Thursday, September 25, 2003

all by my lonesome

Joe's on vacation for two weeks. I'm on the wards. He's just taken the long weekend (not that he celebrates Rosh Hashana) to go to Baltimore to visit his sister. The dog and I have stayed home. It's quiet here, and lonely. I have to leave the TV on just so there's some noise in the house.

He gets back Sunday night, but I'm on call all day Sunday, so I won't see him until Monday afternoon.

If I wasn't so tired, this would kind of suck. But right now, all I really want to do is go to sleep, so I guess it really doesn't matter if I'm alone or not.

Anyway, I can always snuggle with the dog.

Monday, September 22, 2003

back on the wards

After a somewhat excruciating month on my [upstate New York community hospital] block, I've finally returned to the mother ship and am spending another month on the general Pediatric wards. This is the fourth time I've worked on the wards (I was there once as a third year clerk, once as a sub-I, and once as an intern, in July) and I daresay it's getting easier. Except for the fact that I had to get up at 3:45 this morning. That was not so easy.

They've instituted some kind of computer-based order system during my month away, however, and it's all becoming very confusing. For instance, where we once were able to write in the chart, in plain English, "Please weight the patient today," now we have to do through all manner of elaborate pull-down menus and buttons and scrolling screens in order to find the correct order from a list of thousands. Now it's all ORDERS > ENTER NEW ORDERS > ORDER SET > NURSING ORDERS > VITALS > WEIGHT > DAILY. And even after all that, the only way that you can really get anything done is to go up to the nurse and ask them to do it in person. With the exception of med orders, I feel like the computer system has just made it easier to ignore orders altogether. But it may just be that I'm a technophobe.

I'm on call tomorrow. No kids in the tri-state area had better get sick tomorrow evening, I'm warning you. I'd like to get some sleep, OK?
rotating sushi

Joe and I have recently developed an affinity for a sushi joint in our neighborhood in which individual sushi pieces are placed on tiny placed and rotated around a conveyer belt that traverses the entire length of the restaurant. Diners are arranged in bar-style seating as rolls and brightly colored items (fish and otherwise) are rotated in front of them in plastic-dome encased servings. The quality of the sushi isn't great, and the dishes they serve up are nothing special, but there's nothing that beats a fast, cheap meal where you get to pick your food off a conveyer belt while techno/trance music plays in the background.

Saturday, September 20, 2003

"whores don't get a second chance"

So even though "Bowling for Columbine" was technically next on my list, I felt last night that I needed something slightly more mindless, so rented "Identity" instead. Really not that scary, and I guessed all the plot twists, like (don't read on if you don't want to know) the fact that all the characters were the criminal's multiple personalities, Ray Liotta was the convict, not the cop, and that the kid was evil. But maybe that last one wasn't even so much of a twist at all, because come on, put a non-verbal bowl-cut kid in a movie like that and he has to be evil. It's like, a law.

Joe and I had Thai food for dinner tonight (I ordered my pad thai "medium spicy" and it actually was--they serve a lot of East and South Asian customers there, I guess, so the spiciness standards are higher) and then topped it off with some gelato. Afterwards, we headed over to Borders and I did some reading about Brooklyn, specifically the real-estate market and neighborhood guides. Some pretty little houses and apartments in Brooklyn. My fear is that it's getting so trendy to live there that we might not actually be able to afford it by the time we decide to move. Part of me has this dread that we'll end up living in Jersey or some place like that, but another part of me feels (and maybe this is a sign that I'm getting old) that it would be nice to pay so much less money for so much more space. I'd have to learn to drive, though.

If it were up to me, we'd never move outside walking distance from the subway.
overheard on the bus

Scene: Three children on the crosstown bus, headed home from school. A boy and two girls, all around 6 or 7 years old.

(In the middle of a conversation in progress.)
And you know what? He shaved his head.

Like, bald?

And you know what? He got a tattoo. On his head. Of a dragon.

My cousin? She's older? And she has a tattoo right here.
(Points to her lower back, just above the butt crack.)

(Giggling, imitating GIRL #1, pointing to her butt)
Hee hee!

My cousin has a tattoo. But he's old.

How old?

I don't know, I think sixteen?


When I get old, I want a tattoo right here.
(points to her right deltoid)

(Overlapping GIRL #1)
When I get old, I'm going to get a tattoo with a skull, and with flames, and I'm going to get a tattoo with a skull that's on fire. And there's snakes, three snakes, coming out of its mouth.

I'm going to get a tattoo of a flower.

(Gives GIRL #2 a withering look)

I mean, a tattoo of a butterfly. A butterfly.

(Mollified for some reason)

Also, I'm going to get my tongue pierced. And my belly button.

BOY #1
There's this guy? Who has his neck pierced. (Points with a lancing motion through his trachea) And when he drank? Water would come shooting out of his neck!


Friday, September 19, 2003


We trained the dog to "shake hands" a while ago by making her give us her paw and rewarding with treats. Somehow, she's now gotten it into her head that she's going to extend her paw and whine piteously anytime she wants anything, be it food, a toy, or for us to come and play with her. It's pretty cute, but also freaky, like she's panhandling or something.

And now for something completely different...

I used to smoke in college, did you know that? I mean, I wouldn't call myself A Smoker in the sense that I smoked terribly habitually, or that I was addicted to cigarettes, I just went through a phase where I just decided to pick up smoking. Everyone goes through their vice phase, don't they? (Some who grew up in the '80s even went through a Miami Vice phase.) It was all pretty silly in that college-smoking way, like ooh, I'm so badass, but I admit I kind of enjoyed the period while it lasted. When I graduated and started medical school, I pretty much gave it up. It wasn't hard. Just as easily as I decided to start, I decided to stop. It made me feel a little hypocritical, I guess, being a medical student and all. I also felt, I suppose, that it was time to grow up.

But there are some things that I miss about smoking. Not exactly the feeling of smoking, the tastes or the smells, which frankly are kind of gross to me now. But I miss the rituals of smoking. I liked the time it forced me to take. My senior year, I would pad out of the dorm, mostly with Coleen, and we'd sit outside on the steps or on the grass, light up a cigarette each, and take a smoke break. Just five minutes, whatever else we were doing at the time. During finals, in the middle of the winter, after med school or job interviews, through senior week. We would sit and take a five minute break from whatever and talk. It was nice to have a reason to do that. It was nice to have that excuse. I never smoked alone. There was no point.

It's hard to find time like that now, intimate moments with people that force you just to sit and be still and take time out to catch up. Just five minutes here or there. Life now is so busy. There's always something else to do. There are no more excuses. Coffee breaks entail sipping from a paper cup while walking to your next destination. People in the hospital don't really ever sit down.

It's strange when one of the things you miss about college really has nothing to do with college itself.

Thursday, September 18, 2003


Argh, my tendonitis has gone from bad to worse. I've even tried to figure out the anatomic origin--I think the tendon of by abductor hallucis brevis is inflamed, occasionally getting pinned and stuck under my extensor retinaculum. This creates a occasional and unpredictable piercing pain in my wrist whenever I move my thumb skyward, and a click when I move my thumb down, which is the tendon scraping over the top of whatever was keeping it locked in the first place. This has become increasingly debilitating, especially since it's in my dominant hand, and as I primate, I like to use my thumbs. Motrin helps, but I keep getting paranoid that I'm taking too much and am going to push myself into kidney failure.

I'm tired tonight, aren't you? Maybe the hurricane will hit so hard tomorrow that work will be cancelled. Wouldn't that be nice? I could stay in bed all day long while it rained outside, and maybe go out to see the new Woody Allen movie later in the evening once the storm passed. I guess I could still do that last part.

I guess I must be living in the hills of Tora Bora, but I didn't hear until this morning that J. Lo and Ben Affleck broke up. Broke! Up! Man, if those two lovebirds can't stay together, there just isn't any hope for the rest of us. Yes, but seriously folks, I totally called it, the fact that they would never go through with the wedding (vs. the leading theory that they would actually get hitched, but then quickie-divorce in 5 months). I only wish I had placed some money on it now, in retrospect.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

you decide

Is this a compliment or an insult? "Your butt looks like J.Lo's in those pants."

You're saying my ass is big!

No! How could you construe what I said as "your ass is big?"

Uh, because J.Lo has a big butt, duh.

No, her butt is famous!

For being big!

No, for being nice!

In that big way.

Your butt is not big.

I know, but you said it looked like J.Lo's, so...

I just meant it looked inviting.



Tuesday, September 16, 2003

my elf name is blisters

This is why I only wear clogs anymore.

This morning, I decided that I was going to stop being such a slob and dress up nicely for work. I mean, usually I dress up my body for work (when I'm not in scrubs), but also usually, anything below the ankles is purely comfort-driven. Clogs, Merrells, sneaks, what have you. But for today, I wanted to wear my nice shoes. And for some reason, the nice shoes that I wanted to wear were the Kenneth Cole Reaction shoes that I got one half-size too small at the overstock shoe outlet near my apartment. (I wear a size 6. They only had 6.5 and 5.5 in stock. What in the world possessed me to get the 5.5 I have no clue. Maybe it was misguided small-foot vanity. In fact, it was almost certainly vanity. Sad, really.)

I thought I was doing OK for the first part of the day, but then the blisters started popping up on the backs of my heels. You know how new shoes can have these very stiff heel backs? You know how shoes that are half a size too small can compound the problem? So by the time I got to the hospital, I had folded down the backs of the shoes and was wearing them as slides. But then the toe blisters started. There's just not as much real estate in a nice shoe as there is in a clog. I was used to loft space and now was getting an 8-foot ceiling. My toes were getting smushed from all directions.

One of the nicer nurses offered me some solutions, going as far as to actually apply ointment to my foot blisters (I told her that Band-Aids would suffice, but she gave me a Fashion Police frown and told me that it would be tacky). Still, this was a painful day. I came home and kicked off the damn shoes, swearing to go back to clogs again tomorrow. The great thing about clogs is that you never think about the fact that you're wearing clogs. In fact, you never think about your shoes or feet at all.

As if to add insult to injury, the soles of my pain-shoes were of the black rubber variety, which (I noticed when I came home) left scuff marks all over the hard wood floor, tracing my path between bedroom, bathroom and out the door as I was getting ready for work this morning. This is why they insist you wear sneakers in gym class. The scuff marks rubbed off easily enough, but damn, shoes. Haven't you given me enough problems for one day?

Monday, September 15, 2003

week 4

I still can't stop thinking about the movie we saw yesterday. I think I may be becoming a little bit obsessed with it. We even went out for sushi tonight because that whole atmosphere of Japan was still on our minds.

This week is the beginning of the end. Meaning, in a less cryptic way, the last week of our one month stint at [upstate New York community hospital]. And thank god for that. Not that I didn't learn anything from the time I spent there--there are a lot of procedures to be done in a place where you have to draw all your own bloods and start all your own IVs. But there's also the feeling that the more time I spend there, the stupider I'm becoming. Things that I have learned at [upstate New York community hospital]:

* These people are obsessed with Lyme Disease. A kid comes in with appendicitis, they want Lyme titers. What's with that?

* These people love ceftriaxone. Everyone walking in the door gets ceftriaxone. Because, you know, they could have meningitis. It's possible.

* It doesn't really matter what tests or studies you order--in the end, the attendings do whatever the fuck they want anyway.

I'm not really bitter or anything, because, you know, we had some good times, good stories and all that. It's just all been a little silly. And it's not exactly the kind of medicine I want to practice. Call my nuts, but I kinda like medicine supported by research and evidence and all that wacky voodoo.

"lost in translation"

If you happen to live in New York or L.A., please do yourself a big favor and go see "Lost in Translation." Such a beautiful little movie. Funny, quiet, soft and sad, it so completely captures those little moments in the early heat of flirtation, the wistfulness of unrequited love, and the feeling of being so completely delighted with another human being that you'd rather spend time with them than do anything else. Another great movie that says more with silences than it does with words. I loved it.

Go see it now! And if you don't live in New York or L.A., I'm sure it will be opening in your neck of the woods soon, so look out for it.

Sunday, September 14, 2003


I finally got fed up with the fact that we live in squalor and cleaned up the living room. This involved sweeping up roughly three bales of dog hair and destroyed-toy-fuzz from the floor, Swiffering the whole works (I love the Swiffer), and then spraying the entire couch with copious amounts of Febreeze. I know that Febreeze is kind of gross, not unlike those people who coat themselves with cologne rather than bathing, but I honestly can't figure out a good way to clean our couch right now. So Febreeze it is. Joe is actually a much better cleaner than I am--for example, whereas I wash the floor around the furniture, he actually moves all the furniture out of the room so that he can clean the entire floor, not just the visible parts.

Looks like there's another street fair going on today, stretching up Second Avenue. It appears a little sparse though, with a lot of space between booths. Maybe people didn't set up because they thought it was going to rain. We'll probably take a stroll up to see what the vendors are hawking, though--we may be able to score some irregular bed linens. Woo, irregular bed linens!
saturday movie fest

See, this is the problem with taking a "nap" at 7 o'clock in the evening. You wake up at 11pm and can't sleep for the rest of the night.

What a lazy day today. Joe's on call through tomorrow morning, and while I had to wake up early for an appointment, I had nothing much going on for the rest of the day. Just me and the dog, spending some time together. Did you know that it's the dog's first birthday next week? (OK, pretend I didn't just say that, as it implies that I actually sat down and calculated her birthday to the day. But I did. It's September 17th.)

I wandered over to Astor Place and got a haircut which I can't really decide if I like or not--I gave the stylist free reign, since I was so sick of my current anti-style. She ended up cutting off three inches and gave me "long bangs," also thinning out the bottom, but the total effect is something of a mullet. I'm white trash! Well, it really doesn't matter much, I guess, since I always wear my hair up anyway. But now I have these little pieces (the "bangs") that are too short to stay up in the ponytail. Hell, who gives a shit, it was time for a change anyway. Also, the mullet is back, so I hear.

Ended up caving in to the siren song of unlimited movies and ended up getting that Blockbuster's movie pass. Turns out there were two passes, a 2-movie pass (meaning you could have two movies out at any one time) for $25, and a 3-movie pass for $30. I got the two movie pass. Woo, no late fees! Now I wish we had just gotten it right off, the card would have already paid itself off for the month by now. My only reservation is that I hear that Blockbuster is run by the Christian right and that they edit all the movies that they rent out, taking out the racy sinful parts and whatnot. (They do that on in-flight movies too.) But I really won't be able to confirm it until I rent a movie that I've already seen.

I see the Blockbusters movie pass as an extension of my "film project," a pretentious way of saying that I want to watch a lot of good movies and don't care if no one wants to watch them with me. Today I rented two movies, "White Oleander" and "The Good Girl." Both were kind of chick flicks, I guess, though the latter was more of the indie variety and therefore more difficult to classify as such.

"White Oleander," I scoffed at when it first came out. It just looked like such a weep-fest, and the blondeness on that movie poster was just so blinding that I had to turn away and shield my eyes. But it got really good reviews, and I was interested to see what all the fuss was about re: Allison Loman, so I just rented the damn thing. Does Renee Zellwegger really look that old and puffy, or was that just part of her role for the movie? Also, does Michelle Pfeiffer really look that young, or is she some sort of alien species?

"The Good Girl," eh. It was kind of light, much more comedic and much less dark than was billed. More creepy suburban imagery, what with the Retail Rodeo and such. Don't see all the fuss about Jennifer Aniston in that role, her acting was just like that on "Friends" but sleepier. Love John C. Reilly, though. And it's really quite spooky how Jake Gyllenhaal is a total clone of Tobey Maguire, only more built and handsome looking. He's like genetically-enhanced Tobey Maguire, but not as good an actor.

Next on the list: "Bowling for Columbine"

Friday, September 12, 2003


Just got back from the Brooklyn Brewery, where we celebrated Andy's birthday. Good times. It was really quite a strange scene--it was a brewery, but there were kids and babies all over the place (carried in my trendster parents), and one person even brought their dog. Also, we kept bumping into people we knew. Brian was getting schmoozy with several ER attendings from the hospital who happened to be there, and I bumped into Veronica, a former classmate from high school and college. Honestly, I'm surprised I didn't see more Hunter people. They're everywhere you want to be.

Also, I've finally figured out the mystery of where the play "Rent" would be set if it took place in 2003 rather than the mid-1990's. The entire cast of the play would live in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Of course, Williamsburg is the new Park Slope, which in turn was the new East Village. Now, apparently, Fort Greene is the new Williamsburg, or so I've been told. Or maybe it's Red Hook. Or maybe Dumbo is the new place to be, if the New York Times is to be believed. I don't know, I find it so hard to keep track of the migratory patterns of the transitory trendies. People just keep moving around from place to place to place, from one apartment to another. Whereas the very idea of moving makes me break into a cold sweat, so I don't think we'll be packing up our moving boxes and hiring a truck anytime soon.

But maybe the next time we move, it will be to Brooklyn. Especially if I don't win the lottery anytime soon.
warning: graphic dog anecdote

I think Joe was jealous that I got to sleep with the dog last night. Not jealous of the dog, jealous of me, because we don't usually let the dog in bed with us and he's sad that he missed it. So last night, before bed, he didn't put up the dog gate in the living room and let the bedroom door open.

Does this mean you want to sleep with the dog tonight?

Whatever you want.

Yes, I want to sleep with the dog tonight.

I'm not sure we're all going to fit in the bed.

We'll fit.

You know the only reason I was able to pull off letting her sleep with me last night is because there was one less body in the bed, and she was exhausted from playing all day.

I know.

Where is she going to sleep? There's no room!

She'll sleep between my legs.

I won't tell anyone you just said that.

At 1:30am, the dog, who had been awake since lights out and sniffing around the room, took a flying leap into the bed and landed right in the center of my stomach. Then she came up to the head of the bed, laying her butt on Joe's head, and proceeded to vomit on my pillow. Being asleep, I didn't know what had happened until I was awakened by the sound of her frantically lapping at the regurgitant to destroy the evidence.

The dog stays in the living room from now on.

Thursday, September 11, 2003

real estate

Today was such an uneventful day at work that Mariah (my co-intern) and I spent the entire afternoon in the [upstate New York community hospital] library on the computer surfing the net. We were looking at internet porn, i.e. the Real Estate section of the New York Times.

Oh, look at this. Three bedroom, two bath, newly renovated kitchen, southern exposure. Oh wait, it's in Rego Park.


Guh, I know.

Loft in Chelsea. Converted from office space. High ceilings, exposed brick.

Three bedrooms, one bath? How does that work out? I predict fights a la "The Real World." Also, what do they mean, we have to build our own walls? How do you build a wall? Do I look like Bob Villa?

Next. Park Slope brownstone. Wood-burning fireplace and parquet floors. Historic mouldings and woodwork.

Oh, man. Four bedrooms, three and a half bath. Ooh, eat-in kitchen facing the backyard!


Nice. Can I borrow two million dollars?

Matt (our senior) was laughing at us for what he perceived as our nestiness.

Man, what is it with women and real estate?

It's just fun. Especially since we could never afford any of the places we were looking at.

So what have you been doing all afternoon?

Talking with my broker on the phone about investment opportunities.

Man, what is it with men and money?

All right now.

Surfing the internet all afternoon. That's why they pay us the big bucks.
let sleeping dogs lie

Last night, Joe was on call, so I let Cooper sleep in bed with me. It's cold and lonely in there, OK? Usually I don't like having the dog in the bedroom at night, not because of hygienic or discipline reasons (though she has been known to destroy a shoe or two while unsupervised), but just because she's such a restless sleeper that she keeps us up all night. This is her at night: Thump down, sigh, scratch (with great jingling of dog tags), get up, turn around, thump down again, sigh, yawn, groan, get up, turn around, pick a bale of cotton, get down, turn around, pick a bale of hay. Next thing you know, its 3am and you have to get up in three hours without ever having really fallen asleep.

Yesterday she spent the whole day playing at the dog spa, though, so she was pooped. And since I spent the whole day at the people spa, that is to say, [upstate New York community hospital], I was pooped too. She went to sleep at the foot of the bed. Sometime in the night, I woke up to find her in Joe's exact position, head on his pillow, lying on her side facing me. She had her paw pad planted right in my face. (For some reason, her paws smell like Fritos.)

Now I'm going to work, and she's snoozing on the couch. What a life.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

the soft sell

Did you know that Blockbusters has this deal where, if you pay $30 a month, you can rent unlimited video and keep them out as long as you want with no due dates or late fees? You think, "how can I watch $30 worth of movies a month?" But lo, do the math--that's only six rentals. And while I definitely don't watch six movies a month now, nor is it something that I'm sure I want to work at, we already rented three movies from Blockbuster after getting our membership just this past week, and the month ain't over yet.

* Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. Ugh. Dirty medieval-looking types and swordplay. Hate Elijah Wood.

* The Best of Saturday Night Live: Will Ferrell. Hee. This was just to have on in the background while I was doing something else, but it was funny. I want Will Ferrell to be my baby daddy.

* Punch-Drunk Love. Cute, as I discussed before, but not as good as "Magnolia."

I think that I was really tempted by the $30 unlimited monthly membership, but the Blockbusters employee working the register was all crazed and aggressive explaining the deal to us, so I just really wanted to end the conversation and leave. I'm surprised Joe didn't go for it, though. He's the king of the soft sell. He always gets fries with that. He always wants to save an additional $10 and get $15 free with every $500 purchase by signing up for a card. I just basically want all salespeople to stop talking to me, not prolong our interaction for even a moment longer than necessary.

Dammit, and now the movies we rented this weekend are overdue. I think I have a problem returning things on time. In high school, the library loved me for all the revenue I generated with all my late fees.

It's dark now when I wake up in the morning for work. I don't like that.

Of course, it was always dark during my ward month when I woke up for work, but that's because I was getting up at 4:00am. Excusable. Dark at 6:00am, however, is a little depressing.

Got an e-mail from Andy yesterday that had, as the subject line, "9/12." I immediately got depressed (before I noticed who the e-mail was from), thinking it was some sort of call for a memorial or demonstration or group mourning session. September 11th kind of snuck up on me this year--I didn't even notice it was looming until I checked the calendar yesterday morning. Luckily, Andy's e-mail was about going out for beers on his birthday. I hope it doesn't make me a bad person to be thinking more about going out Friday evening than how I spent my day two years ago yesterday. So strange how we all went through it, but with the passage of time, it's taken on this cast of surreality. It's become like some half-remembered scene from a movie I saw a long time ago. I guess I have the luxury of not living with it every day, though.

I have to go to work now. At least the sun finally came up.

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

working hard or hardly working

Did I mention that I'm at [upstate New York community hospital] this month? Well, I am. It's a very different type of hospital experience from working at the mother ship--a lot smaller, a lot less academic, a lot fewer patients to deal with. For example, we actually get to eat lunch most days.

This morning was busy, though. For the past two weeks, we've been averaging four, maybe five patients a day on the floor. This is a small community hospital, after all. They don't even have a completely dedicated Pediatric floor, let alone a whole children's hospital like we have back in the city. This means we have little babies admitted for asthma exacerbations rooming next door to an 89 year-old demented grandmother who is convinced that she has "trained" her cats to talk.

They're like dogs, I trained them to speak!

Oh, how nice. Like "meow meow," right?

No! They talk! With words!


No, like, "hello, how are you today, I want some food please."

Really? They can say all that?

Well, you have to train them to do it. (Conspiratorially) My daughter wants me to train her cats to talk to, but I refused.

So usually, not so busy here. But this morning, we came in to find thirteen patients on our list. Which would be totally fine back at our home hospital, but here, we don't really have much backup, so we were running around somewhat frantically until early this afternoon. We got rid of a handful, transferring some and discharging others. The rest, we'll probably stick with for the next few days, or at least until their regular pediatricians decide that they can go home. That's the thing about being a resident. You pretty much have to do whatever the attending says, whether you agree with their management style or not.

Come on, community pediatricians! Take a stand! No more unnecessary tests and treatments! Grow a pair and send your patients home!

(Don't tell them I said, "Grow a pair.")
lamest injury ever

I have tendonitis of my right thumb. It hurts when I abduct it. The worst part? I think I developed this tendonitis because I was knitting too much.

Funny thing. We've been talking around the idea of getting a second dog. Partly to give Cooper a playmate during her long days alone, but mostly because we just like dogs. Maybe dogs are like tattoos--once you get one, you just want more and more. Just look at the Osbournes, a family with no shortage of either dogs or tats.

Thus begins our mad slide into becoming Crazy Dog People.

Monday, September 08, 2003

we love my cousin's boyfriend!

Sometimes I love having people visit from out of town, because it makes us go out and do things like regular people. I know, we should be going out anyway, we young fun childless marrieds in the city. But we don't, because we're medical residents, and the old "work is tiring" is a perfect and inarguable excuse. Also, we're lame.

My cousin and her boyfriend are visiting from Down South (I know, I can't believe that I have a cousin from the South either--five Southern cousins total, actually) and we met up with them after dinner for dessert and coffee. Apparently, they've been dating for quite a while, but I didn't even know he existed until fairly recently. I don't know why it was all under wraps, maybe out of fear for Chinese grand-maternal disapproval over interracial coupling. But I guess ever since Joe and I got married (he is Caucasoid as the driven snow), its been open season for all my cousins to own up to interracial relationships that they'd been having all along. Glad we could break the ice there, guys.

Anyway, Joe and I love my cousin's boyfriend. I mean, we love my cousin too, but we knew her already. Pfft. Old news. But this boyfriend, he is truly awesome. Not only that, but he's cute and funny and smart. We love him! We want to hang out with him every day! We want them to get married so that he can be in our family! Not to be like those creepy married people that want everyone else to get married too, know.

We had a good time. We should go out after work more. Fun is not just for the weekends.
"punch drunk love"

So if you haven't seen "Punch-Drunk Love," you should the next time you're at the video store and can't decide what to rent. Very sweet and dark at the same time, and more importantly, proved to me that Adam Sandler indeed has a normal speaking voice.

Off to work now.

Sunday, September 07, 2003

take my money, please

I have a strange problem, in that I really would like to spend some money, but I don't know what to buy. It's kind of like that feeling you get when you have the munchies but you can't figure out what you want to eat. Specifically, I want to go clothes shopping, but all the clothes that I see in stores are either ugly or identical to an item of clothing I already have in my closet. Not that it would be that bad to have two black long-sleeved polo shirts, but it would be a little silly.

It's not that I'm some kind of shopaholic or anything like that, but I do enjoy adding a new item to my closet now and then. (Also, the wonders of direct deposit have made me feel as though money is magically appearing in my bank account, ripe for the spending, somehow erasing from my mind the memory of just how hard I had to work for those few bucks.) Especially now that the weather has been getting so much cooler, I'm itching to do what I can't stop referring to as "Back to School Shopping." I like the clothes I get to wear in the fall. The corduroys, the long sleeves, the light sweaters, the scarves. Clothes that require as much ventilation or sweat-hiding capacity as in the summer, and that aren't as multilayered and bunchy as in the winter.

The problem with my sartorial sense these days is that it's basically gone completely down the toilet because of my work. If the me of four years ago could see the me of today, the MoFYA would call the MoT a slob. Either that, or an old lady. I'm starting to look like an L.L. Bean catologue, for chrissake. If I'm not wearing scrubs, I'm wearing clothes that feel as much like scrubs as possible. Anything fitted starts to feel like its squeezing the life out of you at the end of a 16 hour day, so I just let the schlumpy outfits rule. I haven't worn a pair of cute shoes since my honeymoon. Any garmet that doesn't fit neatly under my white coat is dead to me. Goodbye, pretty cowl-neck sweaters.

My sister already thinks that I'm turning into my mom because I eschew shopping at Urban Outfitters in favor of Ann Taylor nowadays. But come on now, I'm 25 years old, I cannot wear a T-shirt to work that reads, "Jesus is my Homeboy," now can I? (No, seriously, that's a real question--can I? I am in Pediatrics, after all. Could this make me more "down" with the kids, and enhance my ability to "rap" with them? Should I maybe consider wearing this shirt as well?)

The problem isn't just me, though, the problem is the ugly, ugly clothes that they're selling these days. If anyone cares to create a cute but functional fall outfit, I'd be happy to buy it.
he was greasy anyway

I haven't received my US Weekly in the mail yet (the perfect commuter magazine, I have found, because it takes exactly 45 minutes to read through and brings no guilty feelings upon being thrown away immediately afterwards) but I heard on the radio that Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke are splitting up. Oh my land!

Ethan and Uma used to live quite near our neighborhood, before they moved. We saw them out once with their little celeb-baby, wheeling around in front of a hardware store. They looked utterly normal. The only reason I even paused to look, in fact, was the fact that she was so damn tall. Once I realized that it was them (I had just seen "Gattaca" fairly recently), I tried to play it off all cool, pretending not to have noticed, but I didn't really need to pretend--we were walking in opposite directions and they were soon out of sight. Uma looked pretty, but in a regular-person way, and Ethan looked just mainly greasy and stanky. Their kid was just some blonde kid. They were just...normal. But I think that many celebrities that live primarily in New York are by and large more normal than those who live in LA. LA seems like a shiny-plastic-freakshow, and after watching "Barton Fink" on the Independent Film Channel yesterday afternoon, I also know its a place where they destroy your creative spirit and also have dingy hotels with hallways that burst into flame after your homocidal maniac neighbor kills your mistress with an axe.

(New York celeb-related sidebar of envy: one of the residents in my program lives downtown in the same building as Conan O'Brien. I am green, I tells you. If I lived in that building, or even in that neighborhood, Conan and I would totally be tight, because he and his wife have a dog, just like us, so we'd be bound to meet at some point on the street. But we don't live in that building, so Conan and I will never be BFF. Right now, the only celebrity that we've met via dog-connection is Ken, the classic-rock DJ who has a daily show on 104.3 FM. It's just not the same.)
out with the old, in with the nucleus

So we're trying something new now. Obviously, now that my schedule is pretty busy, I've been pretty poor about updating regularly. Or at all. Anyway, I'm sick of having to update four pages every time I want to post something. Hey, I'm healing your children by day, why can't I get a little break when I get home in the evening?

So we'll try this for a while and see how it works out.

So last night, on one of our rare days off together, Joe and I went to Blockbusters and rented the second Lord of the Rings movie. I guess to be all technical about it, I should call it "Lord of the Rings: The Two Tower," but we just kept calling it "Lord of the Rings II." I was trusting Joe to explain the plot to me, since he supposedly read the trilogy in high school, but I think he may have lied, because he didn't seem to know what was going on any more than I did. (In fact, halfway into the movie, he turned to me and said, "You know, I'm not actually quite sure that I really read Lord of the Rings. I think that all these years, I may have just thought I had read it when I really didn't" Aha, the truth comes out.)

I got the rough brush strokes of the plot: nasty Elijah Wood has evil ring, must destroy ring by bringing it back to Evil Land, other people trying to help Elijah Wood, ugly bad monsters trying to kill Elijah Wood and take the ring, Viggo Mortensen is the dreamy leader of the good guys, etc. But what the hell was all that other stuff? What was that nasty Golem character's deal? What the hell was he saying, I couldn't even understand him half the time. ("Precious..." OK, we get it, you like the ring, God.) And why were the bad guys so keen on taking that dumpy little town? It was tiny! Not exactly some strategic outpost, or a big city that you'd actually gain something from conquering. That's like Saddam Hussein trying to destroy Nyack, NY. I mean, you can do it, but...why? Also, what the hell happens when those elves run out of arrows?

I also could not help drawing parallels between LOTR and Harry Potter. Gandalf = Dumbledore. Annoying, naked Golem = Annoying naked Dobby. Goofy sidekick Sam (was he that kid in "Goonies"?) = Goofy sidekick Ron Weasly. All LOTR did for me, aside from making me look forward to the third Harry Potter movie, was make me want to take a trip to New Zealand.