Friday, December 31, 2010

NYE

Happy new year, y'all.

More tomorrow. Honest.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Day of rest

Yeah, I got absolutely nothing done today.

I got up way later than usual. I made my way over to Larry's to check on his cats (he, of course, did not make it home yesterday). The driving sucked (SUCKED) so I just came home. And then...I think I putzed for a little while. Maybe read. Watched some TV. Took a nap. Putzed some more. Laid on the couch. Read. Watched more TV. Went to therapy. Book, couch, TV, dinner (frozen pizza and a glass of wine). And then I came upstairs, thinking I'd clean, but...

I just have no motivation today. And, really, I figure that's okay. It's vacation, after all, right?

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy Merry

I can't believe I haven't blogged since Wednesday. Thursday was my last day of work for TEN DAYS. Did I mention that? Ten whole days! Thursday was a little rough, but the situation at work will be changing when I get back, in what I hope will be a positive way.

Friday was excellent. Coffee was languorous and led to breakfast at the little Greek place nearby. I came home, I wrapped presents. And then I went out on the bike. I went 13 whole miles!! On real roads! In traffic! I was excited. And I gassed up the bike for the first time! By myself! Without overflowing the tank!! It was excellent. But when I came home, my legs were pretty cold (note to self: I have GOT to get some motorcycle pants already!!). So I crawled under the blankets in my bed. And was still cold. And was lying there being cold when the doorbell rang. Who could it be, I wondered. When I opened the door, there was a box. And in the box?? A fleece blanket!! The second half of my unexpected Christmas gift from Claudia.


Talk about psychic. What great timing! It warmed me right up when combined with my comforter. So much so that I PTFO'd. Zzzzzz.....

I woke up in time to go to dinner at Shady Pines. My mom made cookies yesterday, so they were still a little warm when I got there (YES, for those of you who are interested, it's true. The chocolate chip cookies continue!! She just uses the mixer now). Dinner with their friends was lovely. Came home, more zzzs.

Christmas morning I could NOT get up. In spite of having something awesome to go to! I finally dragged myself out of bed for reals (this was, like, the third attempt) around 9 (Maggie was like, whew, finally!!). I went over to Larry's to wish his cats a Merry Christmas (and also fill their food dishes), and they were so excited to see me. Despite being mostly a dog person, I've actually come to adore his cats. The little calico is all kittenish and playful, and she spent quite a bit of time chasing my fingers and purring like a motorboat. The black cat, who is long haired and soft and just gorgeous but who also sheds like a fiend, had previously been apprehensive of me and my smells-like-a-big-dog self. He appears to have gotten over this. He is all love and snuggles and even let me pick him up today.

I left them and went to Richard and Nellie's house. Since the coffee shop is closed on Christmas, they had us all over for coffee. Not to mention cinnamon rolls, eggs, and hash browns. Richard, of course, is Jen's ex-husband. Who lives next door to Jen's mom. And they still hang out with Jen and Bill.  It's all very absurd and of course they get along beautifully. It's a nice lesson in how to be an ex, frankly. Anywho, it was such a wonderful time. Kim and Quinn came by, Garth and Ginny, several other friends, and one of my favorite Villagers who is going to school up north and I don't get to see him nearly enough. Oh, my heavens, it was such a lovely time. Oh, and there was this cocoa...Richard's secret recipe....it was like drinking a Hershey bar, but better. Wow, so good.

I left there, picked up Maggie, and we went to Shady Pines. We opened presents, kibbitzed a bit, and then shared a Christmas meal with two of my parents' friends. Which was also lovely. The staff was great, the food was good, and some random staff member (I think he's a maintenance guy, actually) played Christmas carols on the new Steinway that was just donated to SP by the local Maggiano's, of all places. I hung out with the folks for another three or four hours, catching up on gossip and talking about the relocation and our life as it is now. My uncle called. My dad napped. Maggie intermittently demonstrated her new knowledge of "gimme your paw." It was really wonderful.

I came home from there via the cats (Mags, much to her disappointment, stayed in the car) and then decided I was going to put an hour into cleaning the house. I made it about 45 minutes, but decided I'd done enough to go over to Garth and Sherry's. Where we were again joined by Ginny, Jen, and Bill. Bill immediately peeled off to go play Xbox with their 14 year old son, and the rest of us drank wine and ate chocolate truffles and told stories. It was the perfect cap to a wonderful day.

The only thing that would've made it better would have been having all of our Chicago and Ohio friends and family nearby, and everyone else who is dear to us. Merry Christmas, y'all!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Two more days of work...

...and then I'm off for TEN. WHOLE. DAYS.

I can't even tell you how much I need this.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Rage, rage against the dying of the light

So tonight is the Winter Solstice. It's also a full moon, and there's a lunar eclipse. Apparently, it's only the second time in recorded history that's happened. How cool is that?

Went to a ritual at Jen and Bill's tonight. It was nice to be with friends and speak of our hope for renewal, revitalization, and transformation.

Here's hoping.....

Saturday, December 18, 2010

I love a weekend.

This morning, I was a little miserable. Didn't have much to say at coffee because there wasn't anything positive rattling around in my brain and I refuse to be that girl who's perpetually negative. But I got some work done. Jen and Bill and Garth and I got lunch at this new burger place in town which used to only be a food truck but then decided to add a brick-and-mortar store. It was a darn good burger, and the company was excellent. I came home, I putzed around, I tried to take a nap. And then I went to my friends' house for dinner. They asked me to come shoot their Christmas pictures this year. I was really honored. And some of the pics turned out really well (some of them were underexposed and blurry, but that's the beauty of digital cameras). My friend made lasagna, and we had a lovely dinner, and then watched the end of the Baby Blue basketball game. I left when it was bath time for the little one, stopped at the grocery to get dog food (I ran out yesterday. Earlier today I felt bad that we had no kibble so I gave the dog a bagel) and came home and watched the beginning of Titanic (I only like that movie until the iceberg hits). All in all, today was better. And hopefully tomorrow will be as well.

And then do you know what happens?

I have four days of work. And then TEN days of staycation. I'm so looking forward to that I can't even tell you.

Friday, December 17, 2010

At least it's Friday.

My day...was long. And can be summed up by this verse from one of my favorite Ani DiFranco songs, which has been running through my head all afternoon...

Everything I do is judged
I usually get it wrong, oh well
The bathroom mirror has not budged
The woman who lives there can tell
The truth from the shit that they say
She looks me in the eye
Says, "Would you prefer the easy way?
No? Well, okay then, don't cry." 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Fiery Thursday

So I get up this morning, and the whole world is covered in ice.

It was starting to melt, but the roads were still crappy. I made it to coffee, which was lovely; made it to work, which was not. And of course Thursdays are the days that I run like a headless chicken to State Hospital in the afternoons. The roads were better, but naturally no one canceled until I got out there. Then? Everyone canceled. Even my supervisor. I still had a lot of work to do from the big house, though, so I thought, fine, I'll stay and do that.

Which, of course, I couldn't, because it wouldn't let me on to the medical record from SH.

Fine. So I took my ball and my bat and went home. As it were.

I got home, took the dog out, changed out of my wet (because it's still raining) work clothes and into my PJs. How nice, I think, to be doing my work at home, with my dog, in my PJs.....alls I need is a roaring fire. So I try to build one.

And fail.

So I try again. And fail. Try, fail, try, fail. Give up, whine to my friends over text message.

At which point Bill shows up at my door. Bill, who is the master of the fire pit. Builds me a fire in no time flat.


No problem. Milked that for a good four hours. It was lovely. It made all the note writing and collateral calling so much better.

I love a good fire. I love having a fireplace. And mostly? I love my friends.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Parry. Thrust. Repeat.

I know the weekend isn't quite over yet, but I'm calling it - this has been a pretty good weekend.

Today was notable for several things. We had a good time at coffee. They had a little group of caroling girls there today (the Snowflake Sisters. How cute) who were pretty darn good. They looked like they were probably middle schoolers, which made their willingness to stand up in front of a coffee shop full of people and sing Christmas carols that much more impressive. It made me a little nostalgic (okay, a lot nostalgic) for my choir days. Had some good conversations with the usual weekend suspects. Had a good (decaf) mocha.

Met up with Larry later for noteable activity #2. Our friends' son has gotten into fencing. In a pretty big way, actually. So much so that he quit his other sports and now goes to fencing classes three days during the week and then has stuff on weekends. So last week, when Kim was talking about this upcoming fencing tournament, Larry suggested we go and support Quinn. Neither of us had ever seen a fencing match before - you know, movies and things, but not a real one - and thought it sounded pretty interesting. And it was!


Here's a picture of some nondescript children fencing that I stole from Kim's photos of an old tournament. I figure, since they're all covered up, it doesn't violate my no-people-on-the-blog rule. Cute, though, huh? Quinn is 10, I think. Those silver jackets they're wearing and their helmets (I'm sure they have a more technical name than that, but I'm also sure I don't know it) are made of some sort of mesh that senses when they come in contact with the other fencer's foil or sword. Those cords on their backs actually connect their gear to some big electrical apparatus that lights up and makes a noise when there's contact made, to help the referees know.

Larry described them as "tiny little fencers on leashes."

It was really a fascinating experience. I expected more swashbuckling. The kids appeared mostly to be stabbing at each other, but there seemed to be some ritual and finesse to it. One tiny little girl kept whacking her tiny opponent in the head, which cracked me up. Apparently the scoring has something to do with who is the aggressor, but you can also win points on a counter attack. There was a series of matches that somehow led to a bracket system, and then they all got set up into an elimination round. Larry and I had a hell of a time keeping up with the scoring and trying to figure out the complicated hand signals the refs kept using. We repeatedly thought Quinn won when he hadn't (but then again, we might be biased). He did okay, though. He was 5/10 in the "pools" (the thing that set up the brackets), and although he lost the first elimination round, he did really pretty well. Apparently he earned a bronze medal for his efforts, and did really well in the second tournament against the older kids. It was a good time.

We, however, didn't stay for the second match-up, because I had notable event #3, yet another applicant dinner to go to. It turned out to be a really good time, however. The restaurant we always go to is amazing, and tonight the company was great, too. We only had two applicants, and three residents, and one of them was Juliet, whom I just totally adore. The applicants were a lot of fun, actually. Both would fit right in to the program. Of course, I have no idea what the rest of their applications look like, but nonetheless.

It turned out to be a good weekend. Halle- fucking-lujah.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Saturday

What a great day. I needed one of those.

I've been bound and determined to ride the bike all the way to the coffee shop for about two weeks now. Last week, of course, it was too cold, but this morning, I decided, I could handle it. It was only about five degrees warmer, but I finally picked up my spiffy new armored, textile, winter-weight jacket the other day, and knew this time to wear a scarf, and put a second pair of gloves on under my motorcycle gloves. No problem, right?

Eh, it was still chilly. But I did it!

I rode the whole mile and a half on real roads with cars and things to the coffee shop. I parked the bike. I walked in...and looked at my watch. And realized I was there a good half hour before anyone else usually got there.

Oops.

But I got my (decaf) mocha, and hung out, and eventually the crew trickled in. All were pleased with my accomplishment. Larry - who hadn't yet met the bike - and Bill came out, sat on it, kicked the tires, looked at stuff. We hung out for a while, and then I rode it back home and swapped it out for the Jeep, so we could head over to the third annual Charity Breakfast With Santa that the Housestaff Council was hosting. I've worked it (and helped run it) the last two years, but this year, I finally said no. Still, I wanted to support the cause, and so the whole lot of us - me, Jen, Bill, Garth, Larry, and Ginny - went over, bearing canned goods and our nominal donations.

Residents were $5 at the door; others are $10. Now, in previous years, when *I* was working the door, if a resident came with a group of family members, friends, or whatever, I'd charge them all the $5 rate, especially if they came in with a sizable food or toy donation to the charities in question, and also if they were a particular friend to the Housestaff Council (like, say, last year's vice president). This time, however, I was not working the door. So I was told I could bring my spouse in for $5, but that was it. I turned to the group and said, "Who wants to be my husband?" So Larry was my temporary spouse. Which is lucky, because he ended up having to pay for me since I didn't have any cash.

We had a lovely time. The boys ate quite a lot of bacon. We saw some friends from work. I had really good eggs. None of us got our picture taken with Santa, however.

I came back home and got back on the bike. Drove it around the neighborhood a little bit, and then expanded my circle. I went on bigger roads this time. With more cars and things. And faster!

It's so funny. I get nervous about things like stopping and starting. Like, I worry when I know I'm going to have to stop and turn up ahead. But when I actually go to do them, it turns out fine. I make my turns. I slow down and stop and start back up again. I get my feet out of the way and back on the pegs. And while I don't have that muscle memory quite down yet, I'm getting the hang of things, enough that I can start worrying about things like sight lines and traffic and what part of the lane in which to travel. And there's this curious, whole-body intuitiveness to riding that's so different from being in a car. On the bike? It's a little more like...just being. You move, and the bike moves with you. You want to turn? Lean over. You want to swerve around a little pothole in the road? You just sort of wiggle your body the right way. All four of your limbs have a job, and they work together. You feel the road, you feel the wind. Today, when I got over 50 mph, I realized what it really meant that my coat and my body would act like a sail. I mean, I understood it conceptually when I read it, sure. But today I felt it.

It was awfully chilly, though. But I also discovered that if I pull my knees in more, I can warm up my legs with the heat from my engine. Sometimes that "air cooled" thing is a real bonus. 

I got home, and swapped out the bike for the Jeep again. Just in time, too, because as I was backing out of my parking space it started to rain. I ran over to the local Harley dealership, because I'd ordered a copy of the owner's manual for my bike and it had come in. So while I was there, I also picked up a neck warmer (its pink!) and a set of glove liners. The cashier and I had a nice conversation about our respective Sportsters. I have a 2007 extra low - she has the 2005 custom. She gave me some welcome props for riding in this weather. I pointed out that right now, the biggest thing I need to be doing is just staying on the bike regularly. I may not have gone for super long rides today, but it all adds up.

I made a wrong turn and took the scenic way home, which was fine with me. I hung out with the dog a bit, did some dishes, cleaned the kitchen, and then my godbrother (we have the same godparents) came down from Virginia to visit. It was interesting, actually - we figured that we haven't seen each other in person in about 15 years or so, but we're Facebook friends and he reads my blog (hi, cuz), and so it wasn't weird at all, once I got over the whole, "Wait. You're standing in my living room" phenomena. We had a really nice time. Had dinner, got coffee, hung out for a while with my parents. Caught up, talked about family, talked about new stuff, talked about old times. It was quite lovely. And a nice way to end the day.

Mike is having his annual Christmas bash tonight, and I'd planned on going, but I'm still a little wiped out, and so I think I'm just going to bed. It was so nice to just have a nice day after the week I've had.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Zzzzz

Yeah, this "no caffeine" thing is not going to be an easy adjustment.

Even my med student said to me today, "You seem...slower."

Thanks. There went your grade.

(I'm kidding. I'm kidding. I don't get to grade them...)

And THEN my attending was waiting for me so we could interview this one kid, but I kept getting tied up with my other two, and so she was like, okay, I'm going to go get some coffee. You want some?

::whimper::

Anyway. I made it through work with a lot of yawning. I then went and met up with my mom at the Shady Pines Christmas party, which was amusing. Visited with them for a while. Came home, ate some dinner, finished my notes. Read Facebook. And now....it's a quarter till nine and I'm so ready for bed...

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Crater

So I have an ulcer.

I kind of had a feeling. The symptoms fit. I consulted with my esteemed colleague, PenguinShrink, who agreed, and confirmed with our esteemed colleague, Dr. Wikipedia. Two shrinks and a website can't be wrong.

Mercifully, I also had enough sanity left to consult my primary care physician. She listened intently. She took notes. She - wait for it - pushed on my stomach. I said, "ow!" She said, "I agree, I think you have an acid problem." She used fancy words like "esophagitis," which sounded even more wise and learned in her British accent. And she wrote me a couple of prescriptions.

And then.........but then she said.......

I have to give up caffeine.

I KNOW!!

When I came to, I asked if there was a specific milligramage of caffeine I should stay under every day. But my entire social life revolves around a coffee shop! My mind was racing. Okay, maybe I can live with decaf coffee - if I must - but half my fluid intake comes from iced tea!! She failed to grasp the gravity of the situation and waved me off. "I don't remember, but the more you can cut out, the better."

I blinked incredulously. I'm a doctor. I'm a fellow, for God's sake. How am I supposed to get through my day without caffeine? What, am I supposed to get SLEEP or something?! Does she not know what an insomniac I am?!

So I did a little research. Turns out, no one knows the caffeine content of my beloved iced tea. But an 8 oz cup of brewed black tea contains about 50mg of caffeine. As does bottled Lipton iced tea. My daily mocha? 160 mg. And when I think I'm being good and getting brewed coffee? At Starbucks, a grande coffee comes with a whopping 330mg!! Decaf coffee, in case you were curious? 13mg.

So, I'm gonna let the iced tea slide, for now. Because cutting down from 210 mg to 63? That has to be a big improvement.

My recently-pregnant officemate assures me, too, that she now is equally satisfied by decaf versions of our favorite afternoon ritual.

And I'm not real fond of this nausea and epigastric pain routine.

Hmm. I wonder what a decaffeinated Kate looks like?

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Tough Tummy Tuesday

I'm sick. Weirdly, weirdly sick.

I woke up around 4am yesterday feeling pukey and with a significant case of the dry heaves. So I stayed home from work, and slept through most of the day. I didn't feel a whole lot better today, but I sucked it up and went to work for the first half of the day. I canceled my clinic and came home around 1. I wrote my notes from home, and ended up napping between each one. Good times.

I think I may have given myself an ulcer. I've been thinking this for a while, actually. And I'd blame all of this on that, except for the whole sleeping all day thing and the fact that my joints are all sore. But regardless, I picked up some Prilosec at the Rite Aid.

Whine, whine, whine.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

It's my blog, and I'll whine if I want to

So this particular blog entry comes with a disclaimer. Believe it or not, I keep a lot of personal shit off the blog. But I'm having one of those days weeks months moments when I just...don't care. To the best of my knowledge, no one who's about to be mentioned reads my blog, so it's probably not you (although you may know the players involved, keep it to yourself). No, I don't know that I want to talk about it. I just want to bitch.

I'm not doing so well. I'm going to be honest. I'm in a pretty dark place right now. I generally hold up the facade remarkably well, and even that is starting to falter. I'm finding myself much more negative these days than I want to be.

Friday was a horrible day. I got chewed out at work by my boss. I cried in her office for 45 minutes, after which I ran into the person I least wanted to see right then and had to walk straight into a family meeting. What almost makes it worse for me is that she thinks she's helping. I'm not going to perseverate any longer on whether she's right or wrong or just looking at part of the picture, because it's irrelevant. Yes, I'm off my game at work, because my entire life seems to be busy imploding. I'm not saying it's okay. I'm saying please give me some consideration for the fact that many people would not look okay from day to day. Please hear me when I say I don't understand what I'm doing wrong in any sort of prospective way. Please understand that I'm a little bit fragile right now and treat me accordingly. And know that my professional identity is such a part of the core of who I am, that right now I'm going to internalize every moment of potential criticism.

Friday after work, I spent an hour sitting outside the hospital in my car waiting for them to discharge my dad. And mostly crying. They finally let him loose, and I took him home, and promptly got into an argument with my parents about what essentially boils down to a tension between their needs and mine. I'm trying to keep my head above water, and I'm feeling like no one is acknowledging what I need. I don't care if that need doesn't get met, truly; I just want someone to recognize the kind of pain I'm in from the fact that my life currently sucks in multiple ways and both my parents are actively dying.

Meanwhile, I have this friend who is being remarkably ambivalent about what kind of friends we are. No, that's not true. I'm interpreting this friend's actions as ambivalence; in truth, they may be clear in a way I can't currently see, there's no way to know. But I feel it very acutely right now. I'm as needy as I get, which frankly isn't usually asking too much. I just want some consistency. I just want to know where I stand. And I just want, mostly, to feel like I have consistent support. I don't want anything to be this complicated right now.

And then, of course, there's this particular circle of friends that I have. And there's a developing schism in that group. I, truly, have no idea what to do about this. I feel like I'm going to need to choose a side in the near future, and I don't want to. It's not fair. I don't want to feel like my friends are choosing a side of this division over me, and I don't want to feel like I'll have to relinquish those friendships to stay neutral. Because then I might as well have chosen a side, which  feels like a lose/lose for me. I really value people on both sides. And I don't like being strewn akimbo in this process.

I'm feeling so unbelievably incompetent in pretty much every corner of my life these days. Personal, filial, romantic, professional, familial. I feel like a failure as a grown up. I pretty much hate my life right now. And in the middle of all of this chaos, on goes my personal work in therapy - dealing with my issues, figuring out who I am, what I want, and what's authentically me, trying to understand the things that repeatedly get in my way.

I want my life back. I want myself back. And I don't know how to get there.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Omen? Or not.

So my dad's in the hospital again.

He's going to be okay. It's a COPD exacerbation, it's that time of year. I expect that he'll be home tomorrow.

So we're sitting in the ER yesterday, and this trauma's coming in. And people are bustling around, and this nurse walks by, and says "all they said was that there was extensive damage to the bike and extensive damage to the helmet."

Oh, shit. I thought. A motorcycle accident. Is the universe trying to tell me something? Did I just make a huge mistake? Oh, my God....

So he rolls in.  He's talking, he's moving all four extremities, it's not as bad as it originally sounded. I'm a little relieved. I listen to the controlled chaos as the team runs the trauma. I listen to him scream when they roll him over. I think, wow. I'm glad he's okay. That could've been so much worse. I still wonder if the universe is sending me a message about having bought a motorcycle this weekend...

And then, the cop shows up.

Long story short? This guy ran a red light. He didn't have a motorcycle license. He didn't have insurance. He was high, and carrying drugs.

Okay, Universe. Point taken. I solemnly swear not to do that...