Tuesday, January 31, 2012

interview trail: north carolina

Let's just get this out in the open: I let Ike sleep like a person when Y is gone. Under the covers, head on the pillow, the whole deal. Sometimes we spoon. Now you know.

We certainly have it better than Y, who had such a terrible experience at his hotel in North Carolina that he felt compelled to review it on Tripadvisor:

Welcome to the future, welcome to the Millenium

Looking for a memorable experience? Look no further! Relax and Allow the negligent and undermanned staff of the Millennium hotel transport you to that long forgotten mystical era that to which you have always wanted to return; the era of style, panache and wonder. The legendary era of the early 1980s! Enjoy the narrow, dim hallways lit only by small candelabra bulbs last seen in the waiting area of a Reagan era olive garden. Breathe in the lingering scent of tobacco still emanating from the dirty floral print carpet. Gaze, in wonder, at the latest in television technology that 1983 has to offer! Store your belongings in a sagging armoire and refresh yourself in a state-of-the-art rust covered shower complete with your own personal colony of tenia pedis. Prepare to be pampered with truck-stop quality toiletries and then wrapped the thinnest of towels. Sleepy? Feeling the need to perform a few bodily functions on your bed before retiring? No worries! The Millennium hotel has pre-stained your sheets for you, so you need not soil them yourself. It's the little extras that really make this hotel experience unique. Hungry? Thinking of ordering room service? Feel free to peruse the tattered and stained menus and brochures not replaced since Devo was topping the charts. In town, and feeling the need to check your new fangled "electronic mail?" The business center is outfitted with the most modern computers running Windows 98, which are unable to print boarding passes. Welcome to the Millennium! 

Yes indeed, all these amenities and more can be yours at this hotel, which for reasons beyond current scientific understanding received a 3 star rating on Hotwire.

Monday, January 16, 2012

interview trail: midwest stop #5

In the interest of vagueness, I'm not going to tell you anything about this city except that it has an arch. 

While Y was at his interview, I stood in front of said arch, playing with my camera. A man, who was either a) homeless; b) drunk; or c) both stumbled up to me and asked where the library was. 

I, obviously, had no idea. 

This pissed him off. In retaliation he narrowed his eyes at me and said, "Okay, fine, how much for an hour?" and stalked off. 

I hope he managed to find the library without traumatizing any more tourists. 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

weekly gratuitous ike: cutest injury ever?

The vet tech looked guilty as she led Ike out to meet us. We had just returned from Boston, and were picking Ike up from being boarded in a 3 foot wide room for 6 days. 

"He's bleeding," she said, "from the tip of his tail." She was worried we would be mad, and the explanation rushed out, choppy. "I guess his room wasn't big enough for his tail and sometimes it hit the wall." 

The reunion was exciting, and we didn't follow. "What?" we managed to ask while being bombarded with licks.

The vet tech looked down at the ground, ashamed she had let us down. "He wagged his tail so much it started bleeding."

Friday, January 13, 2012

interview trail: Boston part 2

A few random thoughts about Boston:

1. I was apparently on the flight from Memphis to Boston with the Small Bladder Convention. People were constantly going back and forth to the bathroom, and each time the door opened, the air recirculated and I got a huge whiff of weed. Naturally, since the smell was correlated to the bathroom door opening, I assumed someone was smoking weed in the bathroom. But then, as I pressed my forehead against the window to get a better view of Manhattan as we zoomed over it, the smell got stronger. I looked down and saw curly tendrils spilling into my personal space. This girl's weave REEKED of pot. She did manage to sleep the entire flight -- maybe I should rethink my pre-flight rituals?

2. Y got some good news about his clinical skills board exam while we were in Boston! I like to think I helped with that...

3. If we were basing our choice of city on desserts, I think the lobster tail from Modern Pastry would push Boston into first place.

4. But all of the Dunkin Donuts would be a disaster. Currently our motto is, "See a DD, inhale at least 2 donuts" because we never know when we'll see one again. If we move to Boston, that has got to stop. 

5. While Y was at his interviews, I avoided shopping by going to museums.At the JFK library, I was reunited with my inner American History geek. I also learned the following: JFK played a lot of shirtless rugby before he was president, JFK looked good in wayfarers, Jackie had a lot of pretty dresses.

6.  Can we discuss this portrait of Paul Revere at the Boston Museum of Fine Art? More specifically, can we discuss how Paul Revere looks EXACTLY like Jack Black? I stopped dead in my tracks when I walked into the gallery with this picture. I was sure I was on [the worst and most boring episode of] punk'd and Jack Black was going to step out of the shadows laughing at me.  (By the way, the internet already knows about the Jack Black/Paul Revere resemblance -- and, naturally, is accusing Black of time travel.)

(Also, this is officially my second post about Paul Revere. I love American history and all, but I never thought my blog would cover Revere in such depth.)

(read the rest of my notes from the interview trail)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

four eyes

When I look at old pictures of anyone (but especially myself), the first and most embarrassing thing I notice are the glasses. Who is watching this person try on these glasses, I think, and giving them permission to appear in public? 

When I look at pictures of my siblings in the 80s and 90s, their glasses are huge and terrible by today's standards, yet they elected to continue wearing them as their face was immortalized on film. This means at some point those glasses were considered attractive.

The purpose of this post is to give Future Me easy access to Current Me's glasses. Laugh all you want, Future Me, but believe it or not, these glasses were actually kind of the norm in 2012. And people actually told me I looked good in them. I know, right?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Interview Trail: Boston Part 1

You probably don't need me to tell you this, but medical students -- at least the ones I know -- have know-it-all tendencies. 

On a completely unrelated note, do you want to know the worst person you could probably travel with? A KNOW IT ALL. 

Within 5 minutes of arriving at the airport, Y decided that his last few weeks of travel canceled out the fact that I had ever set foot on an airplane. He criticized:

  •  the speed at which I removed my ID from my purse ("You need to have that out beforehand!")
  • the shoes I chose to wear on the plane ("Boots?! You've got to be f*king kidding me. You do know you have to take those off, right?")
  • my shoe removal technique ("You're not fast enough!")
  • the placement of my jacket on the security conveyor belt("You need a second bin for your coat. Everyone knows that.")
  • my failure to push the bin forward ("You can't just set it down! It has to be pushed. You're holding up the line!")
  • the pocket I chose to store my quart size bag of liquids ("You need to keep them closer to the front so they're easier to remove!")**
And once we were on the plane:

  • "That smell you're smelling is the beverage cart. It smells bad on 100% of flights."
  • "Dammit! I've already read this issue of Skymall. Twice."
  • "What?! Both of our flights are on Canadair Regional Jets? I myself prefer the Embraer or any of the Boeing jets."
  • "PSH! This turbulence is nothing."
And then... the seasoned air traveler discovered something he hadn't noticed before. 


"That speaker looks like a thyroid!!"

**In Y's defense, I may be exaggerating a teeny tiny bit. But I truly believe he would have said all of these things had I not given him a look of death after he tried to tell me which pocket to put my toiletries in. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

my favorite books of 2011

favorite book

The History of Love -- Nicole Krauss. I finished this book on January 1, 2011, and no other book came close.

favorite fiction

{other than The History of Love} Sarah's Key - Tatiana de Rosnay

favorite non-fiction

Devil in the White City - Erik Larson. It took me what felt like forever to read this book, but it was so worth it. I now have a strange fascination with World's Fairs and, if I had a time machine, I might choose to go to a World's Fair rather than save Kennedy or Lincoln or stop Hitler. Does that make me a bad person? Don't answer that.

favorite book about food

If I got hate mail, I would get hate mail for this choice: I read a Ruth Reichl book this year and, well, it wasn't my favorite book about food. The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake had enough gorgeous descriptions of food for me to consider it a food book. Although the ending weirded me out, I loved the road that led up to it.

favorite "beach read"

The usual suspects, Emily Giffin and Lauren Weisberger, didn't hold a candle to Jennifer Close's Girls in White Dresses. Yes, the plot was non-existent and the characters kind of confusing, but I loved it because reading about these girls felt like a 300 page conversation with your best friends, complete with sarcastic one-liners and complete ridiculousness.

favorite audiobook

It's a toss up - The Help had a different actor reading each character.  Bossypants and Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (And Other Concerns) equated to 12 hours of basically hanging out with Tina Fey and Mindy Kaling. I guess The Help was harder to turn off since it had a plot with twists and turns and all that, but really - apples and oranges.

edited to add - My least favorite books of 2011? Probably Heart of the Matter, Palace of Illusions, and let us not forget my hatred of Black Heels to Tractor Wheels.

(Are you a total bookworm, too? Let's be friends on Goodreads!)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

one year ago today...

One year ago today Y was on his OB-GYN rotation and I learned a very important lesson that I made sure to document. 

You see, the only experience I have with delivering babies is the magical, life-changing, Hollywood delivery room scene. Apparently real life is slightly different and involves enemas and ducking out of the way of flying bodily fluids and trying to convince patients not to name their child after an STD.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Pride & Prejudice

In November, my book club read Pride and Prejudice. Having never read the book or seen the movie , Mr. Darcy had a LOT of hype to live up to.

(Especially Movie Mr. Darcy. I started watching the movie before I had finished reading the book, and I did NOT like movie Mr. Darcy. I had to stop. He was ruining Mental Image Mr. Darcy and that was not okay.)

Once I finished reading the book the morning of our book club meeting, I chose what I thought was my Pride and Prejudice-iest shirt and baked some scones. 

My shirt was deemed P&P worthy because it had some ruffles. Good enough. 

Book club that month was in Lauren's beautiful house.

I almost felt like we were in a British mansion in the 1800s listening to Elizabeth Bennet (aka Lauren) describe how Mr. Darcy (aka Justin) proposed. Congratulations, Lauren!

We started by attempting to read the front cover. It was difficult, as you can see.

Then someone asked, "Wait, which one was Elizabeth Bennett in the movie? Winona Ryder?" and we decided to talk about something else. 

As for my opinion, I expected the old-fashioned language to bore me, as it used to when I read books for English class. I was pleasantly surprised, but I definitely don't think Mr. Darcy filled the ENORMOUS shoes that the world built for him. I was more impressed by Elizabeth Bennett, who was way ahead of her time. As far as the romance, the last half of the book, where Elizabeth kept hearing from others that Mr. Darcy loved her, made me smile - it reminded me of the fun feeling you get in high school when you hear a boy might like you. Or, in my case, when you're in college and your friend tells you a boy you like likes you and it turns out she was lying. (but by that point it doesn't matter because you're engaged to him.)

PS: This is how Y believes Pride and Prejudice must be read (and this is what Ike thinks of the book):

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Interview trail: a brief break at home

After his fifth trip -- at five days it was the longest so far -- the boy is finally home, in his own shower, his own bed. The next flight is in just two days, and a good night's sleep in his own bed is a must. He falls asleep as soon as his head hits the pillow, his stomach full from homemade chicken pot pie (and cramped from laughing at the girl's botched haircut). 

The girl falls asleep soon after, but is woken in the middle of the night by the boy's tossing and turning. She opens an eye wearily as the boy rolls over, groans, and whispers in her ear. 

"Are we in a hotel?"

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Interview trail: Tour de PA part 2

This is the tragic tale of an exhausted medical student,  on the tail end of 5 consecutive interview trips away from home. This time, he's in the faraway land of Pennsylvania. 


The men stood up, pushing their chairs back as they shook hands, thanking each other briefly for their time. More thorough thank yous could wait; there was a plane to catch and a stack of blank thank you cards at home.

As soon as he was out of sight, he checked his watch. He had exactly two hours before his flight departed to deposit him across the state, where he would attend interviews at 2 more schools. There was no time to change out of his suit. Luckily, his flight time was less than an hour. He could handle being crammed onto an airplane in a suit for 45 minutes, especially when the entire plane would be looking at him thinking, "Wow, that guy must be important." He stood up a little taller.

After dashing next door to his hotel to grab his bag, he was in a shuttle on his way to the airport. 1 hour and 30 minutes left, he thought, am I going to make it on time? A notorious worrier, he always assumed he would miss his flights and had been known to arrive at the airport two hours before a domestic flight. He paused for a moment to think, Gosh, is my propensity to arrive at airports way too early annoying to my wife and other loved ones? He shook the thought out of his mind. Preposterous. 

Just as his worrying was reaching its peak, he realized his shuttle was at a standstill. Traffic.  He put his head against the window in defeat, taking in the dreary city around him just as it started to rain. To calm his nerves, he sent a message to his beautiful and hilarious wife. Stuck in traffic. Weather sucks. 

She wrote back, So your flight's delayed?

He hadn't even thought of that. He checked his flight status; his flight was delayed an hour. With this new information, at this rate he would make it to the airport 2 hours before his 45 minute flight. His ideal scenario. He sat back to enjoy the stop and go shuttle ride.

And then, at the airport, sat back at his gate to enjoy the 1 2 3 hour delay.

Finally, he was on the airplane -- his dinner plans ruined; his suit too wrinkled for anyone to believe he was of any importance. 45 minutes, he thought, exhausted, in 45 minutes I'll be there and on my way to my bed. 

Meanwhile, at home his wife watched TV and refreshed his flight status when she remembered. When a red bar appeared, she gasped. Because what else does one do when they're checking to see if a plane made it safely and out of nowhere, a giant red bar that practically screams EMERGENCY! DANGER! pops up? Did no one think of this when they were designing the site? COME ON.



After circling Philadelphia in terrifying turbulence for over an hour, the plane finally landed, and the flight watched as the smelly, exhausted man in the wrinkled suit made his way off the plane. "Is he homeless?" they probably whispered to each other, "Do you think he stole that suit?"

He had only one thing on his mind: a bed. By the time they landed, it was almost midnight. He blocked the next 30 minutes out of his mind: the disgusting airport, the shuttle that never came. The next thing he remembered was standing in the lobby of his beautiful hotel as someone handed him keys, then standing in front of the door to his room, fumbling with the key and contemplating falling asleep on the carpet outside of the door if not for the sweet, sweet bed that awaited him inside.

He opened the door to his hotel room.

There was no bed. 

Monday, January 2, 2012

this year

I will never be one of those people who rolls their eyes at holidays. If you give me an excuse to celebrate, I will do it. (Exception: Sweetest Day. What is that?) When I hit the appropriate age, I will probably wear themed knit sweater vests with musical lightup pins. You have been warned. 

My ideal New Year's Eve would be spent in a crowd of people, head to toe in sparkles, champagne in hand, crossing my fingers no one shoots a gun in the air. (Although this year spent  sitting cross legged on the floor, top half clad in sparkles, champagne in hand, board game on table was not half bad.)

I like resolutions as much as I like sparkles and champagne. I like them so much I make them weekly. (buy eggs, sit up straight, go to the post office)

Every year I make a dramatic list of New Year's resolutions that will never come true because, as I said last year, for one second on New Year's day anything seems possible. 

Too keep myself from being too discouraged when I look back, I throw in a few 
achievable goals. Last year's included fill a journal, have a tea party, do more yoga. The fact that I accomplished all 3 of those makes up for the fact that I didn't learn two languages. 

This year, nestled between write a novel for no particular reason and be on time every single day and never forget anything and always look naturally put together sits take beautiful (or close to it) pictures. I've had my dslr for over a year and I still haven't become fluent in manual. I want to figure it out before  we travel abroad and move to our new city. Doable, no? 

If you see me spending 20 minutes taking pictures of my funfetti fudge, you'll know why. 

Happy 2012, friends! What are your highest of hopes resolutions?