Thursday, May 20, 2010

ok, ok

I haven't updated for a while, to the point that I was starting to get performance anxiety about my next post, like after two weeks off, whatever I put up there better be good. (You can see, of course, the ultra high standards to which I have held my blog in these past few months--that is to say, I try to mostly capitalize where needed and I do not use Microsoft Paint to draw pictures of penises onto people's faces.) But then I remembered that the best way to break out of that no-writing funk was just to throw a bunch of writing up there and just apologize in advance. So!

Really I just need something to do because the chatter on the internet (in the form of the SDN forums--I find it a little embarrassing calling attention to the fact they are globally known as the Student Doctor Network as I know that a good many people who check by on the forums are actually finished with the "student" phase of their lives; I in particular only check in with it to assess when I should be freaking out about a thing and how much I should be freaking) is that the results of the Anesthesia Oral Boards are to be posted today and I need something else to do instead of ritualistically checking my e-mail every five or ten minutes. So this is good, because I am writing this blog entry on my new iPad (about which more later--I got a bluetooth keyboard to pair with it so I can actually type more than 20 words per minute) and since the iPad famously cannot multitask, I can't exit out the check my e-mail without closing this window. This is known as forced distraction.

So, the iPad! It was a present. From me. To myself. We got the next installment of my book advance recently, and though I kept telling Joe that I wasn't going to use it to get anything for myself, I would just put it in the bank and save it for bills or childcare or to send Mack to Space College (for, as you know, that is what all kids will attend in The Future--no, not Starfleet Academy, that's fictional, I'm talking about a university on the moon), I found after looking deep within my soul that actually, I really, really did want an iPad. And also, Joe just started his attending job at [Big Academic Hospital] in town, which means that we are actually a two income family now with a little more to save, so what the hell am I, Hamlet? I got the fucking iPad. And it is awesome.

The best, best thing that I love about the iPad is the fact that I can download Kindle books onto it, and I can already tell that this is going to change my freaking life. Back when the iPad was just a glimmer in Steve Job's eye, I was seriously considering getting a Kindle, though I ultimately didn't because I was trying to save my pennies. But the iPad is like a bright, color Kindle on which you can surf the internet, listen to podcasts, and play Plants vs. Zombies. If you got a boner just now, I'm pretty sure that you would like the iPad. And now I'm going to stop because who isn't already sick of hearing about this thing?


* * *


So I went to Target the other day to get some cookie mix, because Cal's class is having a "summer birthday party" celebration for all the kids who, by disadvantage of conception, celebrate their birthdays during summer vacation. Cal's birthday is July 22nd, so I'm going to send him in with some cookies for the party, because I want to pretend like I'm a real mom or something. I know that making cookies from a dry mix is not very impressive, but we're going to put M&Ms in them so who's going to tell me that's not totally fucking creative? YOU?

Anyway, so I was walking to the checkout line when I heard some lady talking what sounded very much like Cantonese, except the words didn't make any sense. For those of you who don't speak Cantonese, the sound of the language is very characteristic because it has a lot of tones and a lot of wide, flat vowel-type sounds (there was actually a great "Radiolab" episode about such so-called "tone-languages,"--but I digress), and I was looking around for the other Chinese lady when I realized that the sounds were actually being emitted by the lady at cash register, who was, in fact, a youngish African-American lady. She very pleasantly then turned to me and waved me over. "I can take you at this register." So I pushed my cart into her line and paid for my cookie mix.

"I'm sorry," she said, "I didn't see you." I told her that was OK, thinking she was still talking about ringing up my items. But then she went on. "My friend over there," she gestured to the other cashier one line over, a younger guy, "always says that I look Chinese, because my eyes are slanty." She used her fingers to push up the corners of her eyes, to illustrate what exactly she meant. "So he always calls me Chinese. So we just joke around and I pretend to talk Chinese to him." She smiled at me. "So that's what that was. I didn't see you." She handed me my bag of cookie mix. "I just didn't want you to think I was disrespecting you or anything."

She seemed so nice and so utterly without guile that I just smiled at her and told her that her Chinese language impression was actually pretty good.


* * *


I'm going to go check my email again.

Edited to add: I passed! U-S-A! U-S-A!

39 comments:

  1. I got a Kindle for Christmas from my boyfriend and I love it, I have to admit, it is very addictive to 1. buy books and 2. download samples of books. I spend hours at home (and at work, I know I'm a bad person)researching books that I may find interesting. I think the coolest part about Kindle is how I can read books on my PC at work or on my Blackberry. Next month I'm upgrading to an Android phone and they just came out for a Kindle for Android app, which I of course will be a sucker for. I have to admit, the iPad is very pretty and the more I see it, the more my interest is stirred, but since I'll be in school full time in a couple of months...I'd better save that money!

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  2. christine3:07 PM

    I recently inherited a Kindle from my father (who just needed an excuse to get the newest Kindle), and while it took me a few weeks to get over the "but this isn't a book with PAGES" and "but this isn't a BOOK with new-book smell!" lamentations, I'm now officially hooked. It's all too easy to purchase a book after reading a sample of it -- kind of like being at the bookstore and having a robot find all the books for you, but at Amazon prices.

    Well, near-Amazon prices. The digital versions that I see are usually only ~$3 cheaper than the cheapest print edition, but having the book delivered instantly to the Kindle? Awesome.

    And the iPhone app doesn't hurt either -- I've pulled it out during talks under the guise of checking my email, but I'm secretly catching up on whatever book I'm reading at the moment (Amazon offers the ability to sync your book progress across all devices).

    Time to get an iPad, methinks.

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  3. the iPad seems to bring out your feisty side :) it sounds awesome!

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  4. I would be all over the iPad--if I had the money--for the reasons you listed, except that with Steve Jobs's refusal to have anything to do with Flash, I wouldn't be able to listen to any of the BBC radio stations, whose iplayer requires Flash, and that would be a very sad thing for me.

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  5. Anonymous5:30 PM

    Let me be the first to say: CONGRATULATIONS, BOARD CERTIFIED ANESTHESIOLOGIST!

    We all knew you could do it.

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  6. And the second one -- straight from Twitter to Blogger to offer my congratulations too! Any chance of flying you back up to NYC if I ever need your services?

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  7. Anonymous6:44 PM

    Congratulations!!! Enjoy the Board Certified glow :)

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  8. Anonymous6:55 PM

    Congradulations!!!

    I hope I will score high on my MCAT. If I get into medical school, by the time I get to where you are at, I will probably be 35-40 years old.

    Using cookie mix is a sure way that you won't mess up on baking cookies unless you burn them. I tried making them from scratch and I thought they weren't sweet enough.

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  9. Anonymous6:58 PM

    Congrats Michelle! I never doubted you would pass! :)

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  10. Congrats! Kudos to you!

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  11. fourthyearozmed7:20 PM

    Congrats!
    Also, you're swearing more lately...
    I fucking love it.

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  12. Hahaha, what?! Thank goodness she did not disrespect you!

    I have had several people tell me that I look part Asian. I guess I have an epicanthic fold. Sounds like this girl might too, since it occurs in certain African groups as well. Of course "slanty" rolls off the tongue much more easily. :P

    Also: CONGRATS!!!

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  13. Congratulations! Good going!

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  14. iPad: OK, now, you ALMOST have me convinced that I will get one. However, living in Beijing, in the land of the Great Firewall of China may make downloading books off Amazon a bit of a hassle (needing to use VPN's & whatnot to surmount the block). So will need to check with my own domestic tech support team (read: husband and/or Son #1) if it will be a worthwhile investment when we go back to the US during the summer holidays.

    Passing the Boards: YAY!!! Congratulations, you Board-Certified Anesthesiologist you!

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  15. I think you handled that awkward racial impression interaction well. I am half Chinese/half Irish and have had several occasions where (seemingly nice, not-outwardly-bigoted) people have made off color remarks about my ethnicity. I never know what to do - Call them out? Yell at them? Laugh and tell them I make fun of my own races too? I like your approach - assess the intent of the remark and don't overreact.

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  16. Anonymous9:01 PM

    Perhaps I overreact then. But the whole "slanty eyes" business? I would have none of that. I'm sorry. I guess that makes me a bad person for calling them out on it. Mind you, I would be doing it with a smile.

    (I'm Asian. It doesn't matter that I don't have the slanty single fold eyes. I find it offensive like the word oriental. Perhaps I'm spoiled by living in a more diverse city.)

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  17. Of course you passed. I expected nothing less. Congratulations.

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  18. I once had a (Caucasian) attending say that it was difficult to tell whether I was Chinese or Korean because it is difficult to tell "all those rice cultures" apart. The sad part was, he was trying to make friendly conversation!

    Congrats btw!

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  19. CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!

    And there isn't a soul among us who would think anything other than, "Dry mix cookies with m&ms in them? Yum! Sounds tasty!"

    You are TOO a good mom! Now, go buy yourself more stuff.

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  20. Anonymous9:01 AM

    Congratulations!!!!! Now the new bikes your family got, can you show them off yet? I want to see it in real life :)

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  21. Anonymous9:33 AM

    Congratulations!
    As a fellow new ABA Diplomate, I know how you feel. Whew!

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  22. Anonymous11:44 AM

    Congratulations!

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  23. Congratulations!!!

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  24. Congrats!! and you crack me the fuck up! Keep 'em coming!

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  25. Anonymous5:52 PM

    1) Congrats on the boards!
    2) Congrats on two incomes!
    3) I too, love the increased swearing.
    4)I'm a white, corn-fed former midwestener. I understand "slanty eye" would be an offensive word. Much like I hate the term "fly over country". But honestely, many people don't grow up knowning people of Asian decent and therefore have no idea that the correct term. Epicantic fold? Really? I have never heard that word before today. I apologize on behalf of all unlightened, white, corn-fed midwesteners.

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  26. It's a bit tricky, handling the ethnic references which come off as offensive but are genuinely meant as a reaching-out comment or nervous joke. One of my pet peeves is people trying to alter my otherwise easy to pronounce name into an anglicized version. What kills me is when they say that it's too long or difficult to make the effort to say or spell, and then I note that I'm speaking with a person named Elizabeth or Christopher. Sometimes, it's genuine effort, and sometimes it's genuine laziness.

    You are cool of mind, Michelle. Also, congrats on the board certification, hopefully I'll have that one day when I grow up (ie, finish surgery). =)

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  27. Congratulations!

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  28. CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! I'm very jealous ... oh so very very many days weeks months years to get where you're at ... MS-2 please fly by!

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  29. Anonymous4:12 PM

    You rock, Dr. BC Anesthesiologist,
    and you make me laugh. no...excuse me, you make me laugh so fuckin' hard!
    I've been cursing up a stream lately. So much I have to re-adjust around my kids and patients. Some people say it's unnecessary and it doesn't make you feel better. Ya know what? It does, too! It makes me feel fuckin' awesome.
    I'm going back to reading those fuckin' mammograms.
    Love ya!

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  30. Congratulations!!!

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  31. Wendy8:15 PM

    Congratulations! That is amazing news about the new baby! (My spidey sense says it's going to be a girl :)

    I've never commented before, but I just wanted to tell you that you inspire me. I love reading your blog because you are so funny but also because you are so accomplished, smart...have an amazing life in general and you are still so down to earth and humble. You are a great role model, please keep writing. :)

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