Friday, July 31, 2009


First, read this. What an amazing story. I

Also? I got a new car today! And four hours of test driving, paperword, haggling, negotiating, and bargaining have left me with my brain oozing out my ear. Real post tomorrow, I promise.

(EDIT: I clicked on the link above at it worked for me, but if it doesn't work, try clicking this or cutting and pasting it into your browser: You may have a NYT ad pop up - there's a "skip ad" button on the top right hand corner of that screen.)

Thursday, July 30, 2009


Huh. My Thursday blog has disappeared. I wonder where it went....not to worry, it wasn't especially useful....the gist of it was this: Crap, I knew I should've traded my '04 Jeep with 125K miles on it and no lein YESTERDAY....

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Food coma

So I went to Peng and Chef's for dinner tonight. Chef has this theory that I hate him (not really), because every time the two of them invite me to do something with them, I say no. Which is not entirely true, but the point of fact is that Chef has Mondays and Tuesdays off, and I don't like to stay out late on school nights. So when I'm up for mayhem, he's at work, and it ends up being just me and Peng (or me, Peng, and other people who aren't Chef). This is rather sad, because I do actually like Chef quite a bit. And Peng works within smacking distance of me, so I see her regularly, so I don't miss her much if I am lame and don't play with them on Monday or Tuesday nights.

But, I have no patients again tomorrow (counting down the days until real life hits...), and it's more or less my last free Tuesday for a while, so I suggested we all get together tonight. I actually suggested we go out, because Chef chefs for a living, after all, and it IS his day off. And I don't especially like to do therapy on my days off, so I can give the guy a break, you know? But, no, he likes his job more than I like mine, apparently, and insisted on cooking. Which I will never turn down. Chef made chicken and fried rice, which were awesome, and I'm very glad they talked me into taking home the leftovers. And then the three of us hung out and watched three hours of the Food Network and chatted and kibbitzed and had a generally lovely time.

But now I'm home. And full. And sleepy. It's lovely...

Monday, July 27, 2009

Makes me want to shine up my trowel...

So, as we do every Monday at noon, we had psychotherapy lecture today. And Dr. Jabba says, kind of as an offhand comment, "Psychiatry is like archeology." Which was closely followed by a comment about digging around in people's heads.

I've been amusing myself with this analogy all afternoon.

It's a pretty good analogue, I think.

Consider an archaeological dig. You start out with shovels, right? Sometimes backhoes. It's not delicate work. It's general, it's rougher, you have a basic idea where you're going and what you're looking for, but more or less, you just dive in.

But then you start to find evidence that there's something else there. So you park the backhoe and pull out smaller implements. You take spade-fuls of dirt away. You carefully pull off layers with your trowel. It's not super fine work, but it's more careful. And you take a closer look at what's in the soil you pull off.

And then you find something - a flash of metal, a change of texture, the smell of putrefaction. You expose a little more, gently, but rarely does it just plop out, all intact and pretty. So you pull out more cautious tools for that, delicate, tenuous things that require great care and a little skill. You're still gentle with the surrounding material, but you focus more on the piece at hand.

Sometimes the artifact comes out in pieces that you have to reassemble. Sometimes it comes out intact, and in pretty good condition. Sometimes it really does dislodge itself and plop out at your feet. Sometimes, you sift and sort through all that dirt, you think you've found something really important...and it turns out to be a plastic cup from McDonalds. And not the prehistoric McDonald's, either.

Such is it with therapy. You start with general ideas. People usually have a reason they come to see you. It's rarely what's really at issue, but it gives you a place to start. Together you dig, you sift, you sort, through layers of their past, looking at what turns up in the process. Eventually you find something that seems somewhat more important, so you slow down, you take note. You usually dance around it for a while. You observe, you examine, as it comes to light. Sometimes it comes out in pieces. Sometimes it makes an inglorious entrance. Sometimes, you look at it and say, "aha!" And then it's your job to figure out the significance of it. Often that may not be readily apparent, until you find more artifacts around it - the context of it, what accompanies it, what's related. You catalogue, you examine, you explore, and then you set it aside and keep digging, because there's always more to find, always more to know.

And some days? You work and work and work and still come up empty handed. But when all is said and done, you find what you find, whether or not it was what you were looking for.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Ho, ho, ho (reprise)!!

So, remember last December, when my girls from my knitting group back home and I did a Secret Santa exchange? That went so well, we decided to do it again, with a little Christmas in July twist. They had a little festivizing back home at Lorna's abode, for actual swapping in person. Those of us who are not exactly in distance to drop-in had to settle for the mail-order equivalent.

I? Am a dork who could not get my package together and in the hands of FedEx in time for it to get there for the party today (without paying $60 in shipping costs, which - no). But! Fortunately for me, Valerie is much more organized. Look what I got!!

Everything came wrapped in festive paper (impressive, in the middle of the off-season!). But look what was in it!!

(Val knows my favorite color is red.) There were also Dove dark chocolates in the box, mmmm-mmmmmm.

Heritage sock yarn from Cascade, in a lovely solid red...

...and in a really cool multi.

And a ball of Schoppel Wolle Zauberball self-striping sock yarn.

Wheeeeee, the socks!! The socks I can be knitting!


The best of all accessories, to facilitate knitting of socks. In red. I love it.

Thanks, Valerie!!!!

And in other fiber news, I signed up (officially - I've been unofficially signed up for a couple of days now) for a spinning class next month. The one with the wheel and the spindle, not the one with the stationary bikes and the screaming instructor. I'm excited!!!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

New and awesome

My mom got a new car today. These are the speakers in the tailgate. Not that my family does a lot of tailgating, but, that's just cool.

It was a lovely Saturday here in NC. Slept in a little, did some stuff, went to Starbucks, then FedEx, then had to drive to the CH to jump through some hoops for a class I want to take. Spent an hour at the gym (my feet hurt). Came home, screwed around, showered, watched part of the 16 and Pregnant finale (I'm officially addicted to that show; still not crazy about Dr. Drew). Then went to wine tasting with Peng, which was delightful. Good company, good wine, and my stash is growing nicely. And Peng was going for a late dinner with Chef, so I met up with Ruthie again. We went clothes hunting at TJ Maxx (Ruthie's favorite hunting ground), and found a couple of tops for me, and this really awesome shawl/wrap thing (I'm thinking it'd be a nice beach cover up, which I'm always looking for) that has all this really nice Sanskrit lettering and it's really sort of om-ish an pretty...and then has "Freak" enbroidered in the one corner. I...don't get it, but I bought it anyway, because if I can successfully hide that corner, its gorgeous. We then went to a local burger joint for dinner and Smoothie King after that (have I mentioned that this is Ruthie's latest obsession?), and sat outside for a while and talked about out past lives (hers in surgery and mine at the Emerald Palace). All in all, it was a lovely evening.

Meanwhile, all the grapes I planted on FarmTown (a Facebook game I'm currently a little addicted to, for those who don't know) died because I left them alone too long. This made me smile a little when I got home and realized this. I thought, yeah, real life wins out every time.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Lateness and brevity

It is after midnight, here. I had a wicked long day covering the ECT service for Fang. I left the hospital at 8pm, and then I went and grabbed some dinner with Sparrow and Ruthie. And then I drove home, and discovered a cool little package on my doorstep, which I of course had to open and shoot multiple pictures of, and will tell you about on Sunday.

More tomorrow. Meanwhile, I'm going to bed....

Thursday, July 23, 2009


(This was immediately after I caught her eating my bowl of ice cream...)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I feel witty...

(We're swapping Wednesday and Thursday this week...hope that's okay with y'all)

Okay...I'll be honest, I do not think Sarah Palin quite this dumb, but this is funny as hell.

(I think it might secretly be Reese Witherspoon. No, not really, but the resemblance is remarkable, isn't it?)

And I do rather agree with her, you know, that a woman should succeed Obama in office.

Hillary in 2016!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I can't decide...

...if, after watching this video, I SO TOTALLY WANT THIS JOB...

...or I so totally am never getting on a plane again.

Hmm. Maybe a little of both...

Monday, July 20, 2009

Growing up...

First of all, a happy third birthday (holy cow...) to my adorable little nephew, Basil, who was pictured in yesterday's post (I have a very similar picture to that one from about a year and a half ago. Such a little ham).

Bazie is 3. Annalise is 2. Luke is 1. When did these kids start getting so old? And what does that imply about us?!

Alas, time continues to march on, with or without us, and I prefer "with."

I spent a good portion of this weekend watching ridiculous reality shows on MTV. I spent Saturday watching "16 and Pregnant," which is pretty much what it sounds like. I spent yesterday watching "The World's Strictest Parents," which is actually not an accurate moniker, from what I saw. It was more like, "People who actually do a good job of parenting." Most of them were not actually all that strict, there was a lot of respect for the kids, and there was a lot of teamwork and give and take. They put a lot of emphasis on the punishments, but there was a lot of positive reinforcement that went on as well. And that makes such a difference. If all you do is yell and criticize, of course your kids are going to get out of control. But the other thing that really struck me was that these parents all had their own shit reasonably well under control, at least in that they knew what of their own experiences and feelings had a place in their parenting and what didn't.

This is in stark contrast to how I spent my day today.

My first patient of the day was...probably delirious. Possibly psychotic, or catatonic, or something, but something was most definitely wrong with her, so I took her to the ER. My other two clinic patients went better, but in between all of this I spent way too much time on the adolescent unit. We had one of the most chaotic family meetings I've ever been in (my ears were ringing when I left), which ran over and I had to go see a clinic patient. So then I went back up to the unit and processed with my kiddo for a while. And I talked to the intern on the service, who was wonderfully validating of my observations in the meeting.

Peng says to me, later, in our office, "You know, all I'm saying is, nobody else's therapists go to the family meetings." I, of course, because I do this, started defending my decision to be part of this (although running it was not what I'd had in mind, but the intern is like two weeks old. I kind of wish the social worker had chimed in a bit more, but...). She puts up her hand and says, "no, no, I'm not saying you should or shouldn't have gone. I'm just saying, other kids who've been on that unit have therapists here and they never go to the family meetings."

And with that simple statement, she really makes so many really good points.

I think it was important for me to be there today - if nothing else, my kiddo needed someone who was solidly on her side, but who could be a little more objective and was a good referee - but this stuff always takes a toll on you, you know? It's hard work being the therapist. But it's also really rewarding sometimes.

See? I'm not a dominatrix. I'm a masochist. I'm not sure those two can really go together...

Sunday, July 19, 2009


(Seriously. Such a cutie.)

Technical difficulties

I'm having some issues keeping my internet working long enough tonight to actually post a blog, so I had this great plan of posting this picture of my nephew, which was really cute, but it won't even stay useful long enough to upload that...(I've had to reboot the whole thing twice just to get THIS in) Ooh! Wait! Maybe I can do it from Flickr...

Technology is our friend...

Saturday, July 18, 2009


Seriously. What the hell?

So, I think I mentioned the other day that while I was home, my Greek aunts convinced me I needed to put a profile on this Greek dating site, right?

I don't think I'm cut out for this shit.

So, I admit, it's only been a week, but I've had two separate guys IM me and ask me to dominate them. I cannot figure this out.

The first one was, I'm guessing, classic reaction formation. His tagline was like, "If you voted for Obama, we're not compatible." On his profile, he was all bluster and rant about how Greeks were the best, Orthodoxy was the only religion, women were all "hippie sandal-wearing liberals." I didn't see his profile until after he'd messaged me asking me if I was "dominant." I was like, really dude? He sends me his phone number and was like, call me. No really, call me. I said, no. He's like, really, really. I want you to call. And I asked him, what makes you think I'm a dom? He says, "I can just tell."

Okayyyy.....that was the end of that.

The second guy started with "are you a psychiatrist?" and then proceeded to tell me he was recently suicidal. And couldn't afford a therapist, so maybe I could help? Mmm, no, sorry. Well, okay, that's cool. Blah blah blah (I don't know why I didn't just end the conversation right exactly then), and then he starts telling me it's love at first sight. I said, no, no it's not. We've been talking for three minutes. And he says he's looking to get married. And I was like, dude, calm down, you seem like a nice enough guy but you come on way too strong. He says, why? I really like you. I said, no you don't, you don't even know me.

And then he says...."I'm looking for a dominatrix. Can I serve you?"

I said, "No."

He says, "No, I mean after we're married."


I was like, are you kidding?! No, no he was not.

And I finally was like, okay, dude, what in the world would make you think that? He says, your picture.

The picture I have posted? Is the same one I used for my residency interviews. No, it does not scream "dominatrix!"

So I told him I had to go, and wished him well, and closed the messenger. And he kept trying to initiate a chat, and I kept saying no. And he finally went away.

Seriously, y'all. Is this what's out there?

So many of my friends have met their spouses on online dating sites. I? Have met more losers with dead end jobs and fat girl fetishes than I care to count. The Greek site, met one guy who I was friendly with for a while, but he lived on the other coast, and turned out to have some issues that were just incompatible with mine. And when I was in NH? I was on both Match and eHarmony, because if nothing else, I was hoping to meet some people in the area, do some social branching out, etc. That was terrifying. There was a cafeteria worker in a sweater vest pestering me from VT for a while.

Maybe I should've become a nun...

Friday, July 17, 2009

"No. Really. Come back soon."

First of all, a very happy birthday to my cousin Danielle. She's a Baskin-Robbins this year (31). Many happy returns. Maybe I'll actually make it down to Texas to visit before we're 32. Or at least before Annalise is!!

Re, the title: I went up to the unit today to see one of my therapy patients who wound up on the inside, and ran into my friend John, whom I haven't seen in a while. The end of our conversation entailed a discussion of how I was going to be back working the inpatient units (also clinic. Eek) in two weeks. He was like, "good. It'll be good to have you back." I said, I'm sure you'd do just fine without me.

I tell you what. I had six patients scheduled today. My last one was at 2 and was the one that was admitted. I got in wretchedly early so I could leave by 4 at the very latest (nooooo problem, right? Ha) and make my rescheduled appointment with my trainer at 5.

I left the hospital at around 5:30 (which, incidentally, was a good hour or more before Peng got to leave. Catatonia slows everything down).

And oy, it was a long day. One of my patients didn't show. Another one cancelled (when I texted her ten minutes after her appointment time and said, are you coming?). I had THE LOUDEST HUMAN BEING ON EARTH's mother and case worker calling me to complain about each other (I'm not telling you whose side I'm on). I had a crapton of prescription refills, paperwork, and lab reports waiting for me. And of course I spent like two hours total up on the adolescent unit.

So my kid, who's getting closer to legal adulthood every day, got "in trouble" for talking to one of the younger patients about sex. I asked her about this, and she says, "well, the other patient had questions. I was honest with her. We talked about what it means to have that in your life. It wasn't like I was giving her advice on positions or anything."

I asked the staff, "what kind of 'talking about sex' was this?" They said, " was about sex."


I'm sure the answer is somewhere between Little Miss Innocent and Little Miss Devil, but, come on, people.

Not to's the beginning of my conversation with John.

(John is standing in front of the nurses' station and, illustrating a point - although I can't imagine what point - has his hands up over his head and is reaching down his back. I happen to be walking behind him and poke at his fingers. You know, because we're 12.)

John: Hi, Kate.
Me: Hey, John.
John: I'd know those fingers anywhere!
Me: Shh! John! Don't tell them our business!
John: I meant anywhere geographically, not anywhere on my body! That's a whole other conversation we shouldn't have in front of the kids.

The nurses found this humorous (God only knows why). Now, I concede, John and I are both adults. My hands have never actually been lower than John's scapula (I think I've punched him in the shoulder a couple of times), and we're obviously friends, and obviously kidding. And the staff jokes at this level all the time (because? We're all secretly 12 when we walk on that unit). Which is fine, as long as everyone involved is okay with it (John and I know our limits, but part of the reason we get along so well is that he's as dirty as I am, and we both know this). But it does suggest an atmosphere of...casualness and permissiveness about these sorts of things.

There's a lot of ways to "talk about sex." Some of them are really inappropriate. Some of them are really beneficial. And the younger patient in question was a teenager. Hopefully, she's had some formal sex ed at this point. And you KNOW she's had some form of informal sex ed by that age. Plus, sex is kind of a basic human thing (anyone remember Maslow? Or Freud? Or Salt-n-Pepa?). You can make it something that can be discussed openly in a respectful and appropriate manner, or you can make it something that needs to be whispered about at night between bed checks.

I'm just saying.

(In a related story, my Aunt Aphrodite, earlier this week, was telling a story at our big family gathering about seeing this movie which referenced "BJs", and these two older women in the theater in front of her that were like, "What the heck's a BJ?" So she's telling this story, and several of my relatives were IS a BJ? She says, think about what it stands for. And one of my uncles starts spelling. Seriously. "Is it b-l-o...?" I finally stuck my head out of the kitchen, and was like, "Oral sex. It's oral sex. Finish the story." Christ on a cracker, I'm THIRTY, people. And a doctor. As funny as it was, spelling things just ain't going to cut it...but back to my point.)

There are a lot of problems with assuming that kids don't talk/think/know about sex and making it a shameful or off-limits thing to discuss. You create a mysterious or rebellious drive to find out. You send them looking to other sources for information that can be unreliable or dangerous. You deprive them of learning what's appropriate to discuss when and how. Like I said, I don't know what the story really is, here, in this scenario, but I don't think it should automatically be a demerit just on principle.

And the thing that's most important to me in a group of kids like this who are at very high risk of abuse or exploitation, you make it impossible for them to talk to you about it. So, you've made it something bad and shameful, which you don't talk to adults do you deal with it if someone's hurting you or making you do things or even just making you uncomfortable?

It's just sex, folks. Funny how it's important, but trying to make it seem unimportant makes it become just that much more important.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Love my pup Thursday

I have the world's best dog.

We went back to the vet today to get the dressing changed. Ms. Mags was a champ. She was not super thrilled to be participating in this mess, but she laid still and let the vet mess with her and didn't snip, or fuss, or even pull her foot away, despite the vet pulling apart her toes and looking at the suture line and fussing with the gauze and whatnot. She almost fell asleep by the end, which I credit to the hypnotic nose stroking of her owner. We go back in a week for suture removal.

She's eating a little better, too. Apparently the key was Beneful wet meals. We also found these Pill Pockets by the Greenies people at PetSmart today, which she gobbled right down, despite earlier shunning of both cheese AND peanut butter.

And I bought her new silly boots at PetSmart today, because our goal for the next week is to keep her bandage clean and dry. She tolerates the one on her bandaged paw just fine, but when I put one on her back foot, she went back to the funny goose-stepping. It was amusing. But she hasn't been messing with her bandage at all, and I've only been making her wear the cone when I'm not home.

She's such a good girl.

In other news, I go back to work tomorrow. I rescheduled my appointment with my trainer from today to tomorrow at 5, so I have to book it out of there after my last therapy appointment at 2, which means, I think, that I'm going in wicked early to get caught up with all the stuff that my wonderful officemates have been keeping at bay for the last two weeks. Thank goodness there's a weekend coming up...I think this one-day work week is a wonderful idea....

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

In the interest of wordlessness...

...I give you a whole separate "explanatory" post.

So, they gave us this thing...I'll have to put up a picture of it...basically, the vet cut the bottom off an IV bag and laced it around the top with gauze and they made it into a boot thing for Maggie to wear when she was outside. Maggie was not super fond of this thing, and Kate thought it was utterly fucking ridiculous. Not a bad idea, but crappy in practice. It kept falling off. Maggie was stepping on the gauze and it would untie and the gauze would get stuck on her back toenails. Plus, she made this ridiculous "thwack, thwack, thwack" sound when she walked and it just looked stupid (mostly because it was falling off. And, you know, because she had a bag of Lactated Ringers tied to her foot).

But, I appreciate the idea of keeping the bandages clean and dry. So when we were going out for our evening walk tonight, and I was like...hmm...what if I just put a sock on her foot? the past...this concept of stuff on her feet has not gone over very well with Ms. Mags. But she didn't actually seem very phased by the IV bag whatsamajigger, so I was like, let's give it a shot. Maybe it'll stay on her least until she pulls it off.

Maggie readily presented her paw for socking. And it's been on her foot ever since. I might take it off later, if only to turn the thing right side out...

On the whole, by the way, she's doing better today. I've let her keep the cone off when I was home (but had to barricade her in the kitchen when I wasn't, which she wasn't real thrilled about. She really likes her crate, but, she doesn't fit in there with the headset on) and she's spent the whole day sleeping, because...okay, that's what she often does anyway, but also, I don't think she slept much last night with the cone on her head (neither did I). And she wasn't eating or drinking, so when I went to the vet to pay them today, I asked what I could give her for her tummy they gave me some canned wet food (I said, I think the antibiotics are upsetting her stomach. She looks queasy. They said, how do you know she's queasy? Has she thrown up? Y'all...I've had this dog for almost six years. She's my dog. I know how she acts when she has a tummyache). She ate some of that today, and started drinking, and it seems to be better. She ran up the stairs pretty fast tonight, so I think she's on the mend. We go to get her dressing changed tomorrow. I'm looking forward to seeing this vet's stitchery...

Dog in Sock

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

But on the plus side, now we get HBO.

My poor dog.

I finally get home, and I go to pick her up at the spa today, at the appointed time. And the guy behind the desk, with whom I'm on friendly terms, says to the runner, "Take your time getting Maggie - I've got to settle up with her first." And I was like, that's weird. Did my credit card not go through? They usually call me when that happens (not like they don't have the single most important piece of collateral I own, but, nonetheless). And he says, "You've got an injured dog."


Turns out poor Miss Maggie got into a "fence fight." There was a dog baiting her from the other side of the fence, and she swatted at him, and cut her paw pretty badly on the fence. This happened Sunday night. So they bandaged it, and Monday took her to their vet, who sedated her and stitched it up. Oh, and she's on antibiotics. And she's been just fine, typical Maggie, eating, hanging out, just with a funnel on her head.

And then, PS, he says, by the way, you owe the vet $400. Because your credit card expired, and we didn't have the updated date to give them.

I don't even know where to start with this.

First of all, my dog is hilarious. She's fine. I think her paw hurts, but she forgets about it. She constantly runs into stuff with the cone. Cleo was kind enough to let me bring her over tonight when I went for dinner with the new second years, and she was a HOOT. My favorite part was when I caught her trying to drink out of Cleo's toilet with the cone on. And she was bouncing off the walls, and the furniture, and people, because her head is suddenly much wider than it was previously. To sniff the grass, she basically has to put her head straight down.

It was...oh, my God, it was so funny. She's just so cute....

But needless to say, the conehead hat came off for a while. I was starting to worry about Cleo's paint...

But I made her put it back on to sleep tonight. Because I cannot stay up and make sure she doesn't mess with her paw. She's currently sprawled out next to me on my bed and the collar is poking me in the armpit. She's dreaming at the moment and wagging her tail in her sleep, so she can't be that upset about the whole thing, I suppose.

So she has to go back to a vet - maybe OUR vet this time (you know, the place where we have VET INSURANCE, and discount prescription coverage, and things like that) - on Thursday to get her bandage changed, and again in 10 days to get the stitches out.

I'm actually fairly annoyed that they didn't call me. He was like, well, I didn't want to worry you, and it wasn't really an emergency. Fine. But a, if you're going to run up a bill like that, you call me first. You sedate my dog, you call me first. And more importantly, MY DOG HAS A CONE HEAD. My puppy hurt herself. No, I wouldn't have rushed back or anything like that, but, I'd like to know these things.

My one friend, who's local, takes her dog to a different daycare in town. They have webcams so you can see your dog 24/7 online. That's suddenly a lot more appealing...

My poor baby.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Joy and Sorrow, revisited

The conclusion of the tragic and amazing story of Tyler's friend came sooner than expected.

Keep the family in your thoughts and prayers. It sounds like they're holding up okay; a lot of mixed emotions. This is one of those things, you know - both awful and wonderful. A story of great strength, community, and love, and a life lost too soon.


I also mentioned that one of my college professors died suddenly. Here's the obit, due to be published tomorrow, posted today on Facebook.

John Steven Paul, 58, of Valparaiso, died Friday, July 10, 2009, at Porter Memorial Hospital. He was born February 22, 1951, in Fort Wayne, IN. He received a B.A. with distinction from Valparaiso University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in theatre and drama from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Joining the Valparaiso University faculty in 1979, he was Professor of Theatre and served for 15 years as department chair. He taught courses in dramatic literature, playwriting and screenwriting, drama and the church, and non-Western theatre. He directed more than 60 plays, musicals, and operas for the University Theatre, including Long Day’s Journey into Night, King Lear, The Yellow Boat, The Pirates of Penzance, Accidental Rapture, The Book of the Dun Cow, A Little Night Music, and The Magic Flute.

He was the founder (in 1987) and director of Soul Purpose, the University’s student liturgical drama troupe, which creates new plays and performs them in churches throughout the country. In 2001 he received Valparaiso University Alumni Association’s Distinguished Teaching Award. He served since 2005 as Program Director of Valparaiso’s Lilly Fellows Program in Humanities and the Arts, the largest national, ecumenical association of church-related colleges and universities.

He was an active member of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education and its religion and theatre focus group. He was a member of the Bach Choir of Valparaiso University.

He is survived by his wife of 29 years, Margaret Franson, along with his parents, Robert and Betty (Steffen) Paul of Fort Wayne, IN; two sisters, Jane (Reverend David) Boedecker of Marshall, MI, and Joanne I. Paul (Reverend Wendy Vander Hart) of Arlington, MA; two nieces, Sara Boedecker-Johnston (Kelley James Johnston) and Emily Boedecker; several beloved godchildren and many friends.

A funeral service will be held Thursday at 11:00 AM at the Valparaiso University Chapel of the Resurrection, Reverend Frederick Niedner officiating. Visitation will be held Wednesday from 4:00 to 8:00 PM at Moeller Funeral Home, 104 Roosevelt Rd., Valparaiso, and from 9:30 to 10:30 AM Thursday at the Chapel of the Resurrection. A memorial service will be held in September. Memorials may be made to the Department of Theatre or to Christ College, Valparaiso University.

He will be missed. Several of you know, this blog was named in reference to my class' Freshman Production, in which he was heavily involved. Go with God, JSP.

And I got some other news today I'm rather concerned about...


But anyhow. I'm back on the road. Should be back in the Old No'th State tomorrow, in plenty of time to pick up Maggie. I have to remember to call them in the morning and tell them to give her a bath...

So let's end on something a little happier. And what could be sweeter than this?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sunday Secrets

So, every Sunday morning at midnight, the new crop of secret postcards go up at PostSecret. They're often poignant, typically interesting, and frequently amusing. And feed that voyeuristic thing we all have but don't like to admit to. I look forward to them all week.

I love, love, love this one, from this week's secrets:


(And no, really, I'm going to bed now.)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Joy and sorrow

They so often go together, you know?

I had a lovely day, here, personally. Lots of family around, good food, good conversation, good party. My relatives are crazy. My aunt Aphrodite told a story involving the word "bj". My cousins Gina and Candy showed up later and helped me put away the table and chairs (not light lifting!) and we had a good visit with them. It was delightful.

I logged on to Facebook afterwards and discovered that one of my (everyone's) favorite Humanities professors had died. I think he was in his 50s. Apparently he had a heart attack. Rest in peace, JSP.

But while all of this was going on here...remember how I blogged earlier in the week about how Tyler's fried was dying of testicular cancer? Well, Tuesday, he asked his girlfriend of three years to marry him. She, naturally, said yes, and the whole community pulled together to get the wedding planned in a mere four days. Tyler texted me last night and said that the local Fox affiliate had done a piece on them.

It's really lovely.

There's footage of the actual ceremony online as well, here.

Tragic. Beautiful. And really hopeful.

Friday, July 10, 2009

How is it Friday??

This week has been going by so fast...

Today was a little more laid back. I slept in a little, ran some errand with my mom, we made cookies, I went to the gym. And my cousins, whom I so totally adore, came over. We talked, we ate, we were loud. It was a very Greek good time.

Lots of culinary wonderfulness today. Portillo's hamburger for lunch, Giordano's stuffed cheese pizza for dinner. That's the stuff of epicurean Chicago legend.

And I worked out on this whole different cross-trainer today at the local gym. It was like some sort of stair-stepper/elliptical hybrid thingie. It was amusing and fancy and had a lot of buttons. It made my feet hurt (the elliptical always does, the past couple of weeks. I clearly need new shoes...). I had a short little workout today, only a half hour, just cardio, but, it was restorative. And something has to combat all the cheese and grease and cookies of today...

Family gathering tomorrow. Knitting Sunday. Road trip again Monday. I can't believe it's almost time to go back....

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Thursday confessional

I have a confession to make.

I really like the South.

I think that somewhere, at my core, I am a Southerner. I like to think of it in the same way I consider red to be my natural hair color, just not the one that grows in.

Don't get me wrong, I love Chicago. Great city. Good people. Shitty-ass weather. Freakin' traffic nightmares. Really craptastic weather (it's so grey here. I forgot about the grey).

Down south, we have sun. We have breezier days and sweet tea and Southern Hospitality. Nobody owns a snow blower. I'm equally day-trip close to the beach and to the mountains. There's way the heck more sunlight. Did I mention how significantly less grey it is down there?

Truth be told, I could be very happy staying in the South. Chicago would be a place I came to visit every year or two when I was feeling nostalgic and wanted good pizza. If it all came down to logistics, I'd sign on to be a "damn Yankee" in a heartbeat.

(Because you know the difference, right? A Yankee is someone who comes from up no'th. A damn Yankee is one who comes and never leaves.)

But here's the rub.

I have these people in Chicago. Family of both the genetic and voluntary sort. And every time I come up here, I feel so acutely the problem of being away from them.

My God daughter came over for lunch today. She's seven, and she's awesome. Smart kid (duh), just funny as heck. Kicked my butt in checkers. We went to pick up the pizza together - just us - and had a little girl talk. She's at that stage where she's just starting to figure out that the world really is bigger than her and she's trying so hard to make sense of it. She's an amazing kid. I also really like her mom, Shelly (her dad is actually the one I'm related to. When they got divorced, Shelly got custody of us). Oh, my word, I adore that kid.

And then I went over to Robin and Brad's for burgers on the grill. We assembled the usual crew, our core group of people who've been friends literally forever. And God...I can't even tell you how good that feels. I was sitting there tonight, at Robin's kitchen table, in the kitchen that Brad remodeled himself, with these people...them, and their one year old son, who just steals my little heart every single time he smiles. Bianca and Steve (Steve may have had a different pseudonym's 1am and I can't quite remember...) and their almost-three-year-old, who is like my favorite little boy (is he still a "toddler?" He sure isn't toddling...) in the whole wide world. Ali and Jer, whose wedding I was in, who, Ali and I have been friends since we were four and Jer and I lived together for two years. And Claudia, who's the closest thing I have to a real sister. I'm looking around at them tonight, and thinking of us all in high school (well, not Steve and Jer, they were later additions), sitting around the cafeteria tables. Doing choir and band and voice lessons. Going to school dances and football games. Ali and I climbing trees when we were little.

It seems, somehow, in retrospect, like such a simpler time. In truth, it was not. Adolescence is never easy (one of our attendings likes to say, "Puberty isn't good for anyone."), but we had a heaping pile of other crap to deal with, you know? Abuse and death and divorce and depression and all sorts of shit that adolescence is just NOT the time to be dealing with, but, you know, that seems to be such a time when life happens. Not just for our little clan and our friends, but for everyone.

And I look at us now, and we still have a lot of shit. But somewhere along the way, we turned into real grown-ups. With kids and lives and jobs and mortgages. With spouses and doctoral degrees and sensible cars and lawn mowers and dog walkers. With indescribable joys and unspeakable heartaches.

I cannot imagine my life without these people.

And while I think about staying in the South, or doing other fellowships elsewhere after I'm done with Child, or living in places like New York or Seattle or Canada, and I think about never spending another winter in Chicago, and living in a place where there's sun and beach and things that grow, and it all seems so utterly delightful...I cannot imagine myself being, long term, away from the minutia of our daily lives. Away from this, my chosen family. Away from my genetic family. Away from my cousins and my God daughter and my other good friends in the area. Not in any sort of permanent way. My roots are so deep here.

But I love what I do, and I love where I do it. I love the idea of experiencing different places and doing different things and establishing a life that is very authentically my own.

I do not know how to reconcile these things.

Fortunately, I have at least three years before the need to figure this out becomes more immediate. But, I? Have absolutely no idea how I'm going to do that...

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Florida Biker Bar

(From my Dad. Who is now old, although never a biker and does not live in Florida. Happy birthday, Dad!!)

Tuesday, July 07, 2009


So I'm in Chicago. And glad to be out of the car. But it's going to be a busy, busy week...

I had dinner with my cousins and my uncle tonight. I adore them, I do, but sometimes I wonder how I came out of this family (i.e., we were talking about a news story at dinner, and my cousin says, "Well, what do you expect, he's black?" I was like, really?? Because last time I checked white kids shot people too. And Hispanic kids, and Asian kids, and - wait for it - Greek kids).

I also set my parents up on Facebook. Apparently my mom's friends from work have been pestering her to join. Seriously, I find this weird. Not in a bad way, a weird way.

I keep thinking of a news story I read a couple of years ago about how there was this big shift of teenagers over to Friendster because there were too many "old people" (my age) on Facebook. My father's going to be 77 tomorrow. I doubt this bothers the teenagers too much, though, because clearly they all came back...

Tomorrow, as I mentioned, is my dad's birthday (happy birthday, Dad!). We're going to go to breakfast. Claud and I are going to hang out in the afternoon. Thursday my God daughter and her mom are coming for lunch, and then the crew is assembling at Robin's for burgers on the grill (mmmm). Friday my cousins (different ones) are coming for dinner. Saturday the whole family descends, and on Sunday, I will knit. I'm hoping to work in a couple of other friends, too, or maybe more time with the same friends. Then back in the car on Monday, home and pick up Ms. Mags on Tuesday, back to work Friday. So at least I get a couple of days to chill out and unpack my house...

Whew. I need a vacation from this vacation!

In other, not so pleasant news, I got word tonight that my friend's boyhood friend is in hospice and has about two weeks left. Keep them in your thoughts and prayers. And remind all the men my age that you know that think they're young and healthy and invincible that they're exactly the ones testicular cancer strikes. Regular checkups, self exams - it's important stuff. To you, and the people who love you.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Oh, and did I mention...

...I'm on my way to Chicago.

Jenn pointed out to me today that, what with all the wedding chaos going on, I neglected to mention (or, for that matter, think much about) the fact that I'm on VACATION for the next 10 days. And currently on my way back to the Chi for a week of that.

So my day, today, has been this:

1. Oversleep.
2. Haul my sorry ass out of bed.
3. Throw some clothes on.
4.Take dog to kennel.
5. Miss dog.
6. Realize I have no idea what pants I actually put on (but they're fine).
7. Go to new gym and get ass kicked by new trainer (on a side note? I really like the new trainer).
8. Come home. Shower. Put different random clothes on.
9. Swear a lot as try to assemble what I need to take to Chicago. "Pack" by throwing what clothes I want to take into a laundry basket, and the rest of the stuff (plus a different shirt...don't know why I apparently decided to wear the same pants and didn't think I was going to shower tomorrow, but, whatever) into an overnight bag.
10. Mess around on Facebook.
11. Realize I wanted to leave a half hour ago.
12. Swear some more.
13. Clean out the car.
14. Go to the bank.
15. Pick up new glasses.
16. Wear new glasses (I never wear glasses).
17. Obsess about new glasses every time I'm near a mirror and multiple other times (maybe I should've gotten the other frames? I hate having no peripheral vision. Ooh, the polarized sunglasses are awfully nice. I think my nose is wrong. The fact that these correct for my astigmatism makes everything all bendy, relative to my contacts. Ugh, I'm going to have to sleep without my contacts if I'm going to wear my glasses for a few days. I hate waking up and not being able to see. Maybe I should just screw this whole "glasses" idea and get Lasik).
18. Drive.
19. Drive some more.
20. Drive even more than that.
21. Subsist primarily on cheese, fruit, and occasional Doritos.
22. Hit three separate Starbucks and play Black Eyed Peas' new CD very loudly for the majority of the trip.
23. Decide I've had enough driving somewhere in the middle of Kentucky when I approach an exit that has signs boasting "Starbucks," "Steak 'n' Shake," and "Fairfield Inn." Score.
24. Check in and schlep cooler and overnight bag (both heavy) to room.
25. Call parents. Remember that I'm already overbooked for the time that I'm home, and that's just family stuff.
26. Log on to wifi. Spend a ridiculous amount of time on Facebook.
27. Realize it's suddenly gotten dark in my room and I forgot to eat dinner. Swear at Facebook. More cheese and grapes.
28. Attempt to blog.
29. Get distracted by email and Facebook.
30. Give up and go to bed.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Worn out

So it's just after midnight. I got home a little while ago. That? Was a fabulous wedding.

We (as a group) started the day with lunch at this rather nice little place in town. The 'maids, and Peng, and Peng's mom all went. And then we went to some little Asian nail place that was open today and had said they could accommodate us all. The 'maids got French manicures, Peng got sparkly silver nails. It was very relaxing, a nice time, and good fun.

Then we went back to the Presidential Suite (where Peng and Chef are staying, and Peng stayed there last night) and chilled for a while, and then the 'maids got all fussed up. One of the other 'maids did my hair, and it looked great. We got our dresses on, we got our Chuck Taylors laced up, we put on the wonderful handmade freshwater pearls that Peng gave us as attendants' gifts. And then we fussed around her, and primped, and fluffed, and straightened, and swirled, and then we tied her up into her dress. It was gorgeous. And then - they got married!

Peng looked amazing. The weather was absolutely perfect (the ceremony was out doors). The ceremony was lovely, and included a reading from Babylon 5, of all things (it was actually quite well stated). The other guests watched us from their balconies. There was a guy in a robe watching the wedding. It was hysterical. We went back and took sweet pictures, cute pictures, and silly pictures, including many pics of the shoes and one of the men holding Chef up, and one of US holding Chef up. The men were amused that we didn't seem to have nearly as much trouble as they did (Gomer would be proud).

The reception was awesome. Absolutely amazing food - which, I guess you can't expect anything different when the groom and half the groomsmen are chefs. We changed mine to the vegetarian option at the last minute (yesterday), and wow, I have to tell you, that was one of the best vegetarian meals I've ever had. And the desserts - incredible. The cake was almond cake with white buttercream filling and passionfruit icing. It was awesome. And then they had assortments of little tiny desserts as well, which were delightful.

And then, of course, there was the dancing. The music was great, the dance floor was a heck of a good time. We boogied down with Benny and Sparrow and Cleo, Ruthie and Mary and my new bridesmaid buddies, and Magical Corrina the All-Knowing and Magical Elise the Learning-It-All. I finally got a dance with Matthew at the end of the night (who was even more of a hoot at the bachelorette party yesterday, ps). Mary caught the bouquet, my groomsman caught the garter (which I knitted, and which turned out awesome, by the way).

So now, I'm exhausted, and my feet hurt, and I smell (a lot). But I really just think the whole night was just wonderful. It was a good, good time.

And big congratulations to PenguinShrink and Chef. I'm so honored you asked me to be a part of this. I love you guys!!

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Manicures done. Dresses on. I look ike the prow of a ship...
Having lunch with Mom, Peng, and the 'maids. Lovely. There were grilled peaches involved. Mmmmmm.

Saturday Fragments

It's PenguinShrink's wedding day!! Since I (am already late, and) clearly don't have time to do a real blog post today, I'm going to try and do some random post-by-text entries. We'll, uh, see how it goes....

But also - yay!!! Big congrats to Peng and Chef!!

Friday, July 03, 2009


Our old buddy Kedzie, who lived with us for two years when I was in medical school, passed on today.

He was a good, good boy. Kedzie was my surrogate dog for a while. After Wolf died in my second year, I wasn't sure it was a good idea to get another dog. And then Kedz (and my roommate, his human) moved in, and he tried to be a good substitute. He was downstairs a lot, and we'd hang out, but in the end, he was always Jer's dog. And he made me want one of my own. Fortunately, he and Maggie got to be buds pretty fast.

Kedzie was a sweet dog. Crazy, and hated thunderstorms something fierce. And really, really, really loved his person. He also had a penchant for jumping out windows. Shortly after Jer and Kedzie moved out (because Mags and I were moving to NH), Jer and his fabulous bride-to-be went somewhere, and he gets this call. It was the downstairs neighbors informing him that Kedzie had jumped out the second story window.

He was fine (crazy, but fine). He broke his little leg, but he was okay. Which makes my favorite part of the story funny. Apparently, the neighbor was sitting next to the window watching TV when he saw this big brown thing go past the window. And he thought to himself, "Wow. That was a really big squirrel..."

Kedzie had one too few toe these past few years after losing one to toe cancer. Toe cancer!! Who gets toe cancer?!

He also was self-petting. You could be lying on the couch, or whatever, and stick your hand out, and Kedzie would back up until your hand was down his back about to his hip bones and then he'd wiggle his butt back and forth. Instant scratches.

He was a good roommate, and a great dog, and he will be missed. Rest in peace, my sweet, furry friend. There's lots of butt scratches for you in heaven.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

3rd year redux