for deals on new items. My training (aka childhood) consisted of hours and hours in places like Loehmann's, TJ Maxx, and Marshall's. When I graduated to solo shopper status, I took my deal hunting to teenage appropriate stores like The Gap and American Eagle, and eventually H&M, Zara, and all of the stores I love today.

But here, the mall is bordering on post-apocalyptic (Banana Republic employees have practically cried tears of joy to see a real live customer) and online shopping doesn't quite do it for me(it's not the same when you can't touch it!*). What am I, a trained shopper, to do?

The only solution was to start antiquing. And believe me, this city knows its antique stores.

My dabbling in the antiques has mainly been limited to frames like this one, which - while cute around Ike - has finally found a permanent subject. (More on that painting later!)

Other finds: more frames, bright yellow chairs (who doesn't need those?) and tea cups that I like to think could pass for Kate Spade.

But Y and I have two very special favorite finds, both of which are priceless.

Y's favorite, a mystical painting:

And my favorite, the creepiest thing I've ever seen:

I hope these haunt your dreams like they have mine.

I'll miss you... archive:movie moments

*that's what she said.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

the composite

Y just received his fourth and final med school class composite.

It's not quite as exciting as his first composite.

I pored over that thing, matching names to faces as he told stories about the new people in his life. I think I knew everyone's name before he did.

(I didn't have too much going on at the time.)

One of Y's classmates used his composite to explain his feelings on classmates to his girlfriend (we'll call her Molly). A few circles here and there, and, over one or two faces, a heavy-handed "X".

I met Molly a few weeks later, along with some more of Y's classmates' wives/fiances/girlfriends. Over dinner, Molly pulled out her composite. "This one's mine,"she said, pointing to her boyfriend. One by one we showed her "ours".

One girl hesitated, but eventually pointed. "That's mine, but he's got a huge X over his face."

Molly snatched the sheet of paper out of the girl's hands. "Yeah, those are the people he doesn't know yet."

And we left it at that. Funny how that memory is three years old almost to the day, and still so vivid. I can tell you where I was sitting, where I parked, the nonchalant way Molly rolled the composite up and placed it back in her purse.

(This is what happens when you're not busy cramming med school facts in your head. It has room to breathe and remember. So in ten years, when Y's head is chock full of diseases and drug names, I'll still be able to list the members of his med school class, in alphabetical order. I love being useful.)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

neurosurgery scars, part 2

I get it, neurosurgeons. You're angry that I managed to somehow blame you for the scar on my leg.

You were so angry, that you used your God-like status to insist that the universe repay me. And 48 hours after that blog post, while I was grocery shopping at Target, the universe caused the Earth to tilt ever-so-slightly. This imperceptible shift caused a can of black beans to roll from the top of my shopping cart (through the holes that were meant for chubby little baby legs) and sail to the floor, slicing my shin with its sharp lip on the way down.

Right next to my "neurosurgery" scar.

I've gotten over that, brain surgeons.

But then last week, you decided I deserved a harsher punishment and used your powers to move the cement stairs that lead to my back door just a tenth of an inch. And I tripped and skinned my other leg. And stubbed my toe. Like a 5 year old.

Okay. Fine. So maybe neurosurgeons had nothing to do with this. Maybe I'm just a klutz who shouldn't be allowed to use stairs and can't be trusted with canned goods. But that's just not as fun.

Trust me.

Monday, August 15, 2011

book club

Did you guys read The Help? It turns out about 100% of the people I know have read it, so it seemed like the perfect book to kick off a book club.


We met at the theater to see the movie on opening night, then went back to my house for some southern comfort food (including, what else, chocolate pie).



Yeah, it was fun, but I think the real story here is the common misconception that people who like to read must be smart:

I listened to the audiobook version of The Help, which was kind of amazing. Three actors read the book - one of whom is in the movie adaptation (and, fun fact, was actually the inspiration for her character, Minny) - and kept me entertained to the point that my 12 hour round trip drive felt like it was too short.

The book starts out in the voice of one of the maids, Abileen. As soon as I started listening, I knew I was in trouble. The actor spoke so quickly I almost couldn't keep up. At first I was angry at my library, from which I had downloaded the book. It was clear they had given me a bootleg copy. How dare they?

Then I came to the conclusion that my local library wasn't that sleazy and, still angry, decided the mistake was the producer's fault. Shouldn't audio books have a test audience? Who can understand this?

Then I thought maybe I was being racially insensitive and should be more open-minded to the way African American women in the 60's spoke.

Finally, I moved on to acceptance. That must be part of her character, I reasoned, she talks quickly because she's....nervous? Or something?

After 30 or so minutes, just as I was getting used to Abileen and the Chipmunks, I happened to glance down at my ipod. In the top right corner was a little icon - "2X".

Somehow, my ipod was playing at twice the normal speed. I didn't even know it could do that. And I still don't know why that would ever be necessary. Thoughts?

(And, what did you think of the book/movie? I was kind of neutral on the movie. As far as movie adaptations go I didn't hate it (like some movies that rhyme with Shmime Shmavelers Shmife), but I wasn't completely blown away by it-- possibly because I was too busy comparing it to the book. But, I actually liked the major character change they made.)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

ooey gooey


There is one household task that, without fail, I always end up doing. We don't have a garbage disposal, and our sink tends to clog. It has become my job to reach into elbow deep water and pick out the bits of food that got stuck in the drain.

It's my job because it makes Y gag.

How is it, I wondered, that Y can perform rectal exams and dig around inside of long-dead human beings without blinking, but he can't scoop up some wet bread and a few smushed cherries with his bare hands?

And then I figured it out.

A long long time ago (circa the 1960s) "Officer" Don Kennedy, an Atlanta TV personality, invented a game to play with the studio audience at his children's show "The Popeye Club". He placed several paper bags on a turntable and stuck prizes in a few of them. In the rest, he dumped raw eggs, flour, mayonnaise, ketchup -- anything that would make a kid squeal if he or she stuck a hand in it.

One of the children from the studio audience was selected and blindfolded. As the turntable went round and round, the child stuck their hand in a bag, hoping it was the one with the prize. If not, everyone yelled Ooey gooey!

At this time, my dad was a teenager growing up in Atlanta and apparently bored enough to watch children's variety shows.

I'm imagining he came home from a round of golf with his dad, flopped down in front of the TV and realized "The Popeye Club" was the only thing on. Reluctantly, he watched the Ooey Gooey segment and filed it away under Games to Play at My Future Little Girl's Birthday Parties Twenty Years From Now.

(Kind of like how I'll occasionally watch "16 and Pregnant" and file it under My Future Little Girl Is Never Allowed to Date, Ever.)

And sure enough, twenty or so years later Ooey Gooey was a staple at my birthday parties. I was positive that my dad, the smartest man in the world, had come up with it all by himself. It wasn't until the other day, when I made the connection between the game and my sink and asked him to explain how he invented Ooey Gooey, that he crushed my dreams and told me about Officer Don.

Regardless of where the idea came from, I'm thankful I was made to stick my hand in raw eggs and ketchup as a child. It was useful in teaching me a very important adult skill, right up there with financial planning and laundry.

Here's to my next house having a garbage disposal, so I won't have to put that skill to use anymore.

Monday, August 8, 2011

i'll miss you... movie moments

Excuse me while I play 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon with my grocery shopping.

I was leaving the farmer's market one Saturday morning and stopped to look at this row of buildings as I opened my car.

While juggling bags full of produce and fistfuls of loose change, I thought about a movie we saw this year: "Super", starring Kevin Bacon. A memorable scene portraying the pure evil of Bacon's character was filmed in front of these very buildings.

The scene played on in the back of my head as I opened the door and sat down. But when I started the car, I jumped. An eerily familiar familiar voice came through the radio. It was him. Kevin Bacon was the celebrity guest on that week's "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me".

(Fine. That's not exactly how 6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon works, but I vote it counts.)

Thanks to a tax break for filmmakers, movie production in Louisiana has been on the rise. Other than being surrounded by Kevin Bacon (sort of) in the farmer's market parking lot, this means several things for me: Detours through movie sets during long walks with Ike. Receiving paparazzi-style pictures of Josh Duhamel (FYI: he looks much scrawnier in tiny, grainy iPhone pictures). Running into Dunder Mifflin employees in the locker room of my gym. More Frappucinos than necessary because Gerard Butler was at Starbucks last week and maybe, just maybe, he'll be there again today.

Where else will I be able to have these experiences? New York? Los Angeles? Boring.

I'll miss you... archive:

Thursday, August 4, 2011

no guacamole for this dog

I don't know about your dogs (or cats, or whatever other sub par animals you have), but when Ike gets a hold of people food, he inhales it as fast as he can. He most certainly doesn't pause to make sure he likes it. He rarely even chews.

Of course, I only know what happens when we're there.

A few weeks ago, I was on my way out the door with a to-go box meant for the trash. I made it outside, but my to-go box, filled with a chicken taco, rice and beans, didn't quite make it. My motto is always forget one thing at home. That day's thing was my two-day-old Mexican dinner.

When my house reeked of cilantro and cumin upon my return, I realized what I had done. I ran over to the precise corner of our rug that Ike has deemed his special treat-eating place. I found:
  • a styrofoam container, licked clean and ripped in half.
  • a single slice of avocado. Untouched.
If I were to hand Ike a taco right now, he would swallow the entire thing whole. But something different must happen when no human eyes are watching his every move.

I like to believe it includes a fancy picnic blanket, a fork and a knife (and temporary opposable thumbs), and a lobster bib. He sits on his picnic blanket like so:

and delicately lifts each different type of food. "Tortilla shell? Check. Rice and beans? Check. Chicken? HELL YES CHECK. Pico de gallo? Check. Avocado? AVOCADO? How dare they expect me to eat this poor excuse for a fruit? I am a pit bull in a lobster bib, dammit."

And then he leaves the avocado slice on the floor and takes his fourth nap of the day.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

a change of plans

We had a plan.

Okay, sort of. We had as much of a plan as you can in our interesting little situation. Y was going to specialize in emergency medicine (and possibly go into space). He was going to do an away rotation in Baltimore. He thought his chances of actually getting in there were pretty high.

So my brain did the only thing it knew how to do: it created a life in Baltimore. Maybe I would take the train into DC and work. On my days off, I would take Ike and we would comb the state of Maryland for the best crab cakes. My nieces and nephews would come visit me and I would be their fun yet educational aunt who took them to the Spy Museum but only after a visit to the Capitol.

Hello, fun yet educational aunt.

Y would... work. On his days off we would go to baseball games or take Ike on walks on the harbor. Or maybe Y would just sleep.

But then Y did the unthinkable: he switched specialties.

First he decided he was interested in a super specialized emergency medicine/ internal medicine program. There were only 5 in the country that met his criteria. One was in Baltimore, so I kept our Baltimore life active in the back of my head. But suddenly, there were 4 very specific other places we could live. Chicago. North Carolina. Richmond. Brooklyn.

New York hadn't been on our radar before. We weren't even considering it. But for one minute I let myself imagine what our lives would be like in the city. One morning, while crossing a busy street near my work, I even practiced the face I would make when Y announced "SUNY at Brooklyn!" on Match Day. I think it looked like a mixture of hipster wannabe and flat broke.

Or maybe it looked like this, at the thought of having to cross the Brooklyn Bridge again.

But that specialty was fleeting. After a slight existential crisis, Y is now set on internal medicine. The thing about internal medicine? There are programs everywhere. Baltimore isn't on top anymore. Goodbye, crab cakes. Hello cheese steaks. Hello Chicago dogs. Hello Grand Ole Opry. Hello clam chowda and cannolis. Hello Space Needle. Hello Stumptown coffee.

Cheesesteak, cannoli, chicago dogs.

I can't keep up with my thoughts these days. Neither can my stomach, because apparently most of my hypothetical future lives involve food.

Yes, this can be annoying. For example: Besides the fact that I think my brain is running out of juice, I would love to buy a bike. But do I want a bike for occasional, leisurely use or an everyday bike in case we move somewhere bike friendly where I could ride to work? Only time will tell. Time being approximately 224 days, 7 hours, 41 minutes and 13 seconds according to Mrs. Dr. D's countdown.

These are tough problems, people.

But in spite of this annoyance, I kind of want to relish in the moment. How often will we get the chance to daydream about moving [almost] anywhere we want? Not often.

So I have three questions for you: Where do you live? Why should we consider your city/state? Where would you live if you could choose 1 place in America?

(And yes- Y is placing importance on other things than the city and its food culture-- like the strength of the program, and of course, whether he gets a sense that he likes the hospital after he visits. )

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

our weekend: chaincation

Chaincation (aka Tour de Chains): driving 100+ miles simply to visit a series of chains that aren't available in your hometown. This type of vacation can attest to a) the lack of options in your hometown; b) the lack of culture in the town you're visiting, or c) your lack of taste.

I guess for us, it was a mixture of the 3. We drove with some friends to Dallas, our nearest large city, with two things in mind: returning wedding presents to Macy's and Crate and Barrel and indulging a lifelong fantasy to go to Medieval Times.

But first things first. We weren't alone in our choice for lunch -- it appeared the entire city of Dallas had the same idea. In fact, there were police directing traffic. And there was lots of traffic. There was also a 30 minute drive thru line and a wait outside in the 106 degree heat. People will do anything for a Double Double with animal fries.


When I heard about a Sonic opening in New England and mile long lines of customers waiting for their first footlong and cherry limeade, I rolled my eyes. Sonic is old news, people. When I was a wee high school lass, we met every afternoon for a happy hour slushie. Gossip was spread. Tator tots were consumed. No big deal.

This was different. I'm not sure why. But it was.

A few more stops on our chain-cation:


The piece de resistance: an evening of eating with our hands and avoiding dirt kicked in our tomato soup by horses.

This is how you know you're too old, or maybe too cynical, for a place like Medieval Times
  • You can see the hidden sadness -- which you may have mistaken for enthusiasm as a child -- on the faces of everyone who works there. Specifically the falcon tamer. He can't even smile in the pictures anymore.
  • You wonder if your knight, who smiles broadly at the cheers from his royal subjects, has any relationships outside of the arena that can make him smile so wide.
  • When two actors are ad-libbing out of earshot, you assume they're trying to decide what to do after the show, not worrying about the princess they're attempting to save.
  • You discuss which knight is hooking up with which wench.
  • At least 5 times, you wonder aloud how well the animals are treated and whether the facility has its own veterinarian.
But Medieval Times knows the secret to numbing any doubts or negative thoughts:

And before we knew it, we were screaming for our knight and rushing to meet him after he won. (He won! I haven't felt such pride since... well, the last sporting event I watched. I'm easily influenced.)


After dragon tail soup, dragon eggs, chicken, ribs, and a Pastry of the Castle, the obvious next step would be to put on your bathing suit and head to your rooftop pool all night. Luckily, Dallas nightlife is really into beds. Beds in clubs, beds at pools - and our hotel, the Downtown Sheraton, was on board with that trend. We lounged on a bed and stared up at the skyscrapers while relishing in the fact that a breeze was blowing and it almost didn't feel like a southern summer.