Friday, December 31, 2004


I wasn't going to write anymore until after the new year, but I had to say something about this:

The U.S. originally pledged $15 million in aid for tsunami relief. They rapidly upped that figure to $35 million after being accused of stinginess, hand-waving all the way about how we were the most generous nation in the world.

The tab for President Bush's 3-day inaugeration festivities (including the swearing-in ceremony, the parade, and the black-tie gala) is expected to exeed $40 million dollars.

Helping the millions of survivors of the worst natural disaster in history? Or a really good party? I guess the party wins.

Or how about this? The White House announced that Secretary of State Colin Powell will tour the affected countries next week to assess the need for aid, along with Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida.

Jeb Bush? The Governor of Florida? Why would the governer of Florida be asked to travel with the Secretary of State to assess the status of this international relief effort? You'd almost think he was campaigning for something, or getting ready to run for some higher office...

Oh, shit.

Currently reading: The New York Times, in a quasi-obsessive way.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

hamburger hill

Yesterday, Joe was feeling particularly domestic and decided to make us a big old meatloaf for dinner. And I mean big, because this thing was the size of a Buick when it was finished. Seeing a chunk of solid meat that size sent the dog into paroxysms of joy, but I almost fainted at the thought of us chipping away at the thing over the course of the next week, even if it did smell good. Turns out it makes pretty good meatloaf sandwiches, though. Joe, again with the domesticity, and who is turning out to be a better wife than I seem to be, packed me a little bag lunch for work today, with meatloaf sandwich, pistachios, and a pear, even thoughtfully including two tomato slices in a separate baggie to keep the bread from getting soggy. What, no Ring Dings? No juice box?

We're heading to Buck's County Pennsylvania tomorrow to spend New Year's at a B&B deep in the heart of down-home-kuntry-crafty-antiquing world. We actually tried to get our old room at this other B&B we visited last year, but they were all booked up, the bastards. Not that it really matters, I suppose. Quaint is quaint is quaint. And there are only so many different variations on the standard B&B lumberjack breakfast. Pile o' eggs, pile o' meat, pile o' batter molded into some specialty shape. Am I wrong? Anyway, at least this isn't one of those Unabomber B&Bs that shun technology, so there's a TV and high speed internet connection in each of the rooms. Not that we're bringing computers or anything, but it's comforting all the same. These rural areas freak me out sometimes.

See you in 2005.

Currently reading: Finished "The Kite Runner" yesterday. Man, that book is depressing. Just when you think enough tragedy has occured and it's time for the story to get happy already, something else terrible happens. It reminds me of that movie "Once Were Warriors," in that you basically want to commit suicide when the movie's over. In that good way, I guess. But now I've officially run out of new books to read. Luckily, one of my Christmas gifts from my parents was a Barnes and Noble gift card.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

do it

I just donated money for the tsunami relief effort through the United Nations World Food Programme. So cute with their little European spelling of "Programme" then are. I highly recommend donating something, be it money or time, either through the U.N. or some other relief organization. It makes you feel less impotent than just watching the devastation on TV, and like less of a schmuck for enjoying that turkey sandwich afterwards. Come on, Christmas just ended. I'm sure your grandmother would be more than proud to hear that this is how you spent the Christmas money that she gave you this year.

Did you know that just $10 can buy 500 cups of rice? What a steal! The post-holiday season bargain hunter in you is screaming you'll never find a deal that good ever again! So go! Go now!

Tuesday, December 28, 2004


At the restaurant last night, every table was talking about the tsunami. It's as if everyone was suddenly some seismology expert, this guy to our left talking about shifting tectonic plates, and this lady to our right talking about the Richter scale and past quakes of this dimension. But all in a very removed "Wow, how about that tsunami?" kind of way. Because it's all comfortingly remote for us, sitting pretty in our little Western luxury palaces, seeing the devastation on the news as we flip back and forth between E! Entertainment Television and CNN. We shake our heads, comment to each other about how devastating this all is, and then keep on going about our day. Because it's foreign and far away and it doesn't really affect our day-to-day lives. Remember that huge earthquake in Bam last year, where 25,000 people died? I know, I had forgotten about it too, until now. But the NP at my clinic put it when when she said that the death toll for this natural disaster absolutely dwarfs that of 9/11. (Not that you can compare a natural disaster to an act of terrorism, but 1,200 casualties seemed like a huge number to me, and now we're looking at 50 times that number.) Want to do more? Here's some ways you can help.

But it was the cover of the New York Post this morning that really irked me. The full page headline was about a Czech "supermodel" who had survived the tsunami, and her Sports Illustrated photographer boyfriend, who may not have been so lucky. More than 50,000 people dead across two continents, and this is what the Post focuses on. "As if this weren't bad enough, now you're telling me that ATTRACTIVE WHITE PEOPLE may have been hurt too? Noooooooo! " Please, I know she looks great in that bikini, but let's have a tiny bit of perspective, people.

Currently reading: "The Kite Runner." This book is sad. They'd better get to the "redemption" part of the story quick, or I'm going to lapse into a depression here.

Monday, December 27, 2004


I think people saved pooled all their illnesses and complaints until after Christmas to share with us. Either that, or these big family gatherings are just bogs for viral proliferation. The ER was packed today, and I can guarantee that if your kid was not sick when she showed up in the waiting room, she was sick by the time she left, because when you pack 50 kids into one small room during flu season, bad things happen.

There was some consolation, though. For one thing, there was free pizza, courtesy of the director of the ER. For another thing...well, there is no other consolation. Working during everyone else's vacation sucks. No amount of candy coating (or mozzarella coating) will mask that. At least I'm only in the ER twice this month. I was supposed to have three weekend ER shifts, but I got one of my co-residents to pay me a shift back for a sick call I took for him earlier last year. Thank goodness for small favors, because the Peds ER is absolutely not a happy place in the wintertime. As one resident succinctly put it, "This place is a cesspool."

I had dinner with Jamal tonight, one of my oldest high school friends (meaning that we go way back, not that he's 90 years old or somthing) and we caught up on this and that. These days, we only manage to see each other about twice a year, but we still manage to stay close. I like that Jamal. He's funny, and he knows stuff. Plus, there's a lot to be said for a friend who knew how much of a dork you were when you were twelve, yet still wants to be friends with you anyway.

Currently reading: "The Kite Runner." I've fallen behind on my reading somewhat, what with the Christmas break and all, but I'm sure I'll catch up now that I'm back at work. Which is, I guess, the opposite of what most people would say. But most people probably don't spend as much time sitting on the subway as I do.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

not now, arctic puffin!

Joe and I were watching our new "Elf" DVD this afternoon. If you didn't see "Elf," you must, and if you saw it but didn't like it, I'm sorry, but you're a Commie. Because I loves me some "Elf."

So we were down to the end of the movie, at the part where Santa is trying to escape the Central Park Rangers in his sleigh, only his sleigh won't fly because the engine fell off and the Claus-o-meter is only reading at 60% because not enough people have Christmas spirit. (And yes, I'm aware that I'm not make the best case for seeing the movie in that last sentence, but just trust me on this, OK?) But then Zooey Deschanel leads everyone in siging Christmas carols, and James Caan gets the Christmas spirit and startings singing, with Mary Steembergen and That Kid giving him a big hug of Christmas redemption--and at that moment, Santa's sleigh takes off, soaring over the crowds! And everyone cheers! And we're all happy because Buddy the Elf saved Christmas! Hooray, Buddy!

I am embarassed to tell you that I got a little tear in my eye at this point. I don't know why, because it's not exactly the most sentimental movie, and in any event, I'd already seen the movie once before, so I knew what was coming up. But it's like that scene in "An American Tail" when Feivel gets reunited with his dad, and they're rolling around in that puddle of water. It's just sweet and nice and you get a little misty even though they're just cartoon mice. But I was embarassed, because I don't really cry at movies, and now look at me, I was crying at "Elf," for chrissake. So I played it off and pretended like I was scratching my eye. Scratching my eye with the sleeve of my t-shirt. I thought I had covered my tracks pretty well, getting rid of all evidence of "Elf"-incited tears, when suddenly:

I'm not crying because of the movie.

You're not...what?

I just want you to know, I'm not crying because of "Elf."

MICHELLE are! You're crying because of "Elf!" Because Buddy saved Christmas!


You love Buddy!

Shut up!
(Wiping face surreptitiously)

Well, I was trying to keep this on the down-low, but now I can come clean. I was crying too.


Yeah. I cried when the sleigh took off. I just didn't want you to mock me, so I pretened I wasn't crying. I pretended I was itchy.

Man. I can't believe we cried watching "Elf."

Seriously. But at least it's Christmassy. If we cry watching "Anchorman" next, we'll know we're in trouble.

Merry Christmas, everyone. Hopefully everyone will still be celebrating tomorrow, and my 12-hour shift in the ER will be a quiet one.

Currently reading: "Fair Weather." Because once I get started, I have to go through my whole Joe Matt collection.

Friday, December 24, 2004

rear window

The dog does this at least two or three times a day. At least. Lord knows how many times she does this alone while we're at work.

First she stands by the window with her front paws on the radiator, so she's peering out the window standing upright on her back legs. From the back she looks like some creepy old stalker man, or like Jimmy Stewart in "Rear Window," minus the wheelchair in the leg cast. She'll stand in this position for a few seconds, looking out the window at lord knows what. Then, suddenly, she'll start breathing deeply and the hair along her spine will stand up. And then she'll start whining. And howling. She gets down from her perch whining and howling and running all over the room, and I'll go, "What? What? WHAT?" She'll then run back to her perch by the window, peering out intently, whining at something mysterious and menacing that apparently only she can see.

Let me be clear that there is never anything to see outside the window. Nothing. No birds. No other dogs. No kid trapped at the bottom of a well. And even if there was something interesting on the street--we live on the nineteenth floor. The dog cannot possibly see nineteen stories down to the streets below and focus on anything, let alone some pigeon or chihauhua or discarded food remnant on the pavement to set her off. Maybe if there was some gigantic fire truck or something, with flashing lights, she would be able to see that. But like I said, it's never anything big and obvious like that. So she'll be freaking out about something out the window, and we're just like, "Cooper! What? What? Shut up! God!"

Who knows, maybe she sees dead people. Really tall dead people.

So, it's Christmas Eve, and we never got around to getting a tree. We meant to. We even got new ornaments this year and everything. But getting a Christmas tree is a two-person task, and the likelihood that Joe and I were...

1.) Both off from work at the same time and

2.) Not passed out on the couch as while watching "King of the Hill"

...was extremely low these past few weeks. So now we have all these sad ornaments sitting in a box. Hey, but if we just wait a couple of days, we can have all the free Christmas trees that we want! (tm Calvin's dad) Or maybe we could just get pick a branch off a bigger tree and mount it on a piece of wood to make a Charlie Brown Christmas tree. Then we could stand around it singing "Loo loo loo, loo loo loo loo loo" because Linus taught us the true meaning of Christmas. (Hint: it's Jesus.)

Tonight we're having dinner with my family and doing presents at my parent's house. We open presents on Christmas Eve. Because it allows us to sleep in on Christmas Day, see. I still have some last-minute wrapping to do, because I'm a slacker. Gotta go take care of that.

Currently reading: "Peepshow." Joe Matt drives me crazy. Every time he talks about how much he fetishizes "Oriental women" I just want to smack him. That fucker's lucky he lives in Canada.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

don we now our gay apparel

I don't think anyone is much in the mood for work now, what with the Christmas three-day weekend coming up. (I mean, theoretically it would be a three-day weekend, if I weren't slated for a 10am-10pm shift in the ER Sunday night.) I don't want to work. I don't want to see yet another kid with fever and vomitting. I don't want to fill out any more forms for Head Start or WIC. I want to sit right here, drink hot chocolate with a candy cane in it, wrap presents, and watch The Food Network "Seasons Eatings" programming.

Part of the reason that I don't want to leave the house is that the past in the few days, the weather had turned super-cold. Like, instantly. We were just moseying along in the mid 40's, la la la, mild winter, and then all of a sudden, bam, temps in the teens. What the hell is this, the frozen tundras of Canada? And can't we just surround the entire city in a giant climate-controlled warmth sphere, like Biodome? Come on Bloomberg, if you have the budget for The Olympics and some ill-conceived football stadium on the West Side, surely you can finance my warmth sphere. Call me.

And on a completely different topic, did you hear that the sixth Harry Potter book is coming out in July? Not to be a 12 year-old kid about it or anything, but OHMIGOD, HARRY POTTER, EEEEE! I can't wait for this book to come out. My sister inducted me into the Cult of Potter during my little appendicitis episode two years ago, when I was laid up in the hospital and desperate for things to read that would take my mind off a.) the fact that I was actually a patient in the fucking hospital, and b.) the fact that my roommate was a crazy old bat who kept screaming nonsensical things in Spanish, like that the nurses were trying to kill her. The fifth Harry Potter did not disappoint, though sometimes I got annoyed with Harry's "adolescent" "moodiness" that manifested in his speaking in ALL CAPS because YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT IT'S LIKE SINCE YOUR PARENTS DIDN'T GET KILLED BY VOLDEMORT. And I am less than thrilled with the whole Cho Chang sideplot, and even less than less than thrilled by the hintings of some Ron + Hermione romance. Ick. Let's keep it clean, people.

Currently reading: This article in the New York Times about the history of organ transplantation. So they're considering doing face transplants now? How very like "Face/Off," starring Nicholas Cage and John Travolta. "I will become him."

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

mmm, jesus

Overheard on the local news, from the TV playing in the local deli as I was picking up a soda:

"And, after the break, what's being marketed as 'the perfect Christmas preset'. A candle that Jesus."

Which begs the question: What exactly does Jesus smell like? Frankincense and myrrh? Like leather? Or maybe more like Drakkar Noir?

Currently reading: Finished "Sideways," and it was OK, though nothing all too special. I do like that it explored the dynamics of male friendship though, it's too often ignored in favor of jockery and machismo that counterfiets for real closeness. Now I'm reading "The Kite Runner," which was a recommendation from one of my co-residents. Reading it on the subway yesterday, I looked overand saw that the lady sitting directly across from me was reading the exact same book. Only she was almost done with it. So I guess it's good, then.

Saturday, December 18, 2004


I don't know if this is an aftereffect of our trip to Hawaii or what, but all of a sudden, I'm obsessed with pineapple. Could pineapple be the world's most perfect fruit? Consider:

1.) Pineapples taste good. So sweet (usually), so tart, so juicy. Unlike those fruits that only look like they would be dribbling with nectar yet rarely are (hello blueberries, strawberries, raspberries--well actually, all the berries are to blame), the pineapple actually lives up to the promise. I guess that's the old tropical abundance for you.

2.) Rarely do you have to eat a pineapple that's not already prepared for you. Other fruits, you have to peel and slice and whatnot. But most of the time you have pineapple, it's already carved into little spears or chunks for you. When was the last time you had to peel your own pineapple, I ask you? (Shut up, Martha Stewart, no one's asking you. You probably have some sort of special hand-crafter pineapple peeler implement for just such occasions.)

3.) Have you ever had that cottage cheese with the pineapple in it? This is the most perfect treat in the world. And keep in mind that I'm not even that healthy, nor do I as a rule eat cottage cheese. But it is made delectable by the wonders of PINEAPPLE.

4.) Pineapple is one of the few fruits I'm not allergic to. So call me prejudiced.

Last night I was so tired that I went to bed at 8pm. No joke. I wasn't intending to, I was just reading in bed, and the next thing I knew, it was 10:30pm and the book was on my chest. At that point, I just gave up and decided to sleep through the night, but the consequences of that decision were that I woke up at 4:30 this morning, wide awake and raring to go, two eyes blinking in the darkness like in some kind of damn cartoon.

So obviously, I got an early start on my day, and did a goodly amount of Christmas shopping by the end of it, though I'm still not quite done. I also had a nice surprise waiting for me when I got home this evening--my Board scores finally arrived in the mail. Man, that was a long six-to-eight weeks, I barely even remember taking the test. Anyway, I passed. Glory be. Now I just have to file all my licensing paperwork and then I'll be too legit to quit. And to celebrate my shiny new medical legitimacy--free Vicodin prescriptions for everyone! (Kidding, kidding. Don't suspend my licence yet, it hasn't even been printed up yet.)

Currently reading: "Sideways." A pretty engaging read, full of insights about wine tasting that are totally lost on me, since I can't tell the difference between a fine wine and a crap wine, unless the wine is straight vinegar or similarly putrid. This book must have been easily adapted to movie form, it already reads like a screenplay.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

secret santa

We had our Secret Santa (aka Hidden Harry Hanukka) gift exchange at the hospital today. My Secret Santa clearly must know me fairly well, because the gift she gave me (and I infer "she" from the handwriting) is a romance package for me and Joe, including a bottle of wine, a chocolate fondue kit, and a Blockbuster's gift card. Very sweet, and instantly guilt-inducing, because I clearly did not put that level of effort into selecting my Secret Santa's (Santee's?) gift. I don't even know who to thank, because the Secret Santa reveal won't happen for a couple of days yet, until all the gifts have been doled out. (There were some night-shifters and post-call residents that couldn't make it to the party today.) A thoughtful gift, and no direction for my gratitude: more guilt.

Do you know what's on TV right now? On the WB, no less? "Crossroads," aka "The Britney Spears Movie." She's not a girl, not yet a woman, dammit! I didn't realize Taryn Manning was in that movie. I'm sure she's a woman of many talents and everything, but why does she always look like she rolled out from under a trailer where she spent the night sleeping in a puddle of bong water and chlamydia juice?

Currently reading: Man, I didn't realize how much reading time I was cutting out of my day by not taking the subway last month. Finished "My Sister's Keeper" in just under 24 hours--but I did have several legs to my commute today, hopping back and forth between the hospital and my clinic, and I started the book before bed last night. Overall, it was a gripping story, and obviously a page-turner that raises some interesting ethical questions. I've certainly seen patients on the onc service who were stem cell donors for their siblings, and I even saw a patient who got a transplant from a sib's banked cord blood, the cord blood spookily and fortuitously banked years before the diagnosis was even made. However, there were elements of the story that were a little too Lifetime, Television for Women for my taste, and I thought the use of the different fonts for different characters points of view was a little hokey. I think I can remember who's sustaining the narrative for the next five pages even without the use of Comic Sans or whatever to remind me that ANNA or BRIAN or JESSE is talking, thanks. So yeah, a little cheesy, but sometimes cheese is good, like the time that Coleen lent me Erich Segal's "Doctors," which was by far one of the most cliched, overblown depiction of medical education and practice that I've ever read, full of melodrama and stereotypes--but I tore right through it just the same, not unlike those Sweet Valley High Super Editions. (To be clear, "My Sister's Keeper" is much better than "Doctors," and worth a read if you're interested in medical quasi-fiction.)

Wednesday, December 15, 2004


The problem with some well-intentioned though off-the-mark Christmas gifts is what exactly to do with them once the box has been opened. For example, we just got this in the mail yesterday:

In case it's not absolutely clear what you're looking at there, I'll tell you. It's a hot pink foam cat head wearing sunglasses. The head is mounted on a black wire stand, for our displaying pleasure. And to add that extra dash of functionality, the cat head is constructed around a clothespin (also painted black), that can be squeezed open and shut to give the illusion that the cat is talking. I can't imagine what the pink foam cat head is supposed to be used for, but my best guess is some sort of a note or memo holder. I know. I know.

First of all, I feel bad for even mocking the pink foam cat head in the first place, because it was a gift, and it came from a special place, deep in the heart of a person who maybe thought our desks needed a little extra pizzazz. (Pizzaz? Pizzazzzz? How do you spell that? Oh, screw it, I'm too lazy to look it up.) But then, because it came from these nice people, we can never ever throw it out. Ever. We have to keep it around until the end of time, so that in the off-chance the gifters come over to visit, we can have the foam cat head sitting proudly on some prominent tabletop surface, perhaps with some sort of shopping list clamped in its mouth to show how useful we're finding their present. They gave us the gift because they love us, and because they love us, we can never ever get rid of their gift. Even though it's a HOT PINK FOAM CAT HEAD WEARING SUNGLASSES MOUNTED ON A WIRE STAND WITH A CLOTHESPIN COMING OUT OF THE BACK.

I liked it better last year, when they enrolled us in that fruit-of-the-month club instead.

Currently reading: Was going to start "Sideways," but then I just got a present from Coleen in the mail off my wishlist, the book "My Sister's Keeper," which was actually recommended by one of you guys. (I'm sorry, I can't remember who--remind me, so I can give you credit.) Yay! So I'm going to read "My Sister's Keeper" first, because it's a present, and vaguely medical, which as you know is one of my guilty leisure reading pleasures, despite my job and all that.

This wishlist thing is something kind of new for me, so at first I was all shocked and couldn't figure out how Coleen knew that I wanted to read this book in the firstplace. But duh, I made a wishlist, and duh, even though I never told her about it, you find people's wishlists by searching on their names. Welcome to the nineties, Dr. Au. Anyway, then I tried to search on my name to find my own wishlist, just to see if it would work, and I discovered that there's another Michelle Au with a wishlist on, only she lives in College Park, Maryland. Who is this other Michelle Au? I must find her and destroy her.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

christmas card roundup

I never really did Christmas cards before Joe and I got married. But now I do, because Joe is some sort of mega card-sending guru, and if I didn't pitch in or mail out a few, I would feel like the biggest slacker on the planet. This year, like last year, we ordered up some photo cards from Ofoto. Here's the photo we took:

Click the photo to see it even bigger. Aside from blowing up our mugs to monstrous proportions, the only reason you would want to magnify is to see that the text on our pagers read "NO PAGES." And underneath, the text on the card, "Silent Night". Oh, but we are so clever. And lame, with our Photoshop skillz.

We addressed a bunch of the cards today, in preparation for me stamping them all and unceremoniously dumping them off in the mailbox tomorrow morning. I addressed some to my high school friends, friends from college, friends from med school, and my family. It didn't take terribly long. And then I realize why I never sent out Christmas cards before. I hardly know any people at all.

Currently reading: Just finished "Friday Night Lights". Good book, and the first one in a long time that I've been able to finish in just two days. Well, except for comic books. Big thanks to Claire for the recommendation! I keep telling Joe he should read it too, since he grew up in Ohio and played football in junior high, but I know he won't, because he doesn't read for leisure for some reason. Next on the list is "Sideways," which is getting quite a lot of attention these days since the movie based on the book just got nominated for a whole mess of Golden Globes.

Monday, December 13, 2004

walk-in doctor

I was the walk-in doctor at my clinic today, meaning that I saw all the patients who didn't have scheduled appointments but who showed up with various and sundry complaints. In all, I saw sixteen patients over the course of the day, and due to the nature of the job of walk-in doctor, all of them were sick. It was like having my own mini ER. If I don't catch something by the end of this rotation, it will truly be a miracle.

Being on outpatient, I've had to rejigger my schedule somewhat, mostly for the better. For example, instead of waking up two hours before sunrise, now I get to wake up only half an hour before sunrise. Sweet! Also, since my start-time is later than Joe's, I've forfeited my ride into work, and am back into the hustle and bustle of my one hour mass transit commute to the hospital. Can't say I really mind it all that might, though. Sure, I spend an extra hour or so a day commuting, but there's something very Zen about sitting on the subway, reading a book, maybe with a hot chocolate in one hand. But that's if you get a seat. Standing on the subway for the commute uptown is decidedly un-Zen. It would classify it more as one of those yoga torture-poses.

Tomorrow morning I'm supposed to be at the Genetics clinic, and then am on scheduled to be giving vaccines at my general Peds clinic in the afternoon. I don't like giving vaccines. Usually when I see my own patients, I just write which vaccines the kids are supposed to get, and the nurses do the dirty work. But I guess on outpatient, they want you to get the FULL GENERAL PEDIATRICS EXPERIENCE, hence my afternoon will be spent drawing up and dispensing little vials of Pediarix, PedvaxHib and the like. I hate being the bad guy. The worst is with little babies, that look on their face right after you jab the needle in and depress the plunger. That progression from smiling to stunned to screaming their fool heads off, when they finally realize that they've been betrayed.

Currently reading: "Friday Night Lights." This is a really interesting book, despite the fact that I have basically no idea what they're talking about when they get into the nitty gritty football parts. Thanks to my commute, I've already finished half of the book in one day! It's all especially fascinating for me, because I attended both high school and college at institutions where there was no football team at all. The idea that a high school would charter a private jet to fly their players from Point A, Texas to Point B, Texas is mind-blowing. I hope there'll be a point later on in the book where Dawson, in a fake Southern accent, spits out "I don't wahnt...your lahfe." That would be awesome. Especially if Dawson's character was named "Boobie". Can you tell me that Boobie never, ever got made fun of in the locker room? Please. (For those of you who haven't read the book yet...uh, there's a player on the team named "Boobie". Which I'm sure you've well figured out by now.)

Sunday, December 12, 2004

what to wear to a brunch

We had a fun albeit whirlwind (read: tiring) visit to Baltimore on Saturday, packed with family and gifts and lots and lots and lots of food. So much so that I feel kind of ill, even the next day. It was like some sort of Norman Rockwell Christmas extravaganza, with all the requisite trimmings. They even had ye olde Christmas ham, which is something I've never had before. I mean, not like I've never had ham ever, because duh, I do live in the universe--but moreso in sandwich form, not so much the giant hunk of loin requiring carving and the like. My family is more of a roast beef and turkey clan, even though the more I have turkey, the more I realize that I don't really like it all that much. Maybe in a soup. But not to gnaw on the actual bird carcass.

So there was that. And now, this morning, we have to pile back into the car and drive on over to Scarsdale (which I imagine you have to say with a haughty upper-class accent: Scahs-dale) where the ophthalmology department is having a holiday brunch that we're obligated to attend. What does one wear to a holiday brunch anyway? Spring and summer brunches are easy to dress for, all linen and cute sundresses and the like. But a holiday brunch is tougher. First of all, there are temperature issues to consider. I must protect mine tender ass from freezing off, yet still ensure that said ass looks nice. Secondly is how to look festive and put together without looking a.) like you're dressed for work, b.) like you're dressed for the prom, or c.) like a whorish lady Santa Claus--think short red dress with fur-trimmed boots (and don't laugh too hard, because I saw one of the attendings dressed exactly like this in the hospital a week ago). I decided to go with the flowered skirt and sweater set option. At the risk of looking too button-down with the sweater set, the skirt has some little sequins on it, though you can only see the sequins if you look very closely. Which I hope no one will, because that would be weird.

Currently reading: This article in the New York Times about a case of elder abuse. I want to nominate it to Dave Eggers for his next annual Non-Required Reading compendium, but I'm not sure they take nominations. Do they?

Thursday, December 09, 2004

hibernation over

Hey all. Sorry for the brief absence, but I've been channeling all my meager energies into making it through my last week on the wards. It's pretty much all wrapped up, though, and I took my final call last night. The interns, very sweet as they are, gave me some feedback that they thought I had done a great job as ward senior, and that they hoped they would be as confident and knowledgable when their turns came next year to assume the helm. It's so funny to hear that, because I thought the exact same thing about my seniors early in intern year. With a good senior, I always felt that a.) they knew everything, b.) there was nothing they couldn't handle, and c.) they would swoop in and save me from harm or scary patient situations at the slightest provocation. Now, having been senior, I realize how much of that is just projection and the natural willingness of an intern to want to defer ultimate responsibility with someone who has a little more experience than they. So yes, I did have more experience than the interns, and therefore had more skill at pattern recognition, which is what a lot of medicine boils down to. But I cannot tell you how many nights I've been on call, walking around the hospital, thinking to myself, "I can't believe they let me be in charge around here."

So anyway, it was another night on call, and all my patients lived. The end. After clinic tomorrow, I have a weekend off, and our plan is to drive on down to Baltimore to pay a surprise visit to Joe's sister's brood while Joe's parents are also in town, visiting los ninos for the holidays. (I don't know how to make the little wiggle worm on top of the 'n' there. Please forgive my bastard Spanish.) All of a sudden, it's all Christmassy everywhere, like a box of tinsel and lights exploded over the city sometime after Thanksgiving. I am scandalously behind in planning all things holiday, including contemplating gifts or even just generally allowing myself to slip into the mood. I did peek in on a Christmas party for the kids in the hospital, amusing myself with wry observations about the too-enthusiastic DJ and the fact that half the kids there were actually orthodox Jews, but I think that's the closest to warm and fuzzy that I've gotten so far this year.

One thing that I love about Chrismas, though, aside from all the family time and Precious Moments and blah blah blah is the movies. All the good movies come out around Christmastime. A partial list of what I want to see this year.

  • The Life Aquatic, with Steve Zissou. Because I love Wes Anderson and I love Bill Murray. A lot. I saw him at the hospital a few weeks ago (he was there for some sort of fundraising thing), and I almost did a teen-girl-at-a-Beatles-concert thing, screaming and tearing at my hair.

  • Closer. Because they're all so pretty. Oh yeah, and the acting or whatever.

  • Vera Drake. Well, I guess this movie has been out for a while. But nothing says Christmas like the story of a kindly abortionist in 1950s London!

Maybe I'll actually be able to stay awake past 8pm next block so that I can actually make it to the movie theater. I'm on Outpatient next, which is good in terms of the hours, but bad in that I'm not really sure that I like clinic time. In fact, I'm fairly sure that I hate clinic. The school forms kill me. At least it's not August anymore, with all my patients starting school. That was paperwork hell.

Now I supposed I should start thinking about what to eat for dinner.

Currently reading: "Salt." This book is making me hungry for cured meats.