Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmastime in New Orleans

In case you're curious, the first thing you should know about New Orleans is that the French Quarter is full of loveable weirdos. 

Like this guy.

In all my years of spending time in New Orleans, this is the first picture of me in Jackson Square. (I'm not a tourist, psh.) And I had to cut it off because my former favorite shirt makes me look about three months pregnant. 

(At first I said nine months pregnant but Y, in his infinite medical wisdom, assured me I only looked three. This is still disconcerting because I am definitely ZERO months pregnant.)

Here's a tip if you find yourself eating at the famous Commander's: They're going to push your chair in for you. Do not -- I repeat, do not --  put your full weight on the chair. It won't go anywhere. It will be embarrassing for all parties involved. Clearly I'm not used to eating at fine dining establishments.

Tip #2: order the cheese grits. For the love of God, order the cheese grits. 

Two views of Larry Flynt's Hustler Club.

Christmastime in New Orleans = 85 degrees and 85% humidity. It never seems to affect my friends who somehow can wear pants in that weather, but I had to wear as little clothing as possible and I still sweated far more than is appropriate for a lady. Thank goodness the glow of the Roosevelt's Christmas lights made my hair look presentable. 

(Just kidding, I photoshopped my stringy bangs. My blog, my rules.)

Louisiana road trip

There's a highway that takes you from central Louisiana to south Louisiana, a highway that I've driven more times than I can remember. I can tell you which bathroom smells the best. I can clue you in to where the police are hidden just waiting to pull you over. I know which gas stations have Starbucks Frappucino drinks, and which only have Red Bull.  

Usually this highway is a means to an end; just another leg of a long, boring drive. But this time, in our rental car that smelled of stale smoke and a desperate whiff of "new car smell" air freshener, we decided to treat it like a proper road trip.

Which, let's be honest, just means that I took out my camera.

Rule #1 of road trips: you don't choose your road trip music... it chooses you.

These abandoned FEMA trailers have been sitting on the side of the highway for years. 

Good sunglasses are a must. Many thanks to Y's dad for donating these slightly used (read: have been run over by a lawnmower) Ray Ban wayfarers. 

Sugarcane fields as far as the eye can see. 

My road trip partner in crime -- we've driven across the country together twice (and then some) and still kind of like each other.


 My only complaint is that he never lets me stop for roadside fruit.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

weekend lessons: holiday 2013

01. Apple cider + caramel vodka +whipped cream. The best drink.

02. A 40 degree day in December is like summer in Minneapolis. I walked Ike to the lake yesterday (without a jacket! I've adapted!) and the path was clogged with people. The hill was full of kids sledding. And on the lake, a group of about 20 people was having an organized snowball fight. It was like a freaking postcard.

03. It seems like every single time I'm bored at home and decide to watch TV, Garth Brooks is on TV in some capacity. I'm starting to think he's my fairy godfather or something.

04. If a genie popped up right now, I would wish to go back in time, take voice lessons, and end up in an a capella group. This is because I'm currently under the influence of binge watching the entire season of the Sing Off.  I've even googled "how to beatbox". There was nothing. Google should stick to diagnosing medical problems and aiding in the search for porn, because it's not good at a capella training.

05. On Friday night, I went to a yoga sculpt class (like yoga, but with weights and loud music ranging from Britney to Bieber. So, not like yoga). This particular class had a surprise DJ and ended up being an impromptu dance party. My second wish (assuming that genie didn't laugh at my last wish and disappear back into his lamp to find normal people who wished for money or world peace) would be that everyday included an impromptu dance party.

06. Ike might be just a tad too big to sit on our laps.

07. I've never been a fan of Express, but haven't really been able to explain why. For some reason, I felt compelled to go in the other day and ended up buying a few basic tank tops with built in bras. There are holes in the sides of the tank top in case I feel like stuffing my built in bra. 

And that pretty much sums up the vaguely trashy vibe I get from Express.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

spaghetti night

I think spaghetti night is my favorite night; Y turns on Louis Prima and doesn't let me in the kitchen ("only my dad and I can cook my grandfather's spaghetti bolognese recipe.")

(that rule should apply to all recipes.)

the recipe lives on a crumpled index card on our refrigerator, scribbled in medical shorthand.

there's wine. the fancy stuff, from Trader Joe's. 

Ike is never far, whining more for broccoli than the meat sauce. We did something right there. 

dinner is NOT consumed on this nice wood table that made the trip from Louisiana to Minneapolis. we eat in front of the TV, like everyone secretly does. how else will we ever finish West Wing? 

dessert is tea (always tea) and whatever goodies we have on hand. Tonight's menu: homemade graham crackers from Lucia's and peppermint bark gelato. 

also, Ike whined more for the graham crackers than he did the broccoli, so we're back to square one on being awesome dog owners.

Monday, December 2, 2013

residents and those who love them

Sometimes I think that every other picture I have on my phone is of my husband (and dog) sleeping. But that's what happens with residents -- they sleep a lot. 

They also text you things like this:

When Y was in med school, most of my blog posts were about med school. These days, I rarely talk about residency because -- thank goodness-- Y's career doesn't consume my life anymore. I have my own job that has nothing to do with medicine, my own friends that talk about things other than our husbands, and a city full of distractions. 

But I kind of miss being a voice of sanity in an audience that sometimes could use a little...well, sanity. So many of the websites and blogs for medical spouses that I come across are doom and gloom, and life just doesn't have to be like that. 

Last January I started a second blog called Medicine: A Love Story, that had a lot of interest but became difficult to keep up with. The idea of it was features such as city guides, book reviews, FAQs, medical spouses groups' spotlights -- peppered with humorous anecdotes about medical life. (Such as this one). All of it with a good natured, you can do this and hey, is it really that terrible? vibe. 

I'm trying to think of an easier way to revive it -- weekly, bi-weekly or monthly e-mail instead of a blog? A weekly "column" on this blog? Just start posting on the other blog again and pretend it wasn't dormant for 8 months?

Any ideas from you brilliant Medical Monday people?

Sunday, December 1, 2013

the thankful Sunday Currently

C  U  R  R  E  N  T  L  Y  .  .  .  

F E E L I N G 

If Thanksgiving happened and no blogger posted about how thankful they were, would Thanksgiving really have happened? Ponder that for a moment. Obviously, I'm feeling thankful, and the fact that I keep accidentally typing thanksful shows me that I type "thanks" an awful lot.

 Ike watching the dog show | pumpkin caramel pie | Y and our spread
apple cider caramels wrapped up to be gifted | my thoughts on Thanksgiving | blackberry fizz cocktails in my favorite thrifted glasses

I'm thankful for the Thanksgiving spent cooking together, for just the two of us, and the successes that came out of that marathon day of cooking (Y's brined turkey, this yeasted pumpkin bread, the pie above, cranberry satsuma sauce, challah stuffing) and the failures (sorry Joy the Baker, your brussels sprouts and mushroom hash just wasn't doing it for us) that taught us one of Thanksgiving's most important lessons: just stick with regular brussels sprouts, dammit. 

Ike loves car rides but is also terrified of them; here, his terrified face | Y hiking on water
Stuffing your face and then falling asleep by the fire: the perfect friendsgiving

Also thankful for Friendsgiving, Brunchgiving, a quiet Saturday after Thanksgiving hike, the pictures my dad sent from the giant family Thanksgiving I'll hopefully attend next year, and that amazing Iron Bowl conclusion. 

R E A D I N G 

Meg Wolitzer's The Interestings. So far, I'm a big fan.

W R I T I N G 

On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, I sent a few packages containing my work's magazine, for which I write a lot of the content (which is about all I've been writing lately), and some hand-written notes. The entire day, I kept checking my e-mail for a reply. Oops.

L I S T E N I N G 

My weekend has been filled with the sounds of A Very She & Him Christmas, football and its screaming fans (and sometimes obscenity screaming fans -- thanks LSU student section), the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and, currently, I'm listening to the United States of Americana on The Current (the best part, as I've said before, about Sunday mornings!)

S M E L L I N G 

There's a nearly empty cup of tea and a satsuma peel in front of me. The smell of tea + citrus peels is one that reminds me of my in-laws' house, as we would sit around the kitchen table drinking tea, talking, and furiously peeling clementine after clementine. 

W I S H I N G + H O P I N G 

At the end of a yoga class I take on Monday nights, the teacher says, verbatim, in the same tone and cadence week after week, "May all beings everywhere be happy and free" and it always makes me giggle (proving something I always knew -- I will never be a true yogi) and for some reason that is the only answer I can think of for this post. 

W E A R I N G 

As soon as I finish typing this post, I'm on my way to help a friend decorate her apartment for Christmas. I'm wearing the closest thing I have to an ugly Christmas sweater: my beloved crazy dog lady sweater.


Navy blue nail polish. When "Timber" comes on in the middle of a workout class. Satsumas. Peppermint white hot chocolate.  The clean new look I gave my blog a few weekends ago. 


I'm so looking forward to day 4 of Thanksgiving food: leftover turkey, cranberry sauce and stuffing, open faced, on a piece of pumpkin bread. 

N E E D I N G 

Probably to stop eating leftover Thanksgiving food. 

(linking up with Lauren at Siddathornton!)

Monday, November 25, 2013


Whenever I'm asked what my last meal would be, I always answer the same way: Thanksgiving.

(Note: I don't think anyone has ever actually asked me this question... it's just one of those things I have stored away in case anyone does.)

But then I start to get nervous. What if I'm held at my word and never get to eat cereal again? Or french toast? Or huevos rancheros? No one should have to live their final moments without huevos rancheros.

So, in my head, I change my answer to breakfast.

And then I think about sweet potatoes. And stuffing. And macaroni and cheese.

(If you ever see me staring off into space, this is what is going through my head.)

I figured it was high time someone combined the two, so for our version of a friendsgiving, we went with Brunchgiving. 

Pumpkin bread pudding muffins. Pear thyme mimosas. Breakfast stuffing with a "fried" egg on top. Cinnamon biscuits with pumpkin gravy.

It was -- to use a very Minnesotan adjective -- delightful. 

(And yes, I do like to make logos to commemorate things that happen at my house. What do you do while you watch TV?)

Monday, November 18, 2013

when your dog eats a chicken bone

It all started because I thought there was fried chicken on the ground.

You have to understand that in Louisiana, where I lived for most of my life, finding discarded fried chicken on the ground is not uncommon. So when Ike grabbed something off the sidewalk the other day, I was sure it was yesterday's chicken, ready to rip up Ike's insides and cause internal bleeding that would lead to his untimely demise.

(I'm a very glass-half-full kind of person.)

I made a snap decision that I was going in. And by that I mean that I stuck both of my arms in his mouth -- one hand held his top jaw open, the other held the bottom -- and shook his head, hoping the chicken bone would fall onto the ground.

It's important to note that when you stick your hands deep down the throat of a dog who is in the process of chewing something delicious, he'll probably bite you. That happened. Right on that soft piece of skin between my thumb and forefinger. I never realized how crucial that part of my body is to, well, function. I will never take it for granted again.

Anyway, I persevered, determined to get the chicken bone to freefall out of Ike's mouth.

And it did.

Except it was a granola bar, not fried chicken.

Lesson learned -- in Shreveport people litter leftover fried chicken. In Minneapolis, they litter granola bars.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Ashcroft: The Carols Visit a Ghost Town

Let me preface this post by saying that I always knew what a ghost town was.

We all did. But when the five of us started talking about visiting Ashcroft, drunk on the simple fact that we were together (and maybe a few mugs of apple cider + salted caramel vodka), somehow the concept lost all meaning and then someone suggested we wear white sheets and walk around going OOOooooOOOOoooo and that was it: We had somehow convinced ourselves we were going to visit Casper. (In the back of my mind I might even have pictured Devon Sawa whispering Can I keep you?). 

And then I got out of the car and all hopes of Devon Sawa vanished from my brain. "Oh," I said, rather disappointedly, trying to hide the confusion from my face. "This is... I mean, I knew.."

I looked around at my friends, who also looked like they wanted to slap their foreheads and yell DUH. (90s habits die hard)

"Good thing we didn't wear our sheets," said one.

Monday, November 11, 2013

DIY Pumpkin Air Freshener

I sometimes feel like I spend every waking hour out of my house, so on the weekend, I love to sit at our house and just enjoy the little home we've created. And in the fall, well, if it doesn't smell like pumpkin... what's the point?

I just had to share this 2 ingredient, $2.50* DIY for a pumpkin scented house. 

First you'll need to buy a box of pumpkin spice tea. I went with the Celestial brand, on sale at Target for $2.50.

Leave the tea, unopened, on your kitchen counter. Leave the house.

Here's where your second ingredient comes into play: your dog, who apparently has a zest for fall akin to that of a blogger.

Your house will smell like a pumpkin explosion. And you'll need to buy more tea.

*I said $2.50 but I really meant $2.50 plus adoption fees, yearly shots, food, treats, emergency vet bills, and other various canine accessories. So I kind of lied.