Cookies in a Wok!

Every party that J and I had usually had a Mexican fiesta theme. It’s just so easy to make Mexican food in bulk and it was so tasty. Fajitas were popular, although my favorite was when I made fish tacos on one of my birthdays. Dee-licious! I think it was Emeril’s crème fraiche that took it to the next level. Bam! (Please note, I have only watched Emeril once. And not even a whole show. But I do recommend his fish taco recipe with accompanying sauces on foodnetwork.com.)

But you know what I took for granted? My oven. Yes, baker of cookies, roaster of meats, warmer of hors d’oeuvres, essential part of almost 80% of the recipes ever invented! “What,” you ask, “is in your Japanese kitchen since your whiny babiness is hinting that you don’t have an oven?”

“Well,” says I, ignoring the slightly snooty tone of my imaginary inquisitor, “I’m glad you asked. I have a fish broiler.”

A fish broiler is a shoebox-size broiler for fish that is just under my stove top range. I’m slightly afraid to use it not because I’m avoiding fish, but because it looks too tiny to clean. It also has a huge potential for a mess. I’m picturing charred fish skin and smoldering fish juice hardening on the bottom like a new level of fossilized rock.

Sue and I are hosting a Christmas party this Saturday at my apartment. It should be fun, but not having a car is testing my strategery skills at how to take things home in a way that will not cause my arms to break off from pain. This lesson was learned the hard way after I thought it would be awesome to transport a 12 piece pots-and-pans set from the Exchange to my house. Eleventy billion pounds later, I was having serious regrets. Although it is nice to have now.

So! Focus! What should I serve? So far, I have come up with meatballs and samosas. I’m also planning on cheese, crackers, fruit, hummus, pita, crudites. For dessert, Rice Krispie treats are doable but again, room in my little bag is precious and RKs are bulky. Snap! Krackle! Pop!

I can’t read Kanji!

All the buttons on my blog page are in Kanji and Hiragana. Awesome! I’m trying to figure out which one I’ll need to press to post this at all. Fingers crossed!

So, yay! I’m back in Japan! The Kitty Hawk came back a few days early after the Chinese government said, “X-nay on the isit-vay” over Thanksgiving. Yes, that’s right. It was pig latin. The last few days people were almost climbing walls we wanted to get off the ship so badly.

The first night, we went out to celebrate Ken the Dentist’s (aka Herbie the Elf) birthday. We went to Korean BBQ, which was delicious. This gave J another chance to make fun of me since he asks if I’ve done anything truly Japanese since I’ve been here. The reason being that I’ve been to Yokohama Octoberfest (5 times! Pictures and story to follow!), a Spanish restaurant, an Indian restaurant where I was told what I wanted (I didn’t want the chicken platter. I wanted lamb rogan gosh dammit), an Indian Dewali festival, and Chinatown. But they were all really fun. And I have had a few bowls of Udon noodles (so tasty!).

Now it’s tomorrow!

I crossed the International Date Line for the first time today/yesterday. I am still a little hazy on how it works, but I can definitely that if you look out of your window you will not see a dashed line streaking across the sky demarcating the different dates.

But I did see the line on the overhead TVs where the entire trip is played out on a nicely cycled sequence of 5 screens that give the current altitude and temperature in metric and conventional in addition to the time left in the trip and the time at the place of origin and destination. I think my favorite screen is the comically large airplane with a “Family Circus” style line showing the projected travel path.

So, now I’m in Guam waiting for the Carrier Onboard Delivery (COD) plane to take me to the Kitty Hawk. I’ll write when I’m actually on the carrier although it might be a few days. Although I’ve already been told that today is drill day and it just so happens to be a mass casualty. Welcome aboard indeed!

Mile high!

I am in Denver visiting my friend M. K came out from NYC and the three of us have had so much fun. Friday night, I came in late because a 3 year old threw a tantrum like all get out because he didn’t want to sit in anyone’s lap. I don’t really blame him; how comfortable is it at 3 to be treated like a lap baby? He simmered down right before they were about to throw him off the plane.
So, I was picked up at the airport. We dropped my stuff out at the house, drank some wine, then went out to a wine bar. There, we bought the 2nd cheapest bottle of champagne (read: most popular), which led to another bottle and a cheese plate with very cute, very teeny pyramids of cheese with wee little flags telling us the cheese’s origin. Then we went home in quite good moods- everything was riotously funny to include someone’s overly aggressive car door opening method (not mine! seriously!).
The next day, the neighbor’s home improvement project started at 7 a.m. with metal carving for 2 hours. Sleep!over!now! We went hiking in the Flatirons and saw the Magic Arch. Then we went out to dinner to celebrate one of M’s friend’s birthday after we watched _Thank You For Smoking_, which was quite good. Afterwards, we went out to a crowded bar with an awesome rooftop deck.

Today, we went to the Rockies game, which was awesome b/c it meant I had the opportunity to be officially mile-high in Denver. I thought I already was, but apparently not since only the nosebleed seats made it above the esteemed altitude.

Tomorrow, it’s back to San Diego for about 18 hours before I fly out to Guam. I’ll leave for the ship on the 2nd via COD (Carrier onboard delivery) by a C-2 greyhound.

Graduation!

Boat school is over! Today was graduation with a certificate attesting that I earned 66 CME credits. Yay! This is something that I didn’t care about at all until very recently, when I learned that CME is how you keep your state license. Prior to that, I thought it was something I would only have to worry about when I became board-certified. BTW, that will be in about a hundred billion years.

Tomorrow, I am going to the hospital to attend morning education lectures and to talk/interview with the program director for the SD residency. It’s more for information so that I can make a more informed choice when applying for GME-2. Also, Bethesda will definitely undergo some big changes with the BRAC and combining of the hospitals. Although people say it will be the biggest and greatest, I definitely have some doubts as to how high a priority a little ol’ 2012 ENT chiefie will be in the grand scheme of things. And although I’m used to being somewhat low on the totem pole (HELLO internship year!), I think it would stink to have procedure numbers affected while bigger battles are being fought.