Sunday, December 11, 2011

Serenity or something like it

So I'm sitting here tonight, listening to this song over and over. I'm not entirely sure why. I can come up with at least seven reasons that make sense, but none of them seem to ring true.

This is the piece that (ironically) I can't seem to let go of:

The pain is self-inflicted.
I know it's not good for my health.
But it's easier to please the world
Than it is to please myself.
The rest is out of my hands.
I will learn to let go what I cannot change.
I will learn to forgive what I cannot change.
I will learn to love what I cannot change.
And I will change whatever I can.
Right now I can't care about how everyone else will feel
I have enough hurt of my own to heal.

It's been sort of a tough weekend.

It's been sort of a tough decade.

Yesterday was a whirlwind of emotions and conflict both internal and external.

One of the things that happened seems to be relatively symbolic of my recent life, actually...I got clawed up by my cat while I was trying to help him stop clawing me up. I really don't want to get the cat declawed because I think it's pretty brutal, but Lucky totally doesn't understand the indoor use of claws. I mean, he's been minimally clawing of the furniture - he generally likes to scratch on the carpet, which, knock yourself out, cat - but it's the clawing of me with which I take issue. So Jen says, oh, just clip his nails. That'll take the needle-sharp points off of them and make it less awful. So, okay, logical enough. But he freaked out and ran and hid, and then once I coaxed him out he sunk his claws into me repeatedly because he was scared and didn't want me to let go of him. So, in his mind, this is a good thing, right? I will hold solidly on to my Kate and she will not go away and she will make things better. But in practice, this is really painful for me. And of course, once we got to the actual clipping, that was no big deal and he didn't even flinch. And then I held him for a while, and we both felt better.

There's a couple of different ways I could work that metaphor to describe several of my relationships lately.

This is the other song that's been in heavy rotation in my internal world, which started because of a friendship that's actively and painfully falling apart and I'm making the conscious choice to not stop it from doing so.

But then I watched the YouTube video of this song yesterday (not this one, one that was at a radio station) and he was talking about how he wrote this when he was estranged from his son, which seemed timely, because this weekend my brother was in town to see our dad, who he hadn't seen in well over 30 years.

Still. It seems to describe an awful lot of my relationships, and that place I can't ever quite seem to get to where I step back and go, wait, I can't fix this by myself. I, conversely, so often just keep beating myself against the same brick wall because I get inconsistent messages from the other side of it. And I can't let go of the idea that I'm responsible for fixing things, that I'm the one who is at fault no matter what the truth might be.

It's something about maintaining control, I think. In refusing to be a victim, I absorb responsibilities that just aren't mine, because if I'm the reason things are fucked up, then I must still have the power to fix them. It's a potent sort of crazy.

Let's look at the lyrics from this one, shall we?

There's a wall gone up between us, ten feet tall and ten feet wide
We can hear each other screaming, but can't see the other side
And there's no getting over, and there's no breaking through
Until you can accept my hand when I reach out to you

I can't tell you how to live your life, I can't turn you into me
I can't roll this rock back up that hill, I ain't got the energy
So call me up when you get tired of pushing me away
I just hope we can be friends again someday

You can lead a horse to water, but you can't push him in
I'm tired of fighting battles neither one ever wins
The armor's getting heavy, and the quills have lost their point
Won't you meet me for an orange soda down at Tommy's joint?

I can't teach you how to chase your dreams
I can't make the sun shine through the rain cloud you drag around
I'll leave it up to you
My love for you is oceans wide, that's all I want to say
And I hope we can be friends again someday

Chili dogs and milkshakes down at the little gem
Fishing off the dock talkin' politics 'till 3am
Long drives through the countryside, afternoons that never end
It's all right here if we could just be friends again.

I know I can't change anyone, I can only change myself
But when the tidal wave of life rolls in I can only offer help
I don't know, some kind of compromise, maybe we could meet halfway
I know we can be friends again
I pray we can be friends again
I hope we can be friends again someday.

It feels to me like there's an overwhelming and incredibly meaningful metaphor in all this, but I'm just so close in that I can't put my finger on it.

I need to master that step back.

There's therapy tomorrow. I think that's good.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Oh, and one more thing...

Look up in the top left hand corner. Up there, by the web address.

Yep. It's a tiny little me.

Apparently that's called a favicon and Blogger now allows me to have one.

Cool, huh?

Wait, what?

How is it December already??

Today, I found myself driving down the I-40 behind a truck full of Christmas trees. They were pretty, and smelled way better than the livestock trucks I typically get stuck behind. The down side is that my car ended up spattered with sap...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

No rest for the wicked

No, no, I haven't fallen off the bloggy wagon. I've just had a very full few days. Claudia came down to visit this weekend and we had a blast. She got to hang out with a lot of my local friends. We had a very good time.

The highlights of our weekend (as I see them, in no particular order):
- good company and catching up
- fabulous dining out, and a lot of it, including trying several new-to-me places
- losing at 3-on-1 pool
- gluten free brownies made of awesomeness
- coffee
- Claud Meets the Village
- a new - and fabulous - vacuum to replace the one that died in the Unfortunate Catnip Mouse Incident of 2011
- breakfast with one of my favorite four year olds
- Cabaret. Or should I say, "cabaret."
- drunken Waffle House with the boys at 2am on a Tuesday.
- Claudia Learns Crochet
- so many moments of "now you see what I've been talking about, right?"


I dropped her off at the airport tonight and then went to say goodbye to my aunt and uncle, the ones that moved here nine months before I did. They've been such an incredible source of support, and they're moving back to Chicago on Thursday. It's tough for me, to be honest, and all of that saying goodbye in such a short period of time while running on three hours' sleep is even a bit rougher. So, my bed is in my near future, even though I have SO many more things to say.

But I will share this piece of completely awesome news -


I am officially a fully-licensed, board-certified, ready-to-roll General Psychiatrist. Cannot beat that.

Friday, November 11, 2011


I miss it. Which is why I PTFO'ed last night while thinking, "I should really post somethzzzz..."

Fortunately, Lucky, our new cat, cannot let a single 4:30 am go by unnoticed. Even without his bell (because he's figured out how to take his collar off in the past two days. Not okay. He's WAY too stealthy without it) he makes sure Maggie and I are awake to celebrate.

He's such a little pain in the ass at times. A sweet, adorable, totally lovable pain in the ass.

Seriously. Look at this face.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Alright. Enough is enough.

I miss blogging.

A LOT (LOTLOTLOT) has happened since I last wrote.

I took my General Adult Psychiatry Boards.

I decided to stay in North Carolina Chicago North Carolina Chicago North Carolina after graduation in July.

I went on job interviews. In Chicago.

I have a cat.

I turned 33.

I had really awful migraines like all the time. (They're better now, ever since...)

I gave up gluten.

I had a crisis of...something.

My car is perpetually flooded now.

I worked a lot.

I knitted stuff.

And, like, a million other things.

I meant to get back to blogging in September. Then, October. Then, you know, November is NaBloPoMo, which is the daily blog posting thing that really got this blog going in the first place. But, you's been stressful here.

We'll talk more, though.

I think I'm back.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Come on, Irene

I think the hurricane has left NC.

It was quite anti-climactic here in the Triangle.

I'm exhausted, because I was on at New State Hospital last night and totally overcaffeineated myself and so now haven't slept since 6:30 yesterday morning. So, I'm going to go to bed. But we are all doing just fine here. Maggie's totally chilled out. Even the motorcycle made it through without blowing over.

I will leave you with this, one final act of rebellion against my "no people on the blog" rule before I go medicate myself into Morpheus' realm - My coffee shop buddy Chris put this together today after watching several hours of totally ludicrous weather-related coverage. I think it sums up the aftermath of the hurricane (here, two and a half hours inland) quite well....

Friday, August 19, 2011


You know those days, when it feels like life just keeps pelting you with pebbles? Small things, a short sting, but over and over and at the end of the day you realize you're bruised and sore and you just want to go to bed?

It's been one of those days.

Except apparently what you do is whine over text message to your best friend, play Angry Birds for an hour, and then go to bed.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Perspective (just a little)

One of the radio stations I listen to has this Wednesday feature called, "You've got to be kidding me!" where you call up and discuss things that made you angry. It's mostly little annoyances and kind of reminds me of this site. It's funny and everyone understands that you're not like, oh my God, my life is soooo awful because my nail polish turned out to be matte instead of shiny or because you spent an hour shopping and then the grocery store couldn't take credit cards because the computer was down. Total first world problems.

My 8am patient came, but my 9am canceled, so after I wrote my note, etc, I was reading today's "You've got to be kidding me!" posts on Facebook. And there was one from a female soldier that read, "I woke up this morning and I'm still in Afghanistan."

It kind of gave me pause.

Now, don't get me wrong. I think this is a little bitchy. Not for nothin', but you made the choice to join the military. And, yes, people have many different reasons for doing so, and, true, they don't always let you make the decisions about where you go once you're in, but I'm saying, you knew waking up in a war-torn country that resents out presence there was a distinct possibility. And to post it in a forum like this is a little woe-is-me. Not that she's not entitled to it, but, nonetheless.


I'm looking out over the rolling green hills and bright blue sky of this hot North Carolina day. I'm seeing patients, I'm in the air conditioning, I have cute shoes and manicured nails. And, yes, I have a lot of things to deal with, and yeah, my job can get pretty taxing. But no one is shooting at me.

Well, I do live in the Dirty D. I guess it could happen. But so far it hasn't. And the gangs aren't real big on IEDs, either (pool noodle incident notwithstanding).

I've been obsessing a lot lately about where I want to be when this year ends. What sort of job, what sort of setting, etc, but also where I want to end up geographically. Raleigh? Chicago? New York? Baltimore? In the end, I suspect, it'll come down to where the best offer turns up. But this morning I'm thinking that it's nice to consider whether I'll be shoveling snow or dealing with traffic instead of if I'm going to run over a land mine today or someone is going to throw a grenade at me while I trudge along with 70 pounds of gear on my back in the desert heat.

I was talking to my supervisor a couple of weeks ago about making the decision to stay in the area or go back home, and I told her, it feels like whichever decision I make, it's going to feel like the wrong one. If I stay in NC, I'm going to wish I was in Chicago. If I go to Chicago, I'm going to miss my people (and weather) in NC. This sucks. And her perspective was, well, you could look at it as, whichever place you decide to go, you've got great things going on and great people to be with (there are fewer people there, but the same thing can be said for NYC or Baltimore).

I still don't know what the hell to do. But I'm trying to hold on to the perspective that it's a win-win. Or at least that it could be a lot worse.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Friday, July 15, 2011

A good half hour of entertainment.

Check out this site that I stumbled across yesterday. Especially nice for kids of the 80s. It brought back some lovely childhood memories....

Thursday, July 14, 2011


It was a generally good day.

I got up late, but I still managed to get coffee and breakfast and get to my morning meeting on time. I had a really good meeting with my research collaborator, and left with an in-theory-educational DVD about infant development titled "Everybody Loves Babies." I also left with a quest to purchase the book, What Babies Say Before They Can Talk, about infant communication (my research is on mother-infant bonding). Which, I found it on the nook bookstore (the nookstore?) and stopped in the parking lot of the Barnes and Noble near State Hospital to download it onto my electronic reader. I went to SH, at lunch and read the first chapter of What Babies Say, and had a lovely conversation with Peng and Mike and then our newly transplanted junior fellow, Moira. I had a lovely hour of supervision (we talked mostly about what novels we've been reading, since two of my patients are off for the summer and one went to the beach last week instead of coming to therapy). I ran and got more coffee (white mocha, yum). My last patient of the day no-showed (thankfully...) and so I got the rest of yesterday's diagnostic interview typed up. I kibbitzed with Peng and our boss Athena for a while, and finally came home and had dinner with my parents. It was nice.

Oh, also today I printed up a return label for and reboxed the First Aid for the Pediatric Boards from yesterday's post. Because I'm thinking that will be useless on the psychiatry boards I'm taking in two short months. And then I re-ordered the right book. From Barnes and Noble. 

And then! I came home, right, and I looked in my mailbox for the first time in several weeks (my mailman hates me). And in my mail I had the most awesomest card from Jer and Ali (and little baby Grace). On the front it says, "I'd totally take a bee for you" (there's a little picture of a bee) and then when you open it, it plays this song:

Which, I looked up on Lyrics Freak, and I think it's a song about a little bluebird nightlight. that so much.

(Thanks, guys!!)

In other news, my parents today attended the memorial service of one of their neighbors at Shady Pines. He was a nice guy. Lived downstairs, next door to the other Greek lady. He was 97, and he finally gave up golfing four years ago. I saw him last week and he was looking pretty good; apparently it was a swift decline, which is a blessing, I'm sure. Still, sad.

But here's the thing.

They came home with balloon animals.

No joke! There was a guy there making balloon animals. We think maybe he was a friend of the deceased. To the best of my knowledge, the guy that died wasn't a clown or anything. Maybe he just really liked balloon animals?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Not what I was hoping for...

Came in the mail today.

I got all excited until I looked at the cover.

Epic fail,

And this is not helping my resolve to study.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Monday, Monday

So I'm back home.

I have stuff to say, actually, and will try to say some of it in the next couple of days. But I got an hour and a half of sleep Saturday night (first moonlighting shift at New State Hospital) and last night I got home late (Rhonda made me and a couple of friends an awesome home-cooked Sri Lankan dinner), and I really want to go to bed early tonight. So for now, I merely leave you to ponder this:

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

All is well

So I was reminded today that it's been like three weeks since I posted anything. Fret not, all is well. Surgery went fine and mom is recovering nicely. I'll fill in the details one of these days. But I'd planned to spend a night or two at my parents' house...that was almost three weeks ago. I'm still here. And naturally, my computer is still sitting in my bedroom at home. That's why I haven't been blogging - it's a pain in the ass to try and blog from my phone, through Safari. But I downloaded an app tonight that might help. We'll see how this post comes out, this could lead to more frequent posting. And I should be back at my own place in the next couple of days. Here's hoping....

Sunday, June 19, 2011


So tomorrow is surgery. My mom is a trooper. She's like, okay, bring it on.

We had a nice day today, the four of us. I took Maggie over this morning and she hung out with my mom while my dad and I went to coffee for Father's Day. We had a nice time at coffee. It was the usual Sunday morning crew and they did not disappoint. Plus there was a cheese danish and a tasty cup of coffee in it for him, not to mention a good time playing Matchbox cars with the owners' two year old son. I took him back home (with an oatmeal raisin cookie the size of a hubcap for my mother) and then hit the gym. My trainer and I had a good workout, which included a lot of time throwing things at him. I picked up lunch for my folks and myself, and we hung out a while. My mom and I cleaned out my car and made a trip to their garage.

I came back home and decided I would finally try and jump start the bike. Which...didn't go so well. At first I couldn't get the seat off (the battery's underneath the seat). So I called Jen, who was awesome and came over to help. While she was on her way I remembered the owner's manual sitting on my dresser, and discovered that getting the seat off a Harley is surprisingly uncomplicated. But it was good that Jen came anyway, because then I couldn't figure out how to get to the battery. The owner's manual was COMPLETELY USELESS for this. We futzed. We poked. I swore a lot. We couldn't make the picture match the scenario in front of us. At which point we invoked my Harley Roadside Assistance, which, it turns out, only tows the bike, no matter what's wrong with it. So we called the Harley dealership in Raleigh and the guy tried to talk us through taking the battery out. We tried and poked and shoved and prodded and I swore some more, but we couldn't get the damn thing out. Which is frustrating, because how am I supposed to get the thing out to charge it in the winter?! We finally gave up. I will probably throw in the towel and tow the bike to the weekend. And while I'm there, I'll make them teach me how to take out the damn battery.

I went and got my nails done after Jen left and the guy commented on the grease under my nails. I just smiled and shrugged. I picked a nice shade of breast-cancer-awareness pink and pretty soon the grease was gone. I picked up dinner on the way back to my folks' and we had the best pizza for dinner that Durham has to offer (my folks finally got the sausage pizza they've been unable to find at the grocery store, and I got my very favorite: Chicago-style deep dish - it's not stuffed, but it's a reasonable approximation of Chicago pan pizza - with broccoli, green peppers, and feta cheese. Seriously, it's the best thing ever). My mom and dad added some Texas Toast they had in the freezer and we had a nice little meal. We watched some SVU and played with Maggie. We planned for the morning and Mags and I came on home.

It was a good Sunday.

Will keep y'all posted tomorrow.

Saturday, June 18, 2011


Olga's been out of the hospital and settled in her new rental place for several weeks now. So today she texted and was like, "how about we take the cat off your hands?"

Reasonable, right? I mean, Gulan *is* her cat.

I had no idea I was going to be so upset when the cat left. It really made me sad.

But I packed up the cat's stuff to take her over to Olga's new place. Gulan knew something was up and hid in the corner of the living room behind the piano and didn't want to come out. I finally bribed her with treats, picked her up and put her in the car. She sat very quietly on the front seat and purred when I petted her at stoplights.

And she was happy to see Olga and her son again. You know, in that cat way. Then she hid in the closet.

I got to spend some quality time with Olga and her little boy and her mom and sister, though. That was a nice cap to a busy day of errands and fussing and running around.

I'm really going to miss that damn cat...

Friday, June 17, 2011


Made it to Friday. Was supposed to be off today, but Mike got sick and I had to cover for him. So in I went. It didn't totally suck. And there was a really good lunch - tasty and also free, with good company. Can't beat that.

Mom's mastectomy is scheduled for 10:30 on Monday. We have to get her there at 8am. I'll post an update here and on FB afterwards.

I'm a little anxious. She's worried about the surgery, I'm worried about the recovery. Together we've got it covered, I guess.

Going to be a busy weekend getting everything wrapped up before Monday. Plus my cousin is in town this weekend, and I'm going to hang out with her and my aunt and uncle Saturday night. Definitely looking forward to that. And I'm taking my dad to coffee on Sunday for Fathers' Day. Will probably spend of Sunday with them. We'll see how things go...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Happy Wednesday

I took my computer to work today, and promptly left it in my car. So I'm blogging from my's not as easy as I'd hoped. Like, I couldn't upload a picture for Wordless Wednesday. So you get some verbiage instead.

Today was really long. And ended it with a session with my personal trainer. Not so conducive to my usual bedtime.

Maggie had a good day. She got to play with the little dog across the way at Shady Pines. She and Pepper had a great old time together while she and my dad were on a walk. Pepper's very cute.

Well, that's enough typing on my tiny keyboard. Maybe we'll do Wordless Thursday this week...

Blogged from my iPhone.

(Just kidding. I added that.)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Fair air

The AC is back on.

This morning it was 85 when I got up. Maggie was like a dishrag (until the leash came out) and poor Gulan was melted across the bathroom floor. All three of us are feeling much better, now, however.

One thing I do love about renting, though, is having a maintenance guy...

Monday, June 13, 2011

Hot in Durham

It's hot in my house.

84 degrees, to be precise. Our air conditioner must've gone out today.

Bleh. Hopefully they'll fix it tomorrow. I called and left a "we're so hot!" voicemail on the maintenance line.


In less "bleh" news, I had a great weekend. My uncle and my cousin came in for graduation. Graduation itself was a pretty fun thing. Long, but fun. One of these days I'll write an actual post about the graduation ceremony, but I'm hot and I want to go to bed.

My uncle left Saturday and was definitely not here long enough. It was really good to see him - it's been over a year. I think he was a little anxious about seeing my mom sick, but I think he was pleased with her progress and all and all it was a very positive visit. My cousin stuck around until today. We had a great Sunday - breakfast out, coffee with the Villagers (including Misty's new puppy, who is so cute it might overload your brain), a jaunt around Raleigh, a visit to the State Hospital campus, a trip to the Harley Davidson store, and a stroll around the State Farmer's Market. We hung out with my parents a bit, and then had dinner at a place I'd not tried before, but with which I was really pretty impressed. She came to coffee again this morning to meet the AM crew. It was great to see her. She's been such a huge support for me.

Today was super productive. I got a lot done at work, including 53 minutes of actual psychiatry. But I also replaced my ID badge, did all my little hospital educational crap, got my motorcycle parking pass, re-joined the APA (my membership lapsed), filled out two separate applications for moonlighting, ate a little lunch, did a little therapy....

Not bad for a Monday.

Here's hoping I don't melt before Tuesday....

Saturday, June 11, 2011

What a great weekend.

Family in town. Graduation last night. Will write more about it soon, but right now just exhausted and happy.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011


Today was close to being the most boring day in recorded history.

I'm on Consults, now, right? Just for kids, but of course all of our child consults are filtered through Psychology first, which means we only consult on the kids who need meds (generally). It also means the service is very hit-or-miss.

Today was a miss.

I don't generally complain about not having a ton of work to do. But today started at 6:45am, when I saw my therapy patient. It was really early. I was really tired. There was caffeine, but not enough. So spending the next four hours sitting on my hands wasn't very appealing. I read about old patients and a potential patient. I caught up on some of my friends' blogs. I hacked my way on to Facebook (it's supposed to be blocked at the hospital).

Cleo got me to Starbucks to refuel for the afternoon, and that mocha was worth all the calorie shuffling I had to do to drink it. I had a reasonable clinic planned, but then my new patient cancelled, leaving me another two hours to read CNN and play Solitaire. And my 3pm was 30 minutes late. But at least I saw one patient today (well, two, with the therapy patient).

I still left at like 4:30. Which is awesome.

I think I have a little fourth-year-itis. Not that it means much, really. I'm ready to move on, but I'm moving on to another year of fellowship, so it's not a big transition. Still. It's time for a change....

Sunday, June 05, 2011


Faculty-hosted graduation party number 2 tonight (actually, this might be #3....).

It was another nice night of good company. 

I love my program.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Saturday night

Five random things on my mind tonight....

1. It's my mom's birthday. Happy birthday, Mom.

2. About a month ago I backed into some guy's car, and we're trying to settle without involving my insurance. We've spent part of the evening negotiating by email. He got a little snarky. The whole thing is summed up nicely in this quote, courtesy of Claudia (who's also given me some good advice about this): "Good tactical  move not calling him an asshat."

3. Wow I'm tired. And I have to be at the gym at 8am to work out and meet my trainer.

4. Tomorrow's going to be another busy day. Graduation party number two, you know, before the actual graduation next week.

5. Today was also Chicken Day. One of the local volunteer fire departments, to which a couple of my friends belong, does this big fundraiser every year where they spend all night cooking barbecue chicken. It's really good. And they rig up a drivethru at the firehouse, which just cracks me up (and is very convenient).

Friday, June 03, 2011

Full circle

Tonight was the first in a series of graduation celebrations. Our chairman had all of us over for dinner, which was exactly how I started residency. It was a good time, full of stories, fond memories, and hearty laughs. I still really like my classmates, although there are personalities to which I gravitate more than others. The Pink Office was reunited. I got to see Sparrow for the first time in a while. And of course we had a lot more kids than the last time.

Funny how much things can change in the course of four short years.

And how many things haven't.

What a nice evening. 

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Suspending reality

So I've taken to watching movies on Netflix during my workouts. 30 minutes at a time, on my tiny iPhone screen, on the treadmill. But you'd be surprised how big that screen seems when you get into the movie. Anyhow, I only had 20 minutes left of the movie Up, so I just finished watching it.

I'm going to need to watch it again, not broken into 30 minute chunks.

So far I'm going with, cute. I really liked Kevin, the bird, and Doug, the dog. Really liked the dog. Kinda makes me wish Maggie had one of those collars. She's so quiet. I'd love to know what goes on in that furry little head.

Might have to Redbox it and take it to my parents'.

Next up in my queue is Outsourced, or maybe Kickass. Prior to Up I watched Easy A, which is a modern-day, high school take on The Scarlet Letter and which I also highly recommend (I was laughing, in public, on the treadmill, at my tiny iPhone screen).

As beyond believable as I found Up, this still sometimes seems preferable to the real world, where today in clinic I saw a high school student who already had three kids.

Sometimes reality is just as beyond belief.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011


Okay. I'm back.

That was a somewhat unscheduled break, but clearly I needed one. I'm still not sure I have anything useful today, but I've been assured that's okay.

It's been sort of a stressful month over here. Not sure I can point to any one big thing in particular (except the working two weekends in a row), but there's been a lot of little stuff that keeps cropping up.

June, however, is going to be full of stressors. Graduation is next week, and I'm going to have family in town for that, and then my mom's mastectomy (finally) is on the 20th. Among other things.

So it's probably better if I get back into the blogging habit and resist my urge to hide in the shadows of my life as much as I can.

I'm also going to try not to be all Debbie Downer. We'll see how it goes....

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Mom's day

It was a nice Sunday today. Took my parents breakfast, then my mom and I went to coffee. She got to meet a little more of the Village and see people she knew and likes and doesn't get to see very often. She reported that she had fun, and I believe her (I did, too). We got to spend some quality mom-and-daughter time while Maggie dad-sat (he and I got some time in over lunch, too, don't worry). In the afternoon I went to a friend's graduation party, which was at this brewery in town which is pretty unique. All they serve is beer, so they actually encourage you to bring food in - so we moved in with our pig-pickin' and potluck (which was originally scheduled to be in a park). And they advertise themselves as a "kid and dog friendly" establishment, which meant I got to bring Maggie. She ate some pork, got lots of love and attention, met some other dogs, and thoroughly wore herself out.

All in all it was a good day, with family, friends, and even some time with my own "baby." Can't beat that...

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Sage advice

So my trainer tells me this morning that what I really need to do to lose weight is decrease my stress. He tells me there was a big article on hormones and weight gain in The Journal Of Really Fit People or one of those fancy publications he reads.

Yep, Buddy. True that.

What he didn't tell me, however, was how exactly I'm supposed to accomplish that. Especially with my life. 

Thoughts? Short of magically generating siblings, marrying rich, or being a bad shrink, of course...

Thursday, May 05, 2011


Since I missed Wordless Wednesday, I give you this, which I just love. It's a photo essay on dogs in the military. The pictures are awesome, but the copy is useful too. Did you know war dogs in Vietnam were considered surplus equipment and left behind when the war ended?? Shameful. Fortunately, the military has since seen the error of their ways (at least about this; there's always room for improvement).

Monday, May 02, 2011

Hard to know....

It's an historic day here in America.

When I went to bed last night, I noticed that someone on Facebook commented the president was about to give an address. Weird, I thought. What I should've thought was, weird, I should probably pay attention to that. But I was so wrapped up in my own thoughts that I just went to bed. I tossed and turned for several hours, and at no point did I think, let's check Facebook. Let's read CNN. Let's turn on the TV. I finally fell asleep after 11.

When my alarm went off at 5, I had a text from Mike saying simply, "Osama is dead."

For real?

That's when I hit Facebook, CNN, and the TV.

I don't know how to feel about this.

I'm glad we made this big gain in the war on terrorism. I do not mourn his passing. I'm glad for the spike that's about to happen in Obama's popularity, what with next year being an election year. I feel compassion for the families of the 9/11 victims who report having closure and feeling like justice has been done.

But at the same time...I cannot celebrate his death. I don't know that we really had a choice, but I believe killing is wrong, whether done in the name of a perverted distortion of a religious text or in the name of vengeance and justice. An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind. And furthermore - there's going to be backlash from the remains of al Qaeda. I'm frightened for the safety of Americans, at home and abroad. And I hate that bin Laden died a martyr.

What impresses me is that we could've easily defiled the body, kept it in a freezer somewhere, cremated it...all a final "fuck you" to the man that gave us a huge national black eye and nationwide PTSD. Instead, we were respectful, handling the body in the Islamic tradition. That's classy, America.

I am somewhat hopeful, too. I do hope that when the dust settles, we'll be able to bring our troops home. That the world will be a more peaceful place. That maybe, ultimately, one day, the world will be a little safer.

And one final feeling...I am, as always, proud of and indebted to the men and women who serve to keep us safe. I may not always support the war, but I always support those that fight it.

It's an amazing thing, this. We'll see how it pans out...

Sunday, May 01, 2011

More weekend, please.

It's been a nice weekend.

Had a good ride yesterday. Went down to the motorcycle shop nearby looking for a cargo net (they were sold out) and took the looooong way back. I did much better on this ride. I'm definitely doing better than I was, say, 200 miles ago when I bought the bike. And it was really nice. There were a lot of other bikers out on the road, too, which was cool. I need to keep riding. One of my biker friends just sent me a link to a map of a ride they take often, which I need to try out one of these days.

Had a nice visit with Olga last night, too. She's recovering nicely from her pneumonia and her bedsore is healing. It's such a long road for her  - it's been 10 weeks since the fire, and although she has a long way to go, she's come so far. She's so awesome and amazing. I'm glad we're friends.

Went for sushi last night with some coffee friends and friends of theirs. Met some fun new people. Hung out with some fun folks I already knew. Ate some really good vegetarian sushi (I love me some good vegetarian sushi). Had a really good time.

Today was a little more laid back. Coffee with the Village, lunch with the girls. Worked out with my trainer. Tried to take a nap (didn't work). Dishes, laundry, blah, blah, blah. Can't complain about today except that it's followed by a Monday.

I start consults tomorrow. I'm definitely looking forward to the lower intensity. It'll be nice to have a little change of pace....

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Monday, April 25, 2011

Yiayia on relationships

Athenos has this new advert series about the stereotypical, old country Greek grandmother. It's really, really stereotypical....but also funny as hell.

Click through and watch them all (there's only three). Hilarious, especially if you have a little judgmental yiayia from the old country (which I do not, but I've known many).

It does make me miss my yiayia a little bit. She was nothing like this...which is probably why I miss her so much...

Sunday, April 24, 2011


What a great day.

Met with my trainer first thing this morning. The gym was so empty! We had a great session, and he even let me throw things at him at the end (always a good day). Was gross and sweaty, but went to coffee anyway. Today was mostly just the Village, which was sort of nice. Had a skinny caramel latte to celebrate the beautiful Spring day. Had a really good time with my friends. Stayed a little too long.

Ran home and showered, made it to Shady Pines before the priest from the local Greek Orthodox church came to do a shut-in visit for my parents. It was actually quite a lovely visit. I hadn't met him before, but he was a really nice man. We sang Christos Anesti, prayed a little, and then he gave them communion, and me too - I told him I felt weird about it - I'm no exactly a shut-in - but he said some very kind and convincing things.

Afterwards we went to the Easter brunch at SP. We sat with two of the friends my parents sit with for dinner most nights. They're adorable. They've been married for 68 years. Sixty-eight! It's amazing, really. I can't even get my head around how you meet someone at 17 and know they're the one you're going to be old with, have kids and a life and cancer with. And they're just totally cute as anything. We should all be half as lucky. She's dealing with breast cancer now, too, and is a few months ahead of my mom in terms of the schedule of things. She's doing so well. She's a great influence for my mom, I think. A good support and a great role model.

After lunch I brought Maggie home and then - for the first time in like six weeks - I went out on the bike. It went pretty well. The ride was beautiful, down by the lake and out in the country. I got a little lost, and ended up at the hospital. I can get home from there in my sleep (and probably have), but it required me to ride on a couple of big roads. Funny, they weren't as scary as I was anticipating. Especially after I'd found myself in a couple of 55 mph zones out in the country. I did a pretty good job, mechanically speaking, too. I only stalled the bike out twice, had one ugly turn and one sketchy downshift. I've got to start getting out on the bike regularly again. After all, there's only one way I'm going to get good at this.

The rest of my day was less exciting - cleaned the kitchen, did the dishes, made lunch salads for the week, etc. But on the whole, it was a very lovely Sunday. And a good Easter.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


So I saw Olga today. She has the breathing tube out and is doing great. She looks awesome. We spent like two hours catching up and chatting - she's definitely back to her old self. Which is just so great.

She reminded me that only 0.3% of adults who go on ECMO (the lung bypass she was on) ever get off. It's incredible. She's still got a long road ahead of her - adjusting to the amputation, and her other foot might need a skin graft - but she's just like, okay, so this is what I have to do.

I'm just so grateful she survived this.

We talked about her son, about coming back to work, about rebuilding the house. She's so forward thinking. Speaking as someone who gets caught up in the drama of the moment so often, it was nice to hear her talking about the future and having goals, etc.

It was such a nice visit. And it was something I needed so badly.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A clear sign...

I just wrote this in an email...

I think we all struggle with getting to know who we are, finding out what really validates us, understanding the ways we relate to people and what brings us down or lifts us up. We get mired in patterns that are comfortable and familiar but unhealthy or unhelpful, and I think one of the functions of real maturity is being able to step back and observe that and adjust our course accordingly. Turning that rudder, unfortunately, can be really hard work, but it also shows us so much.
Blah, blah, blah. 
This is a clear indication that I need to be blogging more. Otherwise I start writing crap like this in random emails. I obviously need an outlet for my blathering on...

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Sick day

I woke up this morning with some sort of GI awfulness. Fortunately, Peng was able to cover my patients at work ('cuz she's cool like that). I stayed home slept and drank fluids and ate popsicles and watched a day-long marathon of Law and Order.

I'm a little better. Hopefully, tomorrow will be okay, because I've been off both of the last two Wednesdays and haven't seen my Wednesday patients in three weeks.


(Aren't you glad I started blogging again?)

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Yeah, I don't know....

....why I haven't been blogging lately.

Partly, it's just that I've been tired at the end of the night and falling asleep pretty early.

One of my friends pointed out today, though, that I've been fairly absent from Facebook as well. And coffee, while we're at it.

Maybe I have been a little withdrawn.

Not really sure why...

I'll try to do better.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Love Thursday

Ten things I love (in no particular order)....

I love vacation.

I love good news from good friends.

I love some particular friends of mine who don't have such good news tonight.

I love iTunes and loud, good music.

I love that feeling I have when I leave the chiropractor and it feels like my body is actually aligned for a moment.

I love dinner at Shady Pines with my parents and their spunky, hilarious, kind friends.

I love that my parents have crafted a whole circle of friends at Shady Pines.

I love that I'm finally a redhead again.

I love that my trainer used the word "athletic" to describe my work at the gym today (bless his delusional little heart).

I love that I have the world's best dog and a furry houseguest who purrs (if only dogs could purr!).

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I'm still here

I don't know where I've been for the past week.

I think, at the end of last week I was busy being stressed out and tired and ready for vacation. And the last four days I've been something of a vegetable.

I'm on staycation. It's beautiful. I have some actual things to do during the week, so it's not as awesome as it could be. And the unfortunate thing, actually, is that I was supposed to be in Chicago this week. I'm actually pretty bummed that I'm not there. But, duty calls. So here I am.

I really have been a bum this week. It's been so nice. I've been to the gym every day. I saw the chiropractor today, for the first time in three weeks. I have two sessions with my trainer this week, and two with my shrink. I've watched some Netflix, went to coffee every single morning, did my own grocery shopping - twice - instead of using the online service. I hung out. I cleaned out a closet today (mostly).

Maybe I have done some productive things...

The dog and the cat are...well, it will get better. The cat is attacking the dog now, which I think is actually a positive thing (and she doesn't have claws, so it's also a not-especially-dangerous thing), because at least they're making contact. I watched Gulan hide on the steps today and swat at Maggie. Maggie is less scared of her, but still fairly wary. And I kind of wonder, actually, if Gulan would respond to Maggie chasing her, but Maggie, of course, is much too polite to do that.

Gulan is warming up to me, too. She's stopped hiding constantly in the basement and has started trying to steal my cereal in the mornings. It's actually pretty cute. She comes up for love at other times, too, and even has been sleeping on the second floor with us (although, in the bathroom). I figure she'll get adjusted just in time for Olga to want her back...

Olga's doing pretty well. Still in the ICU, still on intermittent dialysis, still weaning from the ventilator. Slowly, but surely, getting better.

Tomorrow my mom has a procedure at the hospital. Friday I've got a couple of things I need to do, but I still have Thursday and the weekend....

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Not that they don't pee on the floor too....

Had a long day at work.Skipped the gym, because my knee's acting up and I'm meeting with  my trainer tomorrow night. Got home, discovered the cat had peed on the floor. Left a HUGE puddle. Cleaned it up, cleaned up the litterbox (it's the fancy self-cleaning kind, but the little container was full), grumbled a little.

Went upstairs, ate some dinner. Gulan comes upstairs and jumps up on the arm of my chair, purring and all love. Until Maggie comes over to see what's up. She leans her little head off the chair, and Maggie meets her nose to nose. All seems fine until - without any warning - the (fortunately declawed) cat takes a swat at her and starts hissing.

Poor Maggie was so startled, and just kept looking at me, all baffled, like, "But....but....I just want to be friends! What did I do??"

Now, I feel for the cat, I do. Her house burned down, she was living in the basement utility room of some strange people, and then a totally new strange person steals her and whisks her away to a new land of weird that has a giant smelly dog in it.

But here's the thing....I like cats, but really? I'm a dog person.

Not to mention, I've had this particular dog for seven and a half years. Dog's been with me through some of the worst times of my life. And I'm nothing if not loyal - usually to a fault. The moral of that story being, the way to incur favor with me? Is most. definitely. NOT. to mess with my dog. Especially when I'm all tired and cranky and post-weekend coverage.

Saturday, March 19, 2011


Working the weekend. Nice night out with the girls, but I stayed out later than anticipated, and my alarm goes off at 5am...

Maggie turned nine yesterday. She's the best dog ever. I love that silly mutt. She's so smart and sweet and awesome.

Gulan is still hiding in the basement, but at least she's using the litterbox now. And when I went down tonight, she was sleeping in the hallway, instead of in the back corner of the closet behind the fold-up bed.

Olga has now lost her entire left leg and went back to surgery today to control some bleeding. Keep praying for her, to whatever deity you think is listening.

My neighbors are really loud. Don't they know I should be asleep??

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A few words on a Wednesday.

Cat still hiding, but when I came downstairs today she was sitting outside the closet instead of in the back corner. And I think she sprayed the living room (it STINKS). And she still isn't using the litterbox.

But she's awfully damn cute.

Dog is still awesome.

Kate is still tired.

Situation normal.

Monday, March 14, 2011

And back to Monday

Today was just long. And tiring. And that damn time change really screwed me up. Could NOT get out of bed this am. Grrrrrrrr....

Didn't help that the cat decided that 1:30 am was a reasonable time to start talking to us from her perch on the bathroom sink. Not okay, kitty. Neither was the 4am serenade. But then of course, we haven't seen hide nor hair of her yet today.

I figure she'll come out eventually...

Cats. Go figure. 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sunday fun-day

It was a really nice Sunday.

I slept in this morning - not entirely on purpose, mostly the effect of that whole Daylight Savings Time thing. Went to coffee, and had a really nice visit with the group, as well as the first iced coffee of the season. The owner's oldest child (I think she's 4) came and sat with us. She's completely adorable and this funny little chatterbox. We were playing tic-tac-toe (she learned this game this morning) and she looks up at me and says, "Do you have a wife?"

Wow, I thought. Good for her parents!

"Nope." I told her. "I don't have a husband either."

"Well, why not?"

You don't know the half of it, kid. I said, "Well, I haven't met the right husband yet."

"Which husband are you going to marry?" She asked.

"I don't know. But if you meet him, let me know, okay?"

She gives me the perfect four year old hands-on-hips, you're-a-silly-goose head tilt. "Well, that's silly. How would I know who YOUR husband is if you don't?" All I could do was laugh. The girl has a point.

So I let her win at tic-tac-toe again...

Went to the gym after coffee. Had a good workout. Chatted for a few minutes with my anxious trainer. You know, he just wanted to make sure I wasn't too sore after yesterday's session. Were my knees okay? What did the armband say about our workout? Did I have any thoughts about nutrition? And of course, I wasn't, they were fine, it said we burned a reasonable amount of calories, and nope. Such a nice change from my workouts with Gomer when I couldn't move for several days afterward.

(Did I mention I'm wearing this little armband now that tracks all the calories I burn? It's one of the coolest gadgets ever. It's part of the Jenny Craig Metabolic Max thing. It counts calories burned, steps, amount and quality of activity, even how much sleep I get. So much techno-geeky awesomeness.)

(Did I mention I was back on Jenny Craig? Yeah, that's a whole other blog entry.)

So I came home and showered, and then I met Sparrow for lunch, which was really nice. We met at this local Greek family place that's just sooo good. Had a nice conversation, did some catching up. I took the bike to and from lunch, which was also great. What a beautiful day for a ride. It was almost 80 here today, and sunny, blue skies, just gorgeous North Carolina spring weather.

The rest of the day was the usual...laundry, dishes, groceries. Prepped for the week. Watched the Cubs win in preseason. "Rescued" the cat from her hiding spot in the basement (twice). Made dinner. Just a nice, comfortable day. Doesn't get much better than that...

Well, except when that happens on a Saturday or a three day weekend...

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Cats n dogs

What a week.

Wednesday was the big day of oncology appointments for my mom. It's been a year since the stroke now so they're entertaining the idea that something more definitive can be done for the tumor. We saw surgical oncology, radiation oncology, and medical oncology. The team is definitely moving towards surgery and chemo/radiation. I think that's a good sign. There was a day when they wouldn't have entertained the idea at all because she has some questionable evidence of metastatic disease (although her medical oncologist doesn't think it's anything, actually), and that day wasn't more than a couple of years ago. But the fact that they're even ready to consider surgery makes me feel like there's a good chance at extending my mother's life.

The day itself was productive, of course, but crazy stressful. We were both really anxious about what they were going to say, not to mention about the whole process itself. As it turns out, we get to be anxious a little longer. They found something questionable on the mammo of the other breast, so they need to do further testing before they can actually make a plan. So we follow up again the first week of April to do the scheduling and more definitive talking. My mom has friends coming to visit at the end of April, so I suspect when we all put our heads together they're going to schedule the surgery in May. Which is helpful for me, too, because I'll me on Consults for May and June, and the scheduling is more flexible.

It does leave my planned trip to Chicago at the end of this month in question, however, because of some of the testing they've got scheduled. My mom is pushing me to go, of course, but I'm still not convinced.

In other convalescence news...Olga is getting stronger by the day. She's still on the ventilator but has done very well off of heart-lung bypass. Unfortunately, though, as a complication of the bypass, her foot didn't get perfused well enough (they focus on perfusing the important things - brain, heart, kidneys - and sometimes the peripheral stuff doesn't get enough blood flow. And let's face it Olga's feet are a looooong way from her brain) and had to be amputated on Friday. I can't even imagine how hard that's going to be for her. Olga's kind of a fashionista, you know? Cute shoes. Cute skirts. Cute toes. Well, I mean, the shoes are still in...and there are a lot of cute pants...and we can still go for manicures.

But in both cases...I can't imagine losing a piece of myself. I mean, like, a real, visible piece of myself (I say this as someone who has already lost most of her accessory organs). Whether a mastectomy or a foot amputation, there's a very obvious void created, you know? But at the same time, I'm amazingly glad both Olga and my mother have both thusfar survived something that could have killed them. It's a steep price, but compared to the alternative...

Life gets so complicated sometimes.

In related news, we have a new little houseguest.

Her name is Gulan (it means "Cutie" in Swedish), and she is Olga's cat. She's been staying with some friends, but their dogs aren't so cat friendly and they can't let her out because they live in coyote country (real, wild coyotes, not Maggie-like coyotes-once-removed). So she was living in their utility room in their basement. It seemed kind of inhumane, so they looked for alternatives, and I figured it was the least I could do. So we brought her here today. She keeps hissing at Maggie, but Mags is being very respectful. I'm sure they'll be just fine.

I did, however, forget about two things when I offered to do this... my hatred of litterboxes (haaaaaaate) and my cat allergy.

I addressed the one by irrationally spending an obscene amount of money I don't have on a self-cleaning litterbox (Hate. Hate. Hate.). I totally can't justify this at all, unless of course the cat moves in permanently, which is not the plan. I'm sure Olga will want her cat back in a couple of months, and I can go back to my cat-dander-free existence. And I can probably sell the litterbox on Craigslist. Until then, self-cleaning litter and a good dose of antihistamines should get us through.

She's a sweet old thing. Who's currently hiding somewhere in my house where I can't find her.

I do hope she remembers where that fancy litterbox is.........

Friday, March 11, 2011


It's been a long, stressful week. I promise to update the blog tomorrow, possibly with pictures. But for now? Bed.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Blah, blah, blah

It was a big day for some reasons I can't yet divulge (don't you love it when I do that?) but also because I started on the child unit today. Whew. I forgot how exhausting the little ones can be, especially when they suddenly have to be discharged.

My day actually started much earlier than that. My adolescent therapy patient who comes at 7am (voluntarily. Of her own choosing), she came at 7am. We're doing some transition work now, so she only comes every other week. We had a good session today, about some pretty heavy stuff. And then, later, after the whirlwind discharge and while I was on my way to supervision (handy), she sent me a text telling me that what we had talked about this morning ended poorly.

Can I be totally honest with you? It broke my heart a little.

I know we're all trained to come off as being somewhat aloof and all "blank slate" and whatnot, but here's a dirty little secret of psychotherapy: we get emotionally invested. At least, the good ones do. And this is a kid I've been seeing for three years now, which is not an insignificant chunk of her life (or mine, for that matter). I've seen her grow in a lot of really profound ways. And even if my response was something close to the cliche "that must be so hard for you," I really hurt for her. To really get the emotional content, blank slate or not, you have to make an emotional connection. That's why this work is so exhausting. I see it in my colleagues' exuberance about college acceptance or dismay at an abrupt and clumsy termination. We may sometimes give the impression that you may only exist to us for a fifty minute hour, but in truth, as much as we hope our patients internalize us, we internalize them to some degree too.

It's kind of cool, when you get right down to it.

Oh - and, I went to the gym after work and supervision and therapy and the, um, whatnot, and I did my little proscribed treadmill workout at 1.8 miles per hour in the middle of the crowded, post-work-rush gym. Yeah, I was still self-conscious about it (especially because that 7% grade was kicking my ass today), but I did it.

Baby steps, you know?

Sunday, March 06, 2011

As per usual

I could use a little more weekend.

This one was pretty useful. Friday was another late night at work. I got home and just passed the hell out. I am so ready for a break from the Adolescent unit. I really like working on the unit, actually, but it's intense. I think Peng and I are both a little burned out from it.

Saturday morning I met my new trainer. We'll call him Buddy. I'm not really sure why, it just seems suitable. Anyhow, he's not quite as scenic as Gomer, but he appears to be a lot smarter. Which, given that I think a big part of the reason my knees have gotten so bad in the past two years is the work I did with Gomer, I'm all over having a smarter trainer. He's affable enough, originally a Midwesterner, kind of a talker, which I'm okay with. He seems fairly anxious, actually. But in a possibly medicated way, not in that "Oh, hey, you're a shrink? Let me tell you about my issues" kind of way. And let's be honest, I'm not going to throw stones in the glass house of anxiety. But it seems like a good fit, which is something I need right now. And he was willing to work with my very rigid ideas about how many sessions my tax return would buy and how we were going to use them, which I appreciate.

I will say...he's got me doing this low speed/high incline interval treadmill workout which I did for the first time in its entirety today. I was really self-conscious about how slow I was going. Is that weird? I mean, I'm used to being self-conscious at the gym, and let's be honest - I work with a trainer so I work out smarter and don't hurt myself. It really doesn't matter what the guy on the next treadmill thinks. I have goals, here, people. Plus, the whole 30 minute workout burned 360 calories, and my knees and feet feel fine, which they don't always post-workout. So, you know...if the anorexic woman maniacally running on the arc trainer feels the need to be judgmental about my treadmill speed, let her.

Today was rainy, but productive. I actually got quite a bit checked off my to-do list. Didn't get out on the bike this weekend, though. Next weekend for sure...

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Do. Not. Love.

Tonight is the third night in a row I've gotten home from work after 7:30pm. Today was very, very long. I had a lot happen on the unit this morning. I left for State Hospital a lot later than I wanted to. Today was my day to present the Thursday afternoon resident lecture. One of my afternoon therapy cases was a circus. And I slept like 5 hours last night.

I'm so tired....

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

What a day

Every now and then, you have one of those perfect storms of things that keep you in the office until 7:30pm. Today was one of them. I discharged my whole service and admitted my whole clinic.

That? Is a whole lot of paperwork. And in my discipline, storytelling.

Which may be why I'm so short of words for telling my own story today...

Monday, February 28, 2011

Ah, medical humor....

This guy cracks me up. Which I'm almost ashamed to admit, if you look at some of his other stuff....

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Under pressure

So I've my CPAP for three nights now. I was hoping I'd be all used to it, but I'm not there quite yet. It makes my nose a little sore, but at least I've now gotten beyond the idea that I'm going to suffocate. Now it wakes me up instead of the sleep apnea, but I do think I'm sleeping better when I am asleep.

Which has not stopped me from being totally exhausted all weekend. You know how, if you go a while without sleeping well, once you start getting caught up on that sleep debt you can't quite sleep enough? I think that's what's happening.

All in all it's been a decent weekend. Olga's doing better and they're starting to wean her off the lung bypass. Still haven't gotten to see her. I was relatively productive, though. Got a couple of notes done, went to Costco, got a couple of things done around the house. I finally got some boxes unpacked downstairs (about 20 down, another 3,547,256,128 to go) and even finally removed the dead mouse (ewww! Ewww!! Ewwww!) that I found in a box a couple of months ago (and promptly screamed and then put the box in the corner). The corner still smells a little, but I'm hoping that was the only source... I worked out, got some groceries, went to coffee today, did some laundry, did the dishes, made lunch for know. The usual weekend-y kind of stuff.

Did not manage to get on the bike this weekend, despite absolutely gorgeous weather. I think I'm being avoidant. And the bike needs gas.

I do love a weekend.....

Saturday, February 26, 2011

A public service announcement

As much as I applaud her compliance with helmet laws, this is NOT proper riding gear.

That is all.

(Stolen from Fail Blog)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Good things.

So Olga's doing a little better. Things are still tenuous, but the improvement makes me happy.

I also picked up my CPAP today, finally, finally. I'm going to try it out tonight; maybe I'll actually get some rest soon. I even got away with this itty bitty little nose mask thing they call nasal pillows. It's tiny! The machine also has a heated humidifier, which might even help my sinuses. Here's hoping...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Holding out hope

Olga is not doing well. I'm focusing my energy on thinking positively about what will go well for her. But in the meantime - and you know how rarely I say things like this - if you all could send up whatever prayers you have to whatever deities you believe may be listening, it would be greatly, greatly appreciated...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tonight's rest brought to you... Ambien.

I slept like crap last night again, worrying about Olga and the other things going on in my life. Today dragged its ass and mine as well. But I finally got my research proposal written and sent it to my program director and my advisor (well, one of them...the other one is Olga) for input. So hopefully they can get it back to me tomorrow and I can get the official version submitted. I may also be able to get something else in my life submitted in the morning which will take a huge load off.

But suddenly things have started looking really trippy and typing is somehow suddenly very hard.

So me and my Ambien, we're going down for the night. Please do not disturb.

Monday, February 21, 2011

I can't even imagine...

Olga's house made the news. Click on the picture to enlarge it. I can't believe it. I'm so incredibly grateful they got out alive.

Olga herself is in the ICU on a ventilator after sustaining airway burns from smoke inhalation. She's doing okay overall, I saw her today, but it was horrible seeing my friend that way. 

We're all pretty shaken up by this. Sparrow said she was nauseated and shaky all day yesterday. I slept four hours and dreamed of fires and houses of which I couldn't find my way out (and skeletons, oddly). Today I felt like someone had kicked me in the stomach for most of the day (it was a tough day for a lot of reasons). And the department announced that she's not taking visitors, but when I left today I promised her I'd visit tomorrow, and now I don't know what to do.

This is awful.

And I shouldn't have looked that article up right before I went to bed...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Prayers welcome

So my friend Olga's house burned down last night. Not sure what happened, not sure what they're going to do from here, but do know that she, her two year old, and her parents (who were staying with her) all got out okay. And so did her two dogs and her cat. But they lost absolutely everything in the fire. 

Needless to say, the news shook me up quite a bit. Frankly, that's one of my worst fears, personally. And she's been having a horrible year; this was rather the last thing she needed. What a mess.

It did drive home a point, though. She texted me, "amazing how it became about what was salvaged instead of what was lost."

It made an impression.

So as I went through my day today, I tried to make a point of being grateful for who and what I have in my life. And it turned out to be a nice day. Coffee with the Village, a little bit of work, a good lunch with friends, and a nice afternoon with Cleo and the baby on her last day of maternity leave. It was really good. And then I came home and did my taxes. I managed not to owe anything. And then laundry, dishes, dinner...the stuff of everyday life. Sweet and simple.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Biker Bitch diaries, chapter 1

Dear Car Drivers,

It's that time of year again (at least in NC). The weather is turning back to spring-like wonderful, and bikers fairweather and hardcore alike are polishing up their chrome and taking to the streets. This includes a whole bunch of newly forged riders. Classes are starting up again, and those of us who learned in the fall haven't gotten a whole lot of riding days this winter (especially those of us who are still too scared to ride to work).

Please, please be patient with us.

Remember when you were a pimply little fifteen-year-old, behind the wheel for the first time? Was it a rush? Sure. But if you're like most of us, putting that car into drive and taking your foot off the brake was pretty intimidating.

Imagine doing that in a convertible. With no doors. And no roll bar. And no passenger seat. Oh, and instead of that comfy bucket seat you were in, you had to straddle the seat. And you had to balance the car, yourself, and anyone or anything you carried with you, all while steering, clutching, shifting, accelerating, and braking. Now imagine you've been driving a car for like 17 years and suddenly have to learn to drive all over again in the aforementioned one-seated doorless two wheeled convertible.

And here's the other bit of information to consider - you remember the hours of driving on the range, while your instructor sat next to you with his own set of brakes? Remember going out on the road with that giant sign that said Student Driver on top? Do you recall all the hours behind the wheel one has to log before getting their drivers license, and, with the new graduated licenses, after? Yeah, one weekend class and a 30 question computerized test and suddenly I'm licensed to be out on a motorcycle, by myself or with passengers, on the same roads you're on. That doesn't mean I'm any good at it.

But I am trying.

So here's what I want you to know. 

Listen, just give me a little space, here. I know I ride like a granny, going 5 miles under the speed limit with my left blinker on. I know I jerk around a little when I shift and I know I just stalled the bike out like 37 times when the light turned green. But unless your passenger is bleeding or in labor, give me a break, okay? Think of me as the sixteen year old kid out there trying to learn to drive stick. I can talk a big game, but I've only ridden less that 200 miles in my entire life. Compare that to what's probably close to 250,000 that I've clocked in a car. I'm working on it, but I'm not there yet.

Don't honk. For the love of God, don't honk. It will only make me more anxious, and you know what? That damn thing is loud outside your car.

I'm new at this. I don't trust the bike. And I'm going to wait for every single car to go before I turn, because I'm terrified I'll wipe out on the turn. Not that I ever have, and not that it's especially likely, but just have a little patience.

Yep, if that car pulls out a quarter mile ahead of me, I'm going to slow down. You should too.

Likewise, because I'm taught to scan the road, because I don't have my radio on, and because I'm out and exposed I might see a hazard before you. If you see my brake lights, slow down. 

I stop faster than you do. Please leave an appropriate space cushion.

I don't trip stoplights because I'm so small. My bike weighs less than 600 lbs, your car is close to a ton.  I do, however, have the legal right to treat a red light as a stop sign if I've been sitting there for more than three minutes (at least in NC). Because I'm still unsure of myself, though, I probably won't. So when you finally pull up behind me, know that I'm so incredibly grateful (even if we then miss the light because I keep stalling out the bike).

I am just as scared as you are that I'm going to go down in front of you, and even more scared that you're going to run me over. It's unlikely, but that doesn't mean either of us isn't thinking about it. The answer to this, however, is NOT to ride my ass.

Stop texting while you're driving. I know, I know, I do it too sometimes, but it's really not safe.

Please, give us room. Be patient, and polite, and we will too. This beginner phase won't last more than a few thousand miles. And always, always, always look twice. "I didn't see him" is no reason to hit one of us. Look, listen, and look again. Everyone wants to get home alive and safe. I have people depending on me, too.



PS - alright, fellow bikers, what did I miss?

Thursday, February 17, 2011


My head hurts.

I've apparently caught some GI bug that's going around.

Went to work today, though. Was queasy all day. 

I do not love this Thursday...

Monday, February 14, 2011

Stuck in my head

So this song came on my iPod this weekend at the gym, and it's been stuck in my head ever since.

And now it's stuck in yours.

Happy Single People Awareness Day, also, as well.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Just a little bit more, please...

Mags and I have had a busy weekend. Well, me more than her. I could still use a little more weekend, though. I have this dream of some day working four-day weeks...

Yesterday was crazy productive. Went to coffee, picked up my grocery order (my local grocery chain has this setup where you can order ahead online and then pick it up without leaving your car. It's pretty sweet). Went to the Jeep dealership (finally) and got the weird noise checked out (it's only been there for about the last ten thousand miles. I finally got over there because I have 400 miles left on my warranty). Stayed there for longer than I had hoped, where I was held hostage and subjected to multiple episodes of That's So Raven and Hannah Montana on a very large, very loud TV. Now, mind you, no one in the place but me was under 45. Once I successfully avoided gouging my eyes out, I rewarded myself by going and picking up a new pair of riding boots, because apparently I broke my other ones when I fell. I also got a wicked cool $10 tank top at the Harley dealership. I went to the gym, I got stinky, I came home and took a nice long nap and hid under the covers for a while after I woke up, snuggling with my warm puppy. It was lovely.

Today was pretty useful as well. Coffee, breakfast with the crew, Target, the gym...a shower, some laundry, the dishes...not pretty, but it has to be done. Much nicer was finally getting back out on the bike this afternoon. Which, I admit it, there's a problem with that.

I'm scared of the bike.

I don't know why, especially. I'm fine. Yes, I fell off. Yes, falling off a motorcycle at 20 miles an hour or so hurts. But I'm fine. The bike is fine. Everything's f-i-n-e. So what the heck is the problem?? I'm still not sure. But it scares me. I don't feel like I control the bike well (of course I don't. I've ridden less than 150 miles in my whole entire life. No one expects me to be great at this yet). I feel exposed all of a sudden. I feel inadequate and inept. I'm - I'll say it - scared I'm going to die on the dumb thing. All fears I had before, but now I get so anxious at the thought of riding it makes me queasy.

But I got on the bike. And I will continue to get on the bike, riding safely and conservatively, until it doesn't scare me anymore and I'm back to a healthy level of respect for the risk I assume on the bike.

And I'm going to take the class again in April. I think that'll help a lot.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Thoughts for a Friday night...

A friend posted this on Facebook. I've seen it before, and it always makes me cry a little. And hug my puppy.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Thursday's almost Friday

I'm so looking forward to the weekend. This week hasn't been bad, just, exhausting.

The sleep study went well, I'm told. The CPAP was weird. At first it felt a little like I was being smothered or waterboarded. But you relax and realize, that isn't water, it's air, and you actually can breathe. I didn't sleep a whole lot last night, but I think what sleep I got was better than usual.

I left my pillow there, though. Damn it. 

I don't know when I get a unit of my very own, but I don't think it's going to be as bad as I thought it would be. Definitely going to take some getting used to, but, I'm looking forward to sleeping.

Meanwhile, I'm going to bed...

Tuesday, February 08, 2011


So did I mention this whole sleep issue? I'm a terrible sleeper. I have a tough time getting to sleep, a worse time staying asleep, and then I wake up early, eventually fall back asleep and then can't get out of bed. It's obnoxious. Plus, when I am asleep, I have these intolerably epic dreams, and I thrash about so much the dog won't sleep with me anymore.

So I had that sleep study last week. They decided I had two things going on: one, I have obstructive sleep apnea, and two, I've got PLMS, or Periodic Limb Movements of Sleep. So I stop breathing and I thrash a lot. So tomorrow night they're doing a CPAP titration. Basically, it's a face mask and a machine that blows air in your face so your airways stay open. Not glamorous. But effective. And I get to wear it every single night for the rest of my damn life, more or less.

I'm a little worried about the whole thing, but I think it'll be fine...and I'm definitely looking forward to sleeping better.

Monday, February 07, 2011


I'm not dead. Honest. I'm just exhausted. And I actually wrote a whole post for yesterday...which didn't post.

Ah well.

So for the second weekend in a row, I was not out riding on an absolutely gorgeous day because I was under the (great) weather. I appear to have caught the plague my med students are spreading around the Adolescent inpatient unit. If I had any control of their grades, I'd fail them both (no, not really). But on the whole, it was a good weekend.

Today was looooong. 7am therapy case, work, supervision, therapy, gym.

Oh, and funny videos on YouTube with the plague-spreading med students. Here, watch this:

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Delaying gratification

So I spent six and a half hours in the Selection Committee meeting today, where we helped decide the fate of the 100+ people that interviewed for 13 spots at our program. The other part of their fate, of course, is decided by them and the other programs that rank them. But it was such an interesting experience to sit in on the other side of that selection process at Big Blue. Alls I can say about the meeting itself are these two things: A, I'm really glad I'm not applying this year, because wow, do we have a strong applicant pool; and 2, I'm really glad they had cookies. But beyond that, it really made me think about what I looked like as an applicant. I'm a good doctor, and I was a good med student, but I was not the strongest candidate because of what happened at The Emerald Palace. I wondered about the discussion that happened when they ranked me. I wondered who objected, who went to bat for me, or if  that actually needed to happen. I thought about the years that have passed since then. I thought about what a different person I am...and the ways in which, for better or worse, I'm still the same.

I'm really glad they took a chance on me.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Happy Monday

I just think this is hilarious, it really wasn't a bad day. Busy, but productive. Can't ask for much more than that out of a Monday...

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Back in action

So Thursday night I had a sleep study. It was a trip. I tossed and turned and then finally took an ambien when my tech came in to fix the leg leads I'd kicked off during the tossing and turning. So I did okay, sleep wise (like, "they got enough data," not, "I slept great!"), but it was definitely a peculiar experience. I had 29 wires on me. Every twitch of my toe was recorded by video, audio, and those wires. About 2am The Voice From Above told me I had to get off my stomach, so I rolled on my side. Apparently my "sleep is very different" on my side, but that's the only result they'd give me. Full report should come back in the next two weeks.

Friday I was a little delirious, as you can guess. I left work around two and came home and slept for a couple of hours. You know, as crappy a sleeper as I am at night, I take a darn good nap. Mmmm, nap....

The weekend has been very low-key. I haven't been feeling great and today my stomach's been acting up. As has my internet, which I finally got working again today. But beyond that, I haven't gotten a whole lot accomplished. Which, you know, is okay. It was nice to hang out with my dog and just relax.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Tried and true

I had dinner at Shady Pines tonight, after taking my mom to the oncologist (she's good. He's happy. We see the surgeon in six weeks. Still planning to go before the tumor board). We had dinner with their usual dinner mates, Edna and Alan, as well as this couple that joins them fairly regularly, Ollie and Olivia. The latter, it turns out, have been married for a month less than my mother has been alive. I mean, my mom's not old, but in marriage years, that's a lot! Ollie has dementia. Olivia has really bad breast cancer. And yet they're still as sweet on each other as you can imagine. They're hilarious, actually - they "bicker" back and forth like nobody's business. I imagine they've been doing that since they were teenagers. And they're just a riot; they could seriously take that act on the road. Too funny.

Olivia and I were talking tonight about the cancer, and I was saying that she was holding up really well through the extensive chemo for the two different kinds of breast cancer that she has. And she was like, "Honey, what else could I do? Throwing a fit wasn't going to heal it. You just keep going."

I like that. And I'm really glad she and my mom are friends. I think she's going to be a great role model for my mom if her treatment comes to chemo and radiation.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Weekend deficiency

It's been a nice weekend.

I got a lot done this weekend. Had a good time at coffee yesterday and today. Had a nice baby shower for one of  my coworkers yesterday - it was a surprise. And it really was a surprise - she thought she was coming over to our friend's to pick up a crib and some other baby stuff. So she wasn't especially punctual. In fact, she was two hours late. But we amused ourselves greatly during the waiting. Managed to work out both days this weekend. Ran some errands, did some laundry.

So, really, nothing very out of the ordinary. Which is part of what made the weekend so nice.

I could totally use a couple more days of this.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


So yesterday, one of my parents left the door open to their apartment. My mom went to dinner, and my dad was still home. My dog, however, wandered out, down the hall, off to have herself an adventure. Nobody knew she was missing until my parents' neighbor found her on the ramp leading to the dining room.

There are two things about this story which amaze me.

One, my dog had the good sense to not go into the dining hall. Because dogs in there are explicitly and strictly forbidden. My parents would've gotten in a lot of trouble if she had gone in. I have no idea how she knew that was a bad idea. Because, from her perspective, it seems like a GREAT idea - there's food, my mom was there, all of Maggie's friends were there...

The second...I still can't figure parents live on the third floor. The dining room is on the first. Somehow, some way, my dog made it downstairs.

On the elevator.

That's pretty much the only way she could've gone down!  There's a stairwell, too, but no one ever uses it and thumbs are definitely required to open the door. I can imagine someone came up on the elevator and she went in, and then someone downstairs pushed the button for the elevator and out she went. But...but.....I mean...I know some of these people are really old, but....wouldn't you notice that there's a DOG coming out of the elevator?!! And everyone in their building knows her...

Or hell, maybe she just pressed the buttons herself.

After all, my dog *is* pretty amazing...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The things time doesn't heal

It's been a year today since my friend's mom died. The family has been in my thoughts all day. As has Patti, as you can imagine. I thought about her a lot this past weekend, as her son and daughter-in-law now live in the house she used to have. I miss her.

It's incredible to me that it's been a year. It's still a shame, you know? And it got me thinking about how these losses never get easy. It gets better over time, I really think it does, but it never goes away. There's always a gap there, a line that has ended, and no matter how hard you try, there's no filling that void. No amount of office work, of alcohol, food, drugs, sex, video games, any of the distractions we use can make us whole again, regardless of the mass quantities we might apply. Eventually, it gets integrated, it becomes part of who you are. There's a resignation and a familiarity about it. With work, with therapy, with time, it becomes less of a burden and more of a companion. You move on, but you carry it with you.

I think that's the best outcome we can hope for.

Grief is the risk you take by loving someone. It's not a new idea. And the fact is, you can't know one without the other. If you never grieve the people who leave you, it's because you don't invest yourself in them. And if you don't invest yourself, you never know the incredible power and goodness that comes from love and intimacy. In some ways, the grief replaces the person you lose, it stands next to you instead. But what it brings is not purely the pain of the loss; it anchors you to the memories. It remembers when you're afraid you won't. It brings to you a moment of wit, or insight, or comfort that the person might have offered. It hurts, but in the pain it reminds you how strong your love was.

I was driving home from picking up Maggie tonight, and my mom texted me that she loved me - a usual bedtime ritual. And for a small moment it made me sad, thinking that someday I'm going to miss that so much. And I started thinking about my grandmother - a kind, giving woman who helped raise me, and who died after a short illness when I was in junior high. And I started wondering what she would've done with a phone that could text. Would she have used it? Would she have had fun with it? I delved briefly into the fantasy that, wouldn't it be great if she could text me from wherever she is now? Oh, how I would love the chance to talk to her again. And I realized suddenly that I was crying pretty hard. It's been, what, twenty years? (Holy shit, is that right??! I'm pretty sure she died in August of 1991...holy cow....) And I started thinking about the memories I held so dear. I started thinking about her sister, who died not long ago, whom I also adored. And I cried harder. I loved them both so much.

It never lets you go.

And I think that's a good thing. I don't ever want to let go of people that mean so much to me.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Totally worth today's exhaustion

So I spent the weekend in Chicago.

Oh, did I not mention I was going to Chicago?

Yeah, that was rather on purpose. I was supposed to go over New Year's, right, and then that fell through. And I haven't seen my Chicago crew in...yikes, almost ten months. And of course, Robin's little guy is two and a half, Bei's two are four and a half and just over a year. They're all growing so fast. And then my friend of nearly three decades, Ali, is having a baby next month. So when New Year's fell apart, I thought Ali's baby shower seemed like the perfect excuse to fly in. I decided to surprise her, so we kept it quiet. I didn't even clue her husband or Bei in until this past week. And the weekend was a raving success.

We actually arranged it so that I surprised her Saturday night, instead of at the actual shower on Sunday. She was definitely surprised, it was so good to see everyone. We had an awesome weekend. Claudia picked me up from the airport Saturday morning, we had coffee and chatted, and then had lunch at my favorite Greek restaurant. From there we headed to Robin's, where we all met up and watched (well, some of us "watched") football and ordered pizza. I made this drink that one of my Villagers taught me, which was a hit. We talked, and laughed, and ate real pizza (Chicago-style, baby!). We played with the kids. We were a little kiddish ourselves. It was great.

Sunday I saw my cousins from the North Side for breakfast, and then we had the shower, hosted by Claud and Jer's sisters. It was fun. The games were non-obnoxious, the cake was excellent, and the company was great. We met some neat new people.  And then the girls went back to Robin's for Wii Pictionary and Mexican food, which Jer was kind enough to deliver to us. And, you know, just being us girls. Monday Robin and little Luke and I went over to Bei's, and then hung out until it was time to take me to the airport.

Where I was for a very long time. My flight kept getting delayed. I was supposed to be on the ground and back to my house by about 8pm, originally; instead, I got home at almost 1am. I spent a lot of time wandering around O'Hare. Ate some more pizza. Bought a Cosmo. Discovered I've possibly outgrown Cosmo. Drank some iced tea. Nearly finished the hat I've been knitting (I needed DPNs, which I didn't have). Finally got on the plane, and we sat on the tarmac for almost an hour. It was a teeny-tiny plane, and I didn't fit especially well into the seat. So I was uncomfortable, and feeling giganamous, and the woman in the seat next to me was clearly irritated to be sitting next to such a fatty. However, she spent the whole flight flopping onto my side of the armrest and snoring like a chainsaw. I actually apologized to that bitch at the beginning of the flight for being so fat! Ridiculous. Whatever. We eventually got back to NC, and Bill came out in the middle of the damn night and picked me up, which was awesome of him.

But on the whole, the weekend was just so awesome. I miss my Chicago people. It was so nice to see everybody, and so nice to be back with the group I grew up with that knows me so well. And how amazing it is for me to have such a group of people who know me so well, who I came up with through the early part of my life, who are still so close to me. How great that I still count them among the most important supports that I have, even when I'm 850 miles away. And how blessed am I to have both groups here and in Chicago that are so comfortable and awesome.