Saturday, June 30, 2007

The best and the worst of things

So, you might wonder, what are my compatriots and I doing with our last weekend of freedom? A couple of my classmates are off to hang out with nearby family. One is out at the coast. A few are seeing cool movies, doing other notable "last chance" sorts of things, or just hanging out with their spouses and kids.

What am I doing? Laundry. Hanging out with the dog. Paying bills online. Watching all the CSI that stacked up on the DVR this week. Wowie.

And while I am grateful for the ability to fast forward the commercials, it doesn't save me from them entirely. This one in particular seems to be stinking up the airwaves at least every other commercial break:

Click here to watch. I can't get it to embed for some reason.

Yes, those are pigs. In a bar. Hitting on unattainably hot women. Subtle metaphor. And they are having absolutely no luck, because, well, what do you know, men are pigs, until!, our hero does the responsible thing and assumes the hot woman at the bar will be going home with him, so he goes and buys a condom from the vending machine in the bathroom. Doesn't bring one with him in case the night goes well. Doesn't make an informed choice as to which is the best or safest brand of condom. Could be Big Pete's Bargain Rubbers for all he cares, he just puts the quarter in the slot, and *POOF!* all of a sudden he's the sexiest fool in the room. Because apparently, he thinks she's a whore? I don't get it.

Now, on the flip side, there's also one really good Motel 6 commercial that runs, oh, once every couple of episodes. It's adorable. Which is, of course, why I can't find it anywhere on the internet to post it. Essentially it's a little Boston Terrier, in a room, with his person in the background, and the pup is panting away, and the subtitles say something like, "Motel 6 is always pet friendly. No matter where you go, they always welcome your pet. So I never have to leave mine at home." And the person in the background says, "I heard that!" It's simple but clever, and it very effectively targets their, ahem, target audience.

All in all, signs that I need to watch less TV. Or possibly more, I can't quite decide which. But, I have a feeling it's all going to be sort of the same DVR-fests on my day off kind of stuff for quite some time, now, so...

And speaking of Target audiences, I need to go make like my eighth trip to Target in two weeks, so maybe I'd best get on that....

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Presents rock!

So, today, was not the best of days. Also not the worst, just, orientation drones on, and more to the point, further exercises in other people's idiocy are causing silly delays with my license. Which, to say the least, is stressing me out. Now, don't fret, I will get one, but, I very much would like to get to the issues and resolve what needs to be, not sick my program director (who, incidentally, has absolutely gone to bat for me - as a program director should, but, it's not like they all do - and is rapidly earning my undying respect and adoration) on some quack who saw me in her office a handful of times and is now on some power trip about giving me medical clearance. Dude! Last time you saw me I was healthy. Just say that. That's fine. BUT SAY IT! Don't screw with me! Geeeeeez!

Ahhh. Better. Okay.

So anyhow, on my way home, I stopped at the super-duper-fancy Harris-Teeter, which is our local higher-end grocery chain, and this one has just about anything you can think of. So while I didn't actually buy much that was very exciting, I did sort of wander around in awe in of all the gourmet things I could possibly buy and cook if I had time, money, or the inclination to put that much effort into something I'd be cooking for one person and dog who'll bogart the leftovers if allowed (and, really, no tikka masala for Maggie!). That helped a little.

And then I came home. And there was a little UPS slip on the door. And I said, oh, the books I ordered from Amazon must have come.

But, no!

Because the little UPS listed the sender as "Purl SoHo."

And I said...wait....I didn't order anything from them....I....I wonder.....oooh!!! It's the mysterious present that Sarah was sending!!!!

Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So Maggie and I went to the office, and retrieved it, and inside the package was this little pink Purl SoHo burrito:


So I open it.....and.....dude. How. Cool. Is this:


It's Lorna's Laces. Purl Soho claims that it's their custom color, Pond Blue Stripe. But anyone who knows anything recognizes this as UNC blue and white.

I am going to make the coolest pair of UNC socks, ever, out of this. I knew it the moment these came out of the package. Because you know what else I'm going to do with these? An afterthought heel, in black yarn. Yep. Tarheel socks. These are gonna be ass-kicking socks, baby! Hee! I can hardly wait! So cool!

Thank you, Sarah!!! You rock!!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Like high school all over again

So yesterday was our first day chock-full of orientation. Wooo-hoo! Mostly, it was long. We sat. Lots of people talked at us about lots of details we're all going to forget by, um, pretty much now. They loaded us down with all manner of stuff...books, pagers, labcoats, scrubs, training manuals, ID badges, parking tags, paperwork in all colors, and my personal favorite - a fit tested HEPA mask that's good for 7 days in an area where TB or SARS is present. They also poked and injected all of us and immunized a couple. And then our bandaged and battle-weary band of nomads schlepped all our newly acquired stuff (that didn't all fit in the kicky new totebag it came with, or the pocketbooks the girls had all brought), all the way to the other end of the hospital (having trekked over there once already), which is a not-short distance, let me assure you, for four hours of computer training. Which, despite the scenic gentleman doing the training who was actually quite efficient (new Robin and I decided we could count the number of times he said "um" in four hours pretty much on one hand), it was dark, long, boring, and we took to amusing ourselves by putting things in the training patients' medical records like "Patient encountered at WalMart. Still crazy." and my neighbor's contribution to of leeches and laudinum to her patient's med list. I was also relieved to discover that I'm one of almost half the class who doesn't actually have a training license yet. Apparently the medical board is not being exceptionally efficient on the whole, and both I and my colleague who was previously a practicing physician for 25 years with a real, permanent license are being held up. So, it isn't just me, at least.

But, all in all, common grinding misery is a good bonding tool. The twelve of us (our 13th counterpart is actually starting in the fall; he's splitting his time between residency and research in a way I'm not quite sure I understand yet, but, whatever works for him) had a good deal of fun amusing ourselves, and today shouldn't be quite as grueling. So we'll see. Off I go again, but so far, so good.

Thanks, also, for all the kind words of encouragement from everyone both on and off the blog. I'm a little amused, though, I have to say, at both how well my facade seems to have held (wow, you guys really think I'm genuinely confident, here. Sweet) and at how many people seemed to interpret "turn and run" as something other than "go home, hide on the couch, and not socialize until forced." Don't worry, folks. As numerous as my anxieties and insecurities may be, I've come way too far to actually turn back now, and I really don't want to. I spent a lot of time, energy, money, and effort becoming a doctor, and it's what I love. So, even when I freak out about getting back into it and what the next few weeks will bring, and freak out I will, that doesn't mean I won't push forward. Because ultimately, I'm also not one to back down from a challenge. And, it's what I need, and it's what I want. So, speaking of which, I'd better get moving and go do that...

Sunday, June 24, 2007

New and Improved

As seen on TV! Okay, maybe not...

So last night, the chairman of my new department had all the interns and their families over for a "Welcome to Residency" gathering. It was nice. It was really, really nice. I think I met everyone (there are 13 of us in my class, which, for those of you outside the business, is huge. My last residency, my class was four, and if I'd matched at the psych program I'd ranked in Chicago, my class would've been three), at least briefly. And while I can tell that there are personalities to whom I will gravitate more strongly than others, I have to say, I was really pleased with the group of people I met last night. I was relatively comfortable with almost everyone I spent time talking to, and very comfortable with a few.

Now, we've been emailing as a group for a couple months now. I've talked to a couple of my classmates on the phone, I met one for lunch, I interviewed with one, I've emailed off the list with several. So, we've interacted a little. And you get a sense of people in that setting. You get a feel for who are going to be the more outgoing folks in the group, who are going to be the worriers, the organizers, and maybe even who's going to be a little harder to pull into the group. And it was encouraging, believe me. But it's a whole different thing to see us interact in person. And it was nice to meet everyone's significant others (one of the residents I used to work with used to call them "other significants". I always liked that). I was very impressed with everyone's spouses (or effective spouses) and kids and friends and whomever. It was a good time. I think we're going to be a good bunch. Which, I thought before, but, hey.

Our program director and program coordinator also came, and mixed, and chatted, and hung out. It was nice to have them there in that more casual setting. It's nice to feel that they were genuinely interested in who we were as people, in meeting the people that mattered to us, in addition to who we were as residents, how much work we can handle, what we do at the hospital.

Because here's the bottom line: I left my apartment yesterday terrified. And then I got stuck in traffic (I know! Traffic! In NC, on a Saturday!), which meant I had an extra half hour or so to stew. And if I were...more avoidant? Less stubborn? Something. If I were closer to that, I would've turned around, I would've taken any of several opportunities I had to run, and I probably wouldn't go tonight either (tonight there's a residents-only function, us, our families, and the upperclassmen, no faculty), and I'd stay safe in the formality of all of our orientation activities this week. And it did cross my mind once or twice yesterday while I was sitting on 40 knitting my sock ('cause I sure wasn't driving!!). But, that would've accomplished nothing. It would've done nothing to correct the badness that's happened. It wouldn't have worked to address the post-traumatic whatever that's been worked over by two years of anticipatory anxiety about getting back into medicine. It would in fact probably compound the issue. The only way to conquer it is to jump back in, build a new frame of reference, make new positive associations. Just, keep going, figure it out again, the best way you can.

I keep telling myself this, and yet, there's another little voice in the back of my head saying, well, right, but when was the last time you managed to have a functional relationship? Hmm?

Residencies and men are totally different. Who let these voices in here, anyway?

I also thought it was sort of fitting, when I got there, this song was playing:

Maybe you're just jaded from some nobody's unforgotten words
And maybe you're just faded, a little grey from every time that you've been hurt
So you're looking for you skin, that you never did fit in
You can't hide when you're turned inside out

Which, I also recognize it was good that I had the Miranda Lambert CD in. A slightly different choice of mix CDs for the drive and the soundtrack could just have easily been let's get drunk and forget what we did....

Thursday, June 21, 2007

He who throws mud loses ground

Okay, so, not two weeks ago, I paid a ridiculous amount of money for this scrawny ass (although very nice) woman in black to dye my hair. Typically I do this myself, but I'd just gotten it all hacked off, and the girl who cut it convinced me that a professional colorist could really make my color "pop" (that was for you, Barb), and so I popped myself into Scrawny's chair the next day and said, make it red again, please, Adriana cut all the red off yesterday, and though it might not be what grows in, I'm a redhead. I'm thinking, sassy red, maybe some kicky blonde highlights. Go. She gives me this whole speech about deepening my natural color (which, at current, is a dishwater-y blonde-ish sandy sort-of-kind-of-maybe-brown-ish into which I monochromatically disappear), warming it up with some red tones, foiling in a full head of lighter highlights, blah, blah, blah. She then starts on the back of my head. She gets two foils in. One falls out. She freaks out a little, keeps talking about not realizing how textured my hair was when she started. She puts another foil in. She runs me over to the shampoo sink, rinses everything out, starts all over again. I end up with exactly two foils on my head, producing two small blonde highlights at the front of my hair.

My hair, which is unquestionably, undeniably, brown.

So what am I doing as I write this? Sitting here on my living room floor, with the contents of a box of L'Oreal Natural Match in color 4R on my head. Cost? $8.99. I'm overdying the professional's dye job.

Would I go back to her if I still lived there? No way. Have I told my local friends, if you get this chick, be very demanding? You bet. Am I a bitch because I'm not just quietly and complacently going along with something I don't like? No. No I am not.

And neither is Sarah.

For those of you who haven't been following what's been going down on her blog, what it ultimately boils down to is that, she stated an opinion. She has, since then, been getting blatantly harassed.

Now, some people have been able to state contrasting opinions in a respectful manner, and to those people I say, way to go. That's the point of this whole First Amendment experiment after all, isn't it? Interestingly, the owner of the yarn store about which she stated this opinion commented on her post. She had a very nice attitude about the whole thing. And good for her.

But then there's the juvenile delinquents (and I'm not necessarily referring to their calendar age). You know, people, when you "stand up" for an entity, you make yourself a representative of said entity. And the kind of petty, immature behavior that's been exhibited over there does not reflect well on this shop. Which makes the rest of the yarn community think twice about going there. We don't think, wow, look how dedicated their customers are. We think, what jackasses. And you lose them business. Not to mention the damage you're doing to your own karma. And the fact that you're being mean and hurtful to someone who's done nothing to warrant it. So knock it off.

And go read The Harlot's post about how, hello, you are in public, here.

I actually have a whole other post half written on much the same phenomena; I'll save that for my next rant. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Worst Ad Campaign, possibly ever

Yesterday, I'm driving, and I pass a semi truck, covered with pictures of those silly little cheese crackers with peanut butter in the middle, you know them? And this slogan:


I got Lance in my pants.

WHAT?!

How does this sell cheese crackers? And why do I feel like there's a certain NSync member behind this?

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Parental projects

Happy Father's Day, y'all.

In honor of same, I thought I'd finally post the pictures of my dad's sock. Which, as I said, was supposed to be for his birthday, the second one for Christmas.


But then, I finished the first one early this month, so now I'm hoping to bump those up a holiday (we'll see how close to his birthday I finish that second sock). Guess I'll have to think of something else to make him for Christmas.


This is my foot, fyi. We're not even going to discuss the wacko yoga positions I had to contort myself into to take these pictures, and they didn't even turn out that well. I have got to buy a sock blocker already.

A not-wonderful picture of the Eye of Partridge Heel that Sarah talked me into. It looks better than this.

In case you're wondering, that's Austerman Step, color 13, on Size 1 Addis (Magic Loop) in a very generic pattern except for that EoP heel.

And while we're on the topic of things I made for my folks, here (again, finally) are the pics of the crocheted-like-a-banshee birthday shawl I made for my mom:

It's Encore Chunky (I know, but it's washable, and actually, it works up really soft, and plus, if I had used the Cashmerino I wanted to, my mother would've killed me for spending that much on yarn. And she would've known, she's my mom!), four balls of it. It's alternating rows of sc-dc-dc. Until it was, um, long enough. Here's a close-up.

The pretty gold pin is hers, though.

In again unrelated discussion, I'm watching Reba, on the CW, which is not currently in the running for my favorite network. Prime examples of why: 7th Heaven is on next (is that show not over yet?!), and they just advertised Veronica Mars, which, they also just cancelled. Dude. But, whatever, there's not a whole lot on. Still, I found this little bit of dialogue fittingly humorous....

Van: If you take loyalty and ethics out of business, you know what you have?

Reba: A television network?

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Drink up, me hearties, yo ho

Completely off any topic at all...having seen the third Pirates of the Caribbean movie a few weeks ago, and having had everybody tell me the first was absolutely the best one, I was very excited to notice that it was on ABC tonight. So I watched it. And I was a little disappointed. Good flick, I did like it, but everyone made it seem like it would be so much funnier than the last. Eh. I think I liked the third one better. Maybe it was the ambiance. Or the exhaustion + margarita combo. And while I also thought the third one too long, this one really didn't need to be as long as it was (I kept thinking, they edited this for time?). But, whatever, just the musings of a girl very tired from a taxing day.

Alast, ye lubbers, a few observations...

1. Orlando Bloom is just as hot as a dandy as he is as a rogue.

2. Entirely too many people in this movie are overtaken by insignificant bonks on the head.

3. Never call the dog who hold the keys to your jail cell "mangy." (Also, this was one of, like, two moments when I went, oh, yeah, now I get it, it's based on the Disney ride...)

4. The only rules that really matter are these: what a man can do, and what a man can't do.

5. Modern society is seriously lacking in good swordfights.

6. "I feel old" is just as crappy a last utterance as "I smell bread." (And, both Captain Barbosa and Sheriff Lamb were far too important as nemeses to go out like that.)

7. That has to be one of the ten best kisses in movie history.

8. Skeleton Monkey just looks weird.

9. Even the pirates' code is more like a guideline.

10. DVR is possibly my favorite invention, ever.

It also makes me just a little sad that I frogged the socks I'd started out of Lorna's Laces Black Pearl (or Purl, depending on who you ask). I would've worn them in homage. But, really, I need a second ball to make the sort of socks that deserve to be made from that yarn.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Still life, with boxes

My best friend kicks ass.

So, it's been a stressful week, to say the least. Plus the fact that I now have the plague, and the fact that the North Carolina Medical board is harassing me for "details" of why I left my old program, and I don't know what to tell them, when what I want to tell them is, it's not your damn business, I just want to move on already, let me be a doctor, for crying out loud, I'm a good one. They got my rec letters, and the stupid referral forms (filled out by people who'd actually seen me practice medicine). Medical licensure in this state may well be a priviledge rather than an entitlement, fine, I can concede that point. But they have lots of forms stating that I've been a practicing MD and that I was good at it. What happened in the "time before" was a painful experience in my life, and both my personal and professional confidence took a serious hit as a result. So now, right now, right before I take the plunge back into residency, which I have to start all over again, just like anyone who didn't have the misfortune I did and is straight out of medical school, now is NOT the time to be dredging this up and retraumatizing me, thank you very much.

But I digress.

Because as Maggie and I were sitting here, watching CSI and marvelling at the wonder of the DVR (the phone rang, and I paused it. And then I rewound, and later I fast forwarded. Live TV! So cool), and the doorbell rings. So I pause the TV again (so cool!), and I curtail the pup, and there's this man standing on my doorstep, holding these:


And I thought, is he lost? Does he need directions? Does he know that I live here now? And I must have been staring at him like, "Are you lost? Do you need directions? Do you know that I live here now?", because he says, "I have a delivery. These are for you." And I went, oh! Wow! Really? Oh! And I took them, and I read the card, and then I cried, because that girl rocks really, really hard.

And I should also have known, because she's the only one who has my new address, despite two seperate attempts to send it out (I'm having some issues with my outgoing email). Who else could both find me and send flowers right when I'm feeling like the shit that shit stepped in?

Thanks, Katie.

Oh, but here's what they look like in real life, because there's so much stuff on the table that I couldn't actually put them on the table:

There's a lot of boxes around here....

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Whew!

So, I slept on it, although frankly, had no idea I was sleeping on it. But by the time I woke up this morning, I was convinced that I'd made a huge mistake actually accepting the Roach Motel apartment. I drove back there this morning when Mags and I went for our morning Starbucks, and I just felt like, ugh. I just, so, very do not want to come home to this place every day. Never mind the fumigating toxins, which worried me enough as it was. The back door didn't lock. The ceiling fan was falling down upstairs. They hadn't painted, they hadn't cleaned. They knew they had four extra days from the time I "took possession" to the time I actually showed up, and the place was awful. I walked in to my new home, closed the door, and killed a roach. They were crawling out of the bathroom ceiling. They were everywhere. The grounds were unkempt and falling apart. There was no parking. The apartment was smaller than the end unit I'd seen. I just completely hated the thought of actually having to live there. Ew.

And I thought, well, I can move in a year. But that place, was almost guaranteed I'd be moving in a year. And someone with the amount of stuff I have, you don't ask your friends anymore. It requires movers. Do you know how much that would cost me? A year after what it's costing me to move all my shit from the frozen Northeast? (whimper) And that's assuming the roaches - or the neighbors who slip in the back door that doesn't lock - don't just cart it off before then.

Plus, toxins. Bugs. Way too small. Would have to rent a bigger storage locker than I'd planned, which down here, isn't cheap. No fitness center. Which, okay, for a fat psychiatry resident, isn't a dealbreaker, but it's an added expense, joining a gym, and it's something I want. Plus, did I mention how much the presence and volume of the bugs bothered me?

Fuggedaboudit.

So, I found myself a different apartment. It's a lot farther away from the hospital. It's considerably more expensive. And I love it. It feels much more like home. It's in a fabulous town. There's a drive-through Starbucks almost next door. There's an allegedly great yarn store 6 minutes away. There's culture and stuff to do. It's been named one of the ten safest towns in the US and one of the five best places to live. And screw the commute; not like I'm not used to my Chicago madness anyway. I own an iPod. Plus I'll be so much happier when I get home.

It's made for a slightly insane day of cancelling, switching, and fussing, but wow do I feel better. And despite a morning strategy call to my lawyer (read: I called my best friend, who's an attorney, to freak out over the phone and say "do you think I'm crazy for wanting to get the hell out of this place?!?!!"), the manger of Casa Cucaracha was more than understanding and continued to be crazy helpful right up to the end. It really is a shame I decided it would be weird to give him my number...

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

In Other News

Franklin's 1000 Knitters Project is having its kickoff seating at Arcadia Knitting on Saturday, July 14th. Go, ye still in Chicago. Go and be gorgeous. Go and be photographed. Go and check out one of the city's coolest yarn stores (so I'm told. I never actually made it, dag nabbit).

I don't think there will be cockroaches there. And according to the management, neither will there be Chez Moi on Thursday when the movers come. Ew, ew, ew.

Oh, and PS - our hotel room tonight, aside from the blissful roach-free-ness, is also not stinky. As Monica so smartly noted in the comments, it is a La Quinta Inn and Suites. We are in a non-smoking room. Maggie is also much happier, having curiously enough spent most of her night scratching and having sneezing fits. I was just grumpy, and that's not altogether unusual, frankly.


But we both seem happier with this. So, again I say, go. Take them your dog-y business. Heck, take them your monkey business. I'm sure they won't ask any questions.

Another plus? Dinner. Since I have a microwave and we've spent way too much time in the car, I hit Delivery.com, which listed exactly one restaurant, a local pizzeria. Hey, I'm not too proud, and, of course, I come from the land of pizza. So, while ordering online, I checked the box that said "Extra Thick Crust", wondering how this would compare to the deep dish pies of my hometown. An hour later, dinner arrives at my door.

Um, if that's extra thick crust, you must be able to read through their thin crust!

But, whatever. It might be New York style, but it's actually quite good. It'll be a nice breakfast tomorrow, too. And it's better than EBAs. I figure, the last place I worked sucked, and locally, they had bad pizza. This, I'll consider this a good omen. Even if it pales in comparison to Giordano's.

The apartment

The Eagle has landed. We made great time this morning, cruised into town, went to the complex, picked up our keys....and were so very disappointed. It's smaller than I remember. It's a lot more run-down than I remember.

And. There. Were. Roaches. Everywhere.

So I'm now at the hotel (planned; I won't have a bed until Thursday). And instead of unpacking the car, I think I'm just going to hide. In my rented bed. In my nice, clean, roach-free room. EW. Can't Maggie and I just live here?

Monday, June 11, 2007

Like a band of gypsies, we go down the highway

(If you missed the title reference, click here. And also be ashamed of yourself.)

Well, folks, Maggie and I have called it a day and are in the scenic berg of Beckley, West Virginia. Actually quite a nice town, I've been here several times before, and it's home to Tamarack, one of my very favorite places. Tamarack is sort of a difficult entity to describe - the state of WV at some point got the rather bright idea of building this lovely complex off the interstate to provide retail and work space for the state's artisans, handcrafters, small-lot food vendors, etc, etc. It's a very rich mixture of culture and art and craft and food and curious juxtapositions and it absolutely must be experienced if you're ever in the area. Must.

At the moment, though, we're hanging out and eating a gourmet dinner in our luxury hotel suite.


No, see, it's green, therefor, it's healthy.

It's actually Spinach Artichoke Dip from the nearby Ruby Tuesday's. I thought it was so-so. Needed a blender and something to bind it together a little bit, make it less runny. As it stands, it's just sort of wet spinach with artichoke bits.

Maggie, however, was somewhat more covetous of said dinner.



We're also in the stinkiest hotel room known to mankind. Apparently it's policy that dogs stay in smoking rooms. I tried to explain to the clerk at the front desk that she doesn't smoke, but to no avail (he thought I was serious. Seriously. I recognize that we're in black lung country, but how's she going to flick a lighter with no thumbs?). It's not quite as bad as the room that smelled like dead bodies and air freshener that I refused to stay in once in Greensboro, NC, but it's really awful in here, even for a smoking room. So, in vindictive scorn, I let Maggie drink out of the coffee pot.



Relax, they'll wash it. Plus, I offer this as proof that, despite what my dog would have you believe, I actually do feed her...

Anyhow, the drive was largely uneventful, save for the utter and total failure of my GPS navigation system (I'm blaming the mountains. I'm not sure it's their fault, because I have cell reception). Stupid Verizon.



This was at the McDonald's in Frankfort, IN, where you could rent DVDs from a machine outside by the drive thru. That's actually why I got my camera out, but there were just too many people around to take a picture of it.

I did get a picture of something else sort of curious, though. Apparently, if you bravely and nobly fight and/or die for your country and are from Pax, WV, it nets you this honor:




This was in the parking lot of what was essentially the local Eat, Gas, 'n' Go. Hey, it ain't a big obelisk with a reflecting pool, but, God Bless America.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Pause for the cause

Okay, first of all, I just finally had a chance to sit down and catch up reading all of my friends' blogs, and damn, am I behind...

Most importantly - my good friend Lorna is hosting a very cool and very important Charity Auction to benefit two of her good friends who've been stricken with cancer. Go. Visit. Bid. Bonus points if you bid on item #13. But bid on other things, too. And if you're a spinner, or are thinking of becoming a spinner, or know a spinner, or just love the myth of Arachnae, bid on the Alpaca roving. For the love of all things woolen, bid on the alpaca.

Things around here, you can imagine, have been pretty busy. In between the packing and the myriad good-bye get togethers and the chopping all my hair off (it's short) and the ohmygodI'mleaving freakouts (those have mostly been unwitnessed, and if pressed, I'll deny them), I have managed to get some fiberwork done. I crocheted my mother a shawl for her birthday and actually finished it in time! Huzza! I also finished the first of my dad's socks. Have I offloaded the pictures from my camera yet? Of course not. But, soon.

This week has been a blur of seeing people and doing things and saying way too many goodbyes. I mean...oy. When I get the chance (and can shut the voices in my head up long enough) to sit back and actually think about this next step, I'm really excited about it. Considerably. I think this is going to be a good step. I think the training at my new program is going to be far superior to what I could've gotten if I'd matched closer to home. I think I'm going to love the area and the culture and my job and my new life. I think this is going to be very different and infinitely better than my last and most unfortunate situation. I think, in short, that this is going to be very positive. The world is my oyster. It's been such a difficult two years...I've been in utter limbo, and the mere idea of just having my feet firmly on the ground again is exhilarating. I'm going back to the profession I love, I'm going to have purpose and direction again. And patients. I love having patients. That's the part of the job that rocks. I'm going to learn a lot. I'm going to have new, interesting people around me and get to find out about a lot of different aspects of my newly chosen specialty. I'm going to find whole new things to be interested in, professionally and personally. This is going to be a really good time.

But I'm very sorry that it has to come at the cost of what stability I have been able to garner, and of the people who have either always been or who have recently become so incredibly important to me. That's the theme I keep falling back on this week. I love these people. This, my family, genetic or practical - that's where it's always been for me. I hate that my milieu has to change, that the dynamic is going to shift. Not that it wouldn't even if I stayed in Chicago - the 80 hour work week has a nasty habit of cutting into your social life. But there's absolutely no chance I can meet for dinner. No coercing me into going out for coffee, no raucous yarn field trips. Not with this family, not without much planning. Does this mean I'll drift off and lose them? No, of course not. We're in the most connected age in history. It doesn't mean losing anyone, necessarily, it just means that the relationships will evolve and modify. Does moving mean that I'll be all alone and have no one to meet for dinner, coffee, or yarn? Of course it doesn't mean that, either. There will be new people in my life, none of whom will replace the old, all of whom will merely expand my life. And to toss in an obscure quote from one of my favorite TV shows, "you've got to live wide" (bonus points to anyone who can name the show. Or who is still reading these ramblings). But it all means change, which carries with it its own intrinsic sort of loss.

But then again, change is the most constant thing in the universe, isn't it?

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

What seems to be the officer, problem?

So, yesterday, in the midst of one of those days when you ponder why in the heck you got out of bed in the first place and you wonder if you could just go back there and hide under the covers but figure the world would find you and screw things up anyway, I'm taking my Jeep to the dealer, finally, to have a number of things fixed, including my broken front turn signal light, my broken tail light, and my broken mirror (however, we ignored both my broken bumpers as well as the unfortunate fender...the words "rode hard" often come to mind looking at my Liberty...but in my defense, well, she's a Jeep, they're meant to be, and two, seriously, Jeeps have plastic bumpers. It's entirely possible a good sneeze would bust them up again, so...). Anyhow, my tail light, which is notable for this story, has been broken for at least two years now. Okay. So, on my way to the dealer to get all this fixed before Maggie and I trek off on Monday, and I'm within sight of the dealership, of course, when this cop zooms in behind me.

And, of course, he pulls me over. Of course. Not that I'm speeding. Not that I've ignored a signal. Not that I've done anything that can be construed as illegal (including, by the way, having a broken tail light, because it still works, and to the best of my knowledge this is a legal situation in Illinois). But, alas, I pull over. I present my New Hampshire license and proof of insurance on my car with IL plates. And he says, "Ma'am, can you tell me why you weren't wearing your seat belt?"

What, now?

This is, of course, crap. Nope, actually, this more closely resembles bullshit. Which I stated, in much, much more polite terms. He assured me, all tough cop guy, that he had seen with his own eyes both straps of my belt hanging, which indicates that it could not possibly have been buckled. I said, um, no, I fastened it when I left my house, unbuckled to retrieve my proof of insurance, which you undoubtedly saw when you walked up to the car. He says, okay, ma'am (stop ma'am-ing me, you small potatoes one step up from a rent-a-cop jackass!), any tickets in the past year? I said, no, but, listen I was wearing my seat belt, I'm one of those people who's self-righteous about seat belts, I don't know what else to tell you except, I had it on. He says, all right, ma'am, and goes back to his cruiser. I, meanwhile, seethe. He comes back, asks about the discrepancy between my IL plates and my NH license, and writes me a warning for my tail light, which, incidentally, he never actually mentioned. I, again, still pissed at this NYPD Blue wannabe, said, listen bucko, I always wear my seat belt.
Ignore for the moment the number of people (3) that I personally unplugged in the ICU who were there because NH, the Live Free or Die state, guarantees its citizens the right to do just that and has no laws about restraint belts in passenger vehicles if you're over 18. Three years ago, on my way from Nowhere, NH, to Slightly Closer to Civilization, NH, to buy paint at 6:30am, I hydroplaned and rolled my SUV down an embankment, then up and into a tree. Like I said, NH is a state without seat belt laws, so I didn't have to be wearing one. However, I value my brain function, ability to walk, and all those other things.





So yeah, officer, damn straight I was wearing my seat belt.