Oof!

Picture getting slugged in the gut with a pillow that’s just a little too firm. This slightly unpleasant sensation was mine when I drove into work this morning. Ugh, post-vacation hangover. But today was fine and I’m happy where I am even though a huge amount of work looms in the next few weeks. Most petrifying is Grand Rounds in about 4 weeks. I’m going to work on that (for SURE!) this weekend.

But back to my awesome, amazing vacation. I arrived in Providence last Wednesday and headed straight for Newport. The Fall foliage was slightly pre-peak, but beautiful. Newport was a trip. It’s hard to believe that this whole Navy thing started just six years ago. Same with the doctor thing, I suppose. But all those heinous hours of pre-med study means that, in my mind, that path started a little earlier. I ran around the base and saw the building where I stayed in June/July 2002 for OIS. Even better, I went to the Red Parrot and had a most DELICIOUS frozen drink. Essentially, it’s an Oreo milkshake but it was so good even if the weather may have been slightly unseasonable for a blender beverage.

Speaking of the weather (boring!), it was beautiful. I think there may have been one, max two, clouds in the sky the entire vacation. It was perfect outdoor weather and I think I’m going to try and have an outdoor theme to most of my future vacations since I spend so much time indoors.

After a night in Newport, it was off to Boston. I love you William Shatner! Priceline linked me up with an awesome deal to the Marriott Long Wharf, a completely beautiful hotel. Even though the main point of the Boston visit was to go on a 3 hour North End culinary/history tour, I also got to see two college friends and their beaus. Total bonus! And the tour was amazing. I learned so many new things to include cinnabark vs true cinnamon, boy vs. girl eggplants, the origin of carats as a measurement, what constitutes real balsamic vinegar and tons of other neat facts. Afterwards, lunch at a “true” Italian place (vs an Italian-American cuisine style) capped off an awesome morning/early afternoon.

Then…off to Martha’s Vineyard! Which I’ll save for tomorrow since I have to read a LOT before bed. All ENT stuff. I did read one book for fun on vacation though. The Maytrees by Annie Dillard. Her prose and lyricism are wonderful.

Dare I Say It?

My love affair with my iPhone is cooling slightly. And do you know why? The ACCURSED ATT! I am not very impressed (at all!) with their signal strength and ability to penetrate building walls. Now I know when I sit in a lead bunker, it is reasonable to assume that it wouldn’t work. But really, when I’m sitting in a thin-walled hotel room next to a window, I don’t think I’m being overly demanding and petulant when I want my call to my B-ton friend to remain unbroken. Harumph!

And the “GPS” is not the best at realizing that people move as time passes. Which is problematic since that’s its job. But the GPS feels awfully fond of Providence and kept telling me I was on that side of the bridge, rather than lovely Newport.

Oh, little iPhone, wait, come back! I still love you. It’s just we’re having growing pains. Come heee-re. We have at least 23 more months together. We can make it work!

Vacation!

I love “Vacation” by the Go-Go’s. It’s such a peppy, upbeat song. I love starting my mornings with it. But do you know what I love more…REAL VACATIONS!!!

In August, I was shocked when I heard that I got a week off every 3 months due to the way residency leave is structured. Even though I was quite the queen of leave while I was in Japan, I was expecting nose to the grindstone, internship-like leave (read: not much). Instead, I was told that awesome piece of news and moreover, when did I want to take off between Aug-Oct? Yay! I didn’t think I would get a week since I showed up later than previously planned but nope, not so.

So, I’m heading to the East Coast to visit Newport, RI; Boston, MA; and Martha’s Vineyard. I can’t wait, especially for the Martha’s Vineyard part. I have so many fond memories from that place, that I can’t believe that really, I’ve only been twice. I was there for an amazing pre-Senior week and then the best wedding I have ever been to. Not that I’ve been to many but there were so many fun people (yay college friends!), great music, and delicious food and drink.

Sorry this isn’t the most scintillating entry ever. I’m sitting in the Dulles “A” terminal waiting for my plane and it’s 3:40 SD time so my brain is a little fuzzy. Although not so fuzzy that I didn’t realize that the guy in the aisle seat was a stinker! I felt pretty badly for the girl in the middle. Gross!

Dawning realization…

So, there I was, blathering on during a conversation when I had the most peculiar, slightly horrible feeling of “Oh my gosh, what I am talking about is completely not what I thought I was talking about.”

Has this ever happened to you? It was the most bizarre mental progression ever. I don’t think it has ever happened to me because it was so unsettling, I’m sure I’d remember.

Wait, what? More details you say? Alright, but for such a weird feeling, it was a rather mundane conversation. Because I was talking to a friend at a dinner party that Kelly and I were hosting and we were talking about the variations on carnitas. I have always made more of a Cuban style dish, while my friend has had the Mexican version in a green sauce. (The green sauce is another mystery. He says it’s not tomatillos, so I am perplexed). So, I was talking about how I made the pork with tamarind when I started getting this foreboding sense of impending doom because I realized, “I did not use tamarind, I used tahini.” COMPLETELY different. Tart fruit pulp derivative, meet sesame paste. Sesame paste, meet tart fruit pulp. Crazy!!!

I think I was flustered because I realized this significant change about 5 minutes before dinner for 8 was about to be served. Now is this on the level of, oh, say, who to vote for? Almost. Just kidding! Of course not. But it was pretty strange.

Fortunately, all unsettledness ended at the end of the meal when we had Breyer’s vanilla ice cream with Goya Dolche de Leche. Hooray for comforting desserts!

But, yes, Kelly and I had a dinner party, which was awesome. No movie night unfortunately since one of the guests had a kid and HELLO CHILDLESS PEOPLE, it’s a school night (duh). But everyone had a really nice time and I’m so happy I am meeting awesome people in San Diego. I’m even going knitting in two weeks. Fun!

Today was my command orientation. Yes, two months later, it’s time for me to figure out what’s going on. But actually, it’s a lesson in customer service and patient relations. Now, yay for empathy, patient care, and doing the right thing. I feel I do that reasonably well and fairly often. But what I cannot stand is a Steven Covey “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” lovefest, with lots of buzzwords and Powerpoint mindlessness. But, it was mercifully short, I got to help in clinic, and I got *thismuchcloser* to my Rhode Island/Martha’s Vineyard vacation! Yay! I leave Wednesday, hooray!

New haircut!

Warning: Other titles could include, “How I spent my most exciting Saturday” or “New reasons why I may be confused with a wild and crazy old lady.”

But yes! I did get a new haircut. I drove up to Poway and got a great haircut from M, a fellow resident’s wife. She is awesome! I love the haircut plus I got a 20% discount for being a first customer PLUS I had a mimosa while my hair was blow-dried. Most excellent. I am definitely heading back. You know, in a few months.

I also went for a run as a break from some work since, yes, I also spent a little time at the hospital. I wasn’t entirely on my game today. I’ve been running with my chiefie (resident, not CPO type) and today I was definitely a little more sluggish than I’d like to be. But it’s ok- good runs and bad runs, you know? And it wasn’t terrible, just not great.

Oh, and guess what? I went to bed at 6:30 last night. I had spent the prior night reading and only had 3 hours of sleep so I gave up trying to stay awake until a normal bedtime so I decided to take a nap. I didn’t hear my phone and I woke up at 4 a.m. I was out! And it felt great. Although I still have a little bit of a sleep deprivation hangover (see: poor run, above).

Lunch Lady Land!

Lychee, plain yogurt! Lychee, plain yogurt. Navy bean, navy bean!

Hmmm, rip-offs of Adam Sandler “Lunch Lady” songs do not work so well when typed out but in my head? It sounds awesome.

So, over the last 20 minutes, I have INHALED a delicious amount of plain/lychee swirl from the local fro-yo shop. It is amazingly delicious. And I even had some gummy bears and mochi. Delicious! Even though I am slightly mad at a vegetarian friend who indirectly reminded me that it all comes from horses. GROSS!

I looked like my usual cosmopolitan, sophisticated self when I asked the lady, “Is it lee-chee or lee-key?” She said, “It’s lie-chee.” Awesome. Yet another word I have completely butchered the pronunciation. It’s like a curse, really. My pronunciation is HORRIBLE. I know a lot of words from reading and when I pronounce them, guaranteed, I pronounce it incorrectly. It’s a little embarrassing. What good is it to know a lot of fancy-pants big doctor words if I sound like a complete ignoramus when I use them. It makes me sound like a person who would, say for example, make the screen turn to black consistently when trying to view CT scans during pre-op conferences. What, wait, that’s me too? *Sigh* I can’t get away with anything! You’re the sharpest pencil, yes you are!

But, regardless of the pronunciation, the yogurt was delicious. Now, I’m going to read a few articles before heading to bed. I’m on call again and hopefully I won’t have any calls but that’s doubtful. Either way, it’s ok because I had an awesome nap for about an hour this evening. I felt quite tired today because even though I can swing it with reduced sleep, multiple days in a row is quite wearing. I’ll catch up tomorrow for sure.

Street fair!

I love street fairs! The music, the vendors, the people and most of all, the perfect excuse for a funnel cake! This weekend is the Normal Heights Adams Avenue Music Festival. I went yesterday and heard some great bands. I highly recommend Sara Pettite, whom you can find on iTunes. The only problem is that she sounds WAY better live. Still, I bought “Coming Home” and “Little House” and both are excellent. I also had some delicious teriyaki meat bowl and yes, a funnel cake STRAIGHT out of the fryer.

Friday, I had drinks at the Hotel Del. It’s such a sweet place and had some great music but the scene was a little skeevy. There was a business party that let out and people were in the bar looking for only one thing. Well, one thing and drinks but the drinks seemed easier to procure since most people were bombed out of their minds. I was at a small table with a group so we were insulated from it with the exception of the people who have voice immodulation disorder. But it was fine- I definitely wasn’t expecting a bar to be as quiet as a library. I had a great time and it was a beautiful night.

Today is catch up on work day, which always guarantees a procrastinating blog entry or two. I’m also going to check out St. Brigid’s church in PB. I met a few people who go there at Ken’s wedding and it seems to have a really active, fun young adult scene. I’ve always thought it would be pretty cool to be part of an active Church community. I see some patients from time to time who really seem to draw strength and great friendships from their spiritual life. Also, my life can be so insular and work-focused, it’s nice to have my attention turned to something ever-so-slightly larger than myself. So that’s at 5:30 so I can get two chapter’s of Bailey’s (ENT textbook) done, right? I think so as long as I say, “Silence bed! No nap for you!”

Sadness!

I love the Farmer’s Market. L-O-V-E! I would take lots of pictures and post them, but I can’t get over my hesitation at being the creepy solo photographer with a point-and-click going around the market and invading people’s private lives. I certainly don’t like being the random background stranger, so why would anyone else? Of course, sometimes it can’t be helped and sometimes I blatantly disregard that courtesy for the sake of pure visual awesomeness. Example: the photo ostensibly of me but really taken for the purpose of documenting the sight of the Japanese policeman in a lovely lilac head-to-toe rain suit although in the picture it comes out as powder blue, which for some reason is a slightly less funny color.

ANYWAY, the point of this post was to lament the loss of $10 of wild (but safe!) mushrooms that I was going to make into a delicious mushroom soup as soon as I could find the appropriate recipe. During that time interval, the mushrooms decided to embrace their fungi-hood, add a few species of mold on top of that and turn into an unappetizing, softened mess of yuck. Boo! I still have to get used to the fact that it’s just me that I’m buying and cooking food for and it’s a fine line between wanting to stock up on food so I don’t have to go to the store frequently and buying too much and watching it go to waste. It was so much fun in Japan because the markets were so cool to walk through and were located in the train station by my house. And even if I got off at the closest stop without any markets, I could stop into a mini-mart and pick up a pre-made dish that was delicious and inexpensive, which is definitely a benefit of a noodle-heavy cuisine. I also am still under the illusion that I have lots of time to cook, even though I keep getting home between 7-9 at night most days of the week. But my weekends, with the exception of call, are blissfully free. For example, free to find moldy gross mushrooms on the counter. Oh well, better than the fruit-fly infested peaches I found on Tuesday!

Little Plates!

I love picnics. And I love pulling together little mini-plates of snacks/treats for a meal. Living on my own, I pretty much get to eat however I want which involves a fair amount of grazing on O.R. days (must stay primed) and 3 meals and a mid-morning snack most other days. I feel like people catch me eating way out of proportion to other activities (although I’m glad they don’t see me doing other things, like say, using the restroom). So, multiple people think that I eat all the time. Trust me, I could eat WAY more than I do. But then my life would revolve around sweets, being uncomfortably full, and weighing at least 10 pounds more than I do.

So, this morning, I had my Kashi cereal and then a few hours later, had the most delicious snack plate of olives, cheese, sundried tomatoes and crackers. I found this awesome stand last Sunday at the Farmer’s Market where I got 0.5 lb of mixed olives, a container of sundried tomatoes, and a fair sized wedge of smoked mozzarella for $15. Score! I still have some left- it’s amazing how many olives fit into half a pound. Some of my other favorite mini-meals are…

* Mini-toasts, fig spread, and manchego cheese. This is a Whole Foods delight that I haven’t had in awhile. But Manchego cheese is my cheese boyfriend. That’s how much I love it.

* Trader Joe’s crackers (amazing. blanking on the brand but I will take a photo), light cream cheese, and sliced raw salmon. The tasting lady had this one day and my tastebuds were tickled!

Also, I was re-reading some older posts and I realized I mentioned swimming in La Jolla cove as an activity on my San Diego to-do list. Well, no more! I did it last weekend. And I was petrified. The arms of kelp coming out of the gloomy water were so!scary! I could see about 10 feet and then EEEEEPPPPPP! Another arm of kelp. I chilled out a little bit but I realized how much I hate open bodies of water I can’t see things in. And if a seal had come near me, I probably would have passed out from fear. Or become petrified like a tree in the petrified forest causing me to sink like a stone. Although I was thinking of seals in terms of the potential off-chance that maybe there was a killer seal who developed a taste for human blood.

But I swam half a mile. I think it’s an OTO (one-time-only) thing. Later in the week, I swam in the pool. It was much more relaxing. It’s so funny- I love the outdoors, but I can be the biggest scaredy cat. I try and face my fears but sometimes, I need to know when I’m semi-beat. Although I did tell my roomie I’d go swimming with her at some point. I think I can handle that. I’d be a lot less scared if I know I have a 50% reduced chance of being the one eaten by the blood-thirsty seal.

[Clarification: I do not want my roomie to get eaten by a blood-thirsty seal in place of me or due to random chance. It’s just two against one is a way better situation in the treacherous waters of La Jolla cove.]

[Clarification, part 2: La Jolla cove is a family-friendly place where many people swim. And kayak. And boat. And snorkel. I do not believe anyone has ever been eaten by a seal. But still.]