Monday, April 25, 2011

from here to eternity

Hi all! Sorry no posts for a few days (though I have been posting to my Tumblr mini-blog, if you haven't checked that out yet). The conference at the University of Iowa went really well. As an ISTJ I am an introvert by nature, which is not to say that I'm not friendly (I am!) or not a nice person (I am, I am!) or that I don't like to meet new people (I can say without reservation that finally meeting some of my blog readers at the conference was the highlight of the trip), only that all that plus the travel tends to makes me a little tired. So! Now it is Monday! And I woke up extra-super early to try and get some work done before going to actual work at the hospital. So let's get to it, shall we?


Let me say first that I have never been as unprepared for a trip as I was for this one.  It went literally like this.  I packed half an hour before the cab came to pick me up.  I got into the cab, which took me to a train, which took me to another train, which took me to a plane, which took me to another plane.  Which I almost missed because after we landed in O'Hare (early, mind you) we were parked on the runway, unable to taxi into the gate for, like, half an hour.  Once we finally pulled in, I had nine minutes to get to my connecting flight, which was at the opposite end of another terminal, across the length of the entire airport.  Feets, don't fail me now!

Luckily there was a series of moving walkway connecting the two terminals, all lit up with crazy '80s roller derby neon, which you could probably see better above if I wasn't running all crazy holding two bags.  Action!

The good thing is I made it to the gate with exactly 30 seconds to spare.  The bad thing is the flight was then delayed for another hour and a half.  So...yay?

Anyway, I made it to Iowa City, took an $80 cab from the airport (YES, I KNOW, I should have called ahead for a cab with a flat fare instead of just letting the meter run, but at that point I was just like GET ME TO WHERE THE BED IS) and checked into the Hotel Vetro, which was recommended to me by blog reader Susan and which I now also highly recommend.  Because of its bed and its bed-affiliated paraphernalia, mainly.  Also: BED.  (I was tired.)

The next day I attended a book fair, gave a talk about work-life balance in medicine, did a short reading of my book at Prairie Lights, and then attended a meet-up at the very excellent Sanctuary Pub and Restaurant in downtown Iowa City.  It was a very busy day, and I enjoyed every minute of it.

See how I have lollipops set up at my book fair stall, like some kind of cartoon witch, to lure children into my shiny book trap?  Also, see to the left: BOOKMARKS.  (Aside to everyone who pre-ordered and gave me their addresses for the bookmarks: thank you!  There are, like, hundreds of you, so sorry that I can't e-mail you all back individually, but rest assured that I will be putting your bookmarks in the mail on Wednesday, May 11th.  The bookmark promotion is a limited-time offer just for pre-orders, of course, else I would bankrupt myself with postage, so if you want one, and you should, please pre-order and then e-mail me!  I don't need a receipt or anything, just don't be a lie-face.  Also, yes, if you pre-order more than one, I will send you multiples.  SO GET ON THAT.)

Like I said, meeting my blog readers was definitely the highlight of the trip.  Since I don't run this site like a business, I don't have a great sense of who is reading or how many people read, but meeting so many readers, in Iowa City no less (not to say that Iowa is, like, the North Pole, but it's a little far-flung for lots of people) was amazing.  Please especially note above my new Super-Friend Amy, who drove four hours just to hang out with us at Sanctuary.  Such nice people in the Midwest!

The reading at Prairie Lights was also a blast.  My first reading!  It would have been a bad time for me to reveal at this moment that I NEVER LEARNED TO READ, like Jordan Catalano, or Marlon Brando in "Viva Zapata!" but luckily, I can read a little bit.  This is also the first time I ever done anything remotely artsy like this, so I wasn't sure what to expect (perhaps an audience full of berets, macrame-ed vests and bongo drums incanting, "How now, brown bureaucrat."  Yes, a truly arcane Simpsons reference, how typical of me.)  But it went really well, I thought, and I think people were amused and piqued and all that.  Plus, now at least I have a crowd-tried excerpt to read for future events, speaking of which:

BOSTONIANS AND PERI-BOSTONIANS! You guys helped me make this book event happen!  Join me at the Harvard Coop on Monday, May 16th at 7:00pm.  I know it's not at Wellesley itself, but I do happen to know a certain shuttle bus that runs straight into Cambridge and will drop you off in front of the Coop basically the second that finals period ends.  What could be finer or more convenient?  NOTHING. As always, check the EVENTS page for more information and updates about after-event meet-ups.  Will there be more vaguely booze-laced events to make me feel slightly queasy the following morning?  ONLY TIME WILL TELL.  (But come on--it's Boston.  What else are we going to do?  Walk the Freedom Trail?)

Despite the revels the night before, we had a nice turnout for our panel talk early Saturday morning, which was about blogging and medicine.  Above is Rob, aka Dr. Rob, holding the crowd in the palm of his hand, and the crowd not looking the least bit hung over.  (Full disclosure: I was a tiny bit hung over, but that's probably because I wasn't sure that the Iowa City tap water was potable.  Turns out it is!  Good to know for next time!)

And then it was time to go home.

Mainly, I needed to get home so I could hide sixteen frillion plastic eggs with Snickers in them in our yard the following morning, in order that my kids could find them and demand that I hide them again.  So we did that for a while, which was OK, because I missed them like stink when I was gone. Which begs the question: what is stink? And do we say in the OR that something "bleeds like stink"? I don't know, but such are the enduring mysteries of language, and at any rate, I missed my kids a lot.

Cal looks like he belongs in a "Twilight" movie in this next one, because for some reason the light that morning made our back yard look like the Pacific Northwest, and him vampiric:

As a wonderful capper to our weekend we had guests over for dinner, which brings me to my first brush with Internet Super Fame.

Holy shit, guys, KEVIN MD was at my house!  And he is the nicest!  And I, apparently, am very short!  The best part, though, is that Kevin brought his lovely wife and kids, who are the exact same age as Cal and Mack, and they all had so much fun together that when they had to go back to their hotel, Cal cried.  And then he pretended not to be crying, which is extra-adorable.  In fact, I'd say nothing is cuter than that, except maybe two bunnies sitting in a teacup together.  And also the bunnies are hugging.

Then everyone slept for many hours and now it's Monday.  Again.  Which is somewhat less cute.

Anyway, hope you had a good weekend too. and thanks again to everyone in Iowa for making me feel so welcome. You guys were the best, and I hope to see you again soon.


  1. Katie5:15 PM

    Nooo why must your Boston reading be AFTER the Wellesley semester is over?
    I am truly distraught.

  2. I thought finals didn't end until Monday! That's what your calendar says! Anyway we tried to book an earlier date at a couple of different locations, but Boston was all locked up for the week before.

    Stay around an extra day! You need time to pack anyway! Then come hang out on Monday!

  3. Hey Michelle, fix the link to KevnMD, it’s linking to Dr. Rob!

  4. Anonymous11:19 PM

    kevinmd! awesome!

  5. If we pre-order an e-book (I am trying to save trees & also running out of shelf space) do we still get a book mark? Since e-books don't need physical book marks, I mean.

  6. Absolutely! E-book or paper book both pre-orders both get bookmarks. Just tell me which one you ordered (doesn't really matter, I'm just curious what the breakdown is) and which design you want, "monkey" or "retro."

  7. Anonymous8:24 PM

    Omg YES- this is adorable! "Cal cried. And then he pretended not to be crying, which is extra-adorable. "

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  9. Hey Michelle, thanks for coming out to our little conference and being awesome. We really had a great time and hope you did too.

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