Wednesday, September 25, 2013


Blogging has changed a lot in the almost 13 years (!) since I started writing online, and I often think--particularly during this most recent long hiatus, when I was too busy to perform anything but the most basic of life tasks (see: job, performance of; family, keeping alive of)--why do I still do it? What is it, aside from perhaps the compulsive need for me to document the minutiae of my life, that makes me continue to write online?

It's not a business decision, certainly. It probably speaks to the direction that online media is moving these days that this blog is such an aberration--a more than decade-old blog that is almost completely non-monetized. I have my "real" job to thank for that--although it's been the job that has been the biggest obstacle to me writing often and regularly, it also allows me to keep all my writing projects, even the bigger ones, completely recreational. I think about that sometimes, how something ceases to be fun when you have to do it, and I am thankful that I have been able to have some very modest success at a hobby that really, I expected nothing more from than enjoyment.

But there's a little more to it too. There's an element to writing, like any activity, that you have to work at. If you don't write regularly, your brain freezes up. You lose fluidity. Stringing together sentences and ideas become laborious, painful; the end-product wonky, full of holes.

Why do I still continue to write here? Because in its own low-investment, low-impact way, each time I post something online, it's like a little exercise. Let me tell you a story, and see if I can make the words work. Let me try to build this wall of words and see if it will hold water. Believe me, I understand that keeping a blog is not nearly as high-minded as some of the "real" writing people do both online and off. But dashed off and conversational or not, it still works, you know? It's 13 years of writing exercises, archived in chronological order.

My first book didn't exactly blaze its way to the top of The New York Times bestseller list (another reason I'm thankful to have gone to medical school and to have the luxury of writing on the side--the stress of having my professional success subject to the caprice of the literary marketplace makes any day in the OR look like a walk in the park), but I do think I have another book in me. I think I would like, someday, to write a book about the practice of anesthesia. It's probably one of the most misunderstood fields of modern medicine, and also one of the most fun.

In my mind (a place where everything always works out perfectly) this book would be a combination of medical history--the Ether Dome, "Gentlemen this is no humbug," sort of thing, I love that stuff--interspersed with first-hand stories of learning and practicing anesthesia. Shine some light on what the hell it is exactly that we're doing back there, at the head of the bed behind the blue drapes. Help people know more about anesthesia than the labor epidural and the notion that propofol "killed Michael Jackson." I'd like to tell some good stories, and I think I have more to tell.

Anyway, someday I'll do it. Until then, I guess I'll just stay warmed up, and keep writing here.

*          *          *

(And now for something completely which I erase all the lofty musing from above and just talk mindlessly about clothes.)

Now that I actually spend some time out of the hospital and out of scrubs, I have noticed that I can't find any clothes to wear. Wait, let me clarify. I have clothes. But I have too many clothes. Because it seems that my attitude towards wardrobe curation leans towards the "survivalist hoarder" end of the spectrum, and I literally (LITERALLY) have clothes from high school still hanging back there because what if I need to attend a "Reality Bites" themed party and I don't have anything to wear? (This is all the more pathalogic when you consider how many times I've moved since high school.) So what actually have is a messy closet packed full of clothes, none of which I actually wear, and which are actually interfering with my ability to find the small percentage of clothes that I do wear. FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS Y'ALL.

Anyway, I'm going through a major closet purge right now (I was going to say "diuresis" but I'm not really sure if that's a real thing that people say or if that's just a thing that medical people say--either way it brings up unpleasant images of hollow viscera evacuating), the goal of which is to have a closet where I could walk in, pick any two pieces of clothing, and have them match. I know this is extreme--not everything is meant to match with everything, after all--but look, I'm a busy lady, I don't have time to plan my little outfits like Cher in "Clueless." I just want to be able to grab stuff, put it on me, and know that they go together.

These are the things I actually wear:

  • Red, white, navy, and grey. Yellow occasionally as an accent.
  • Cotton knit tops. Preferably boatneck, 3/4 length sleeves. Stripes are a plus.
  • The occasional button down, as long as they are soft and don't need to be ironed too rigorously.
  • Sweaters, cardigans preferred.
  • Skirts, A-line, knee length or shorter, certainly not longer. (This is not a slutty thing, it's more of a short people thing. Long skirts make me look like Momma in "Throw Momma From the Train.")
  • Jeans, straight leg, dark wash primarily, occasionally white against my better judgement. (And this is not a "my ass looks huge" thing, it's an "I have kids" thing, and any light colored pants end up with stains and footprints all over them.

So, basically: nautical private school student.

In Atlanta it's warm enough that this getup can get me through most of the Fall into the Spring, with the exception of a few frigid weeks after Christmas where you actually have to bundle up--I have an warm but also exquisitely ugly yellow parka from L.L. Bean that will get me through that stretch. My goal right now being that I want to streamline my closet enough that I will have to put in next to zero through into what I'm putting on my body in the morning. Which is probably only one step up from being Charlie Brown opening up his closet to a row of identical yellow shirts with a single black zig-zag stripe across each one, but hey, I'm sure it made his morning routine very efficient.

Oh, and by the way: those brown shoes above. Please tell me about them, because I want to find them and marry them and make little shoe babies with them. (Brownie, Flopsie and Lacey, natch.) What are they called, does anyone know? And where can I find them? The picture above was from an Etsy vintage shoe sale (only $35!) under the heading "Dexter desert boots" but they were not in my size, which for the record is a 6 or a 6.5 American. You guys, THE SHOES. I realize that in some sense they are hideous and orthotic but SO AM I. Please and thank you.

Furthermore, anyone looking for evidence that I am projecting my own fashion sense (or lack thereof) onto Nina need look no further, because: mea culpa. Likely in a year or two she'll be clamoring for only the tackiest taffeta/polyester/princess shit, so I'll inflict my questionable aesthetic while I can.

OK, back to work.


  1. I'm pretty sure those shoes are Clarks Wallabees (or something very similar)! :) They are pretty awesome!

    1. I don't care why you are composing! I love it! Have loved it foreverrrrrr! So there you proceed, convey on. furthermore, those brown shoes are hideous, and I care not a twit about latest trend! lol. Visit-

  2. These are pretty close.

  3. Yep, look for anything labelled desert boots or chukkas. Clark's are the most classic. They are often more in men's sizes, but coming back around in women's! I saw GOOP wearing a pair a few years ago that I liked a lot but never followed up on (because, well, GOOP).

  4. Huh, you guys are good! This from the product description: "...this footwear classic originated in 1965 when Lance Clark sketched out a hand-stitched moccasin...that allows for natural toe spread." NATURAL TOE SPREAD.

  5. Wallabees!

  6. Anonymous9:09 PM

    go to nordstrom and ask them to style you. they style for free OR look online. pick a couple of cute maxi dresses (i'm 5'2" it can be done and they fix stuff for free if you don't want to do it yourself). get a couple of comfortable chic shoes. your style is "a style" but my dear embrace your uterus. i have two girls. there are tons of well made cute girl outfits that only look cute on baby girls. not that nina's outfit isn't is! but you can find pink princess stuff not made of polyester. naartjie kids is a great store. they have stuff online. i also LOVE nordstrom kids stuff. or nordstrom rack bc it's same stuff only cheaper. nothing wrong with nautical look one day and chic momma the next. you're a successful female doc and mommy. be proud of ALL the hats you wear :)

  7. I second the Nordstrom suggestion. I went to an event tonight where they gave checks to teachers and fit in with the fund raisers clothing wise. Everything Nordstrom including the makeup and they have lots of price points. Their shopping and makeup help is free.

  8. You should definitely check out the blog "ain't no mom jeans". They have a "new here?" area which gets you to expand on what you've already done. It has improved my style drastically.

  9. Anonymous9:05 AM

    On a more serious note...

    My anesthesiologists have saved my life, and I wasn't even dying. I was hit by a car years ago and lost my life to a sea of pain, and my current crop of doctors (plus ketamine) have made life bearable again. I have to agree, people have no real clue what anesthesiologists really do.

  10. Anonymous2:08 PM

    love that picture of nina and the giving tree reference!

  11. I have a non-monetized blog, too. 8 years old, 10 readers. I am PROUD, I tell you.

    Also, my mom is a physician - she'll use chronic totally out of context. As in, "Poinsettias at the garden store: are those a chronic item, or only for the holidays?"

  12. Heather10:23 PM

    I love this non-monetized blog, it's just so damn funny!

  13. I don't care why you are writing! I love it! Have loved it foreverrrrrr! So there you go, carry on. Also, those brown shoes are hideous, and I care not a twit about fashion! lol

  14. Anonymous6:49 AM

    do not dismiss the comfort factor! And in their own way, they are beautiful...

  15. One of the funnest parts of parenthood is dressing your kids up the way you want to - fun because of course it's such a limited time frame. Thanks to the rich crunchy mothers in this town and their Hanna Andersson Goodwill donations, my babies looked like tiny European clothing catalog models. And all the pink I dressed those little boys in! And the cute sweaters and funky wide wale corduroys they wore as toddlers. Man, did I have a good time. Those kids were better dressed than I was, that's for sure, and on a super tight budget. Of course, 13 years later it's nothing but jeans and hoodies. So live it up while you can and Nina doesn't care.

  16. Anonymous7:43 PM

    I would buy your anesthesia book (and I own your first book). Your entries about work always interest me; I wish there were more of those, but I'm sure you have to watch out for HIPAA issues.

  17. Anonymous7:43 PM

    I would buy your anesthesia book (and I own your first book). Your entries about work always interest me; I wish there were more of those, but I'm sure you have to watch out for HIPAA issues.

  18. I'd love to read another book from you, especially about the practice of anesthesia. I really love your sense of humor and astute observations on the practice of medicine in this country right now. Also love your take on life in general.

    My husband is a physician (ID, has been out of training for 15 years) and certain aspects of practicing medicine just keep getting him more and more steamed to the point of just wanting to consult independently and not have to toe the imaginary line created by the suits. Or hide in the basement and make wine. I'm sure you understand.

    So! On to a completely frivolous question: what brand or brands of jeans do you find fit well? I am short (5'3") and have pretty short legs. I have tried to order all manner and cut of jeans online to replace some of my favorites that have been worn to shreds over the past decade, to no good result. I've concluded that there's no going back, I'm 40 and totally stuck in the past fashion-wise. I cannot get what I had and if I did I would look ridiculous. Or more ridiculous. Most jeans are too long and if they are not too long they don't make it over my knees (and I'm pretty straight and narrow).
    Anyway. Just curious if you've found favorites.

    Love that you are writing more!


  19. I discovered your blog a while ago and have enjoyed following your posts--definitely do your anesthesia book and don't wait--there are very few of us writing about anesthesia. Let's make a new genre.


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