Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas 2011

Mechen was here! And we figured out a way to watch Downton Abbey, Season 2. So, in short, we had a GREAT Christmas!

Ok, it was more than just TV watching. It was great to see Mechen after a month apart. He's the most missable! He came in Thursday evening. Friday, I was on call and was fairly busy during the day but was off from 12-5 so we went out to lunch and then to the Menil Collection. We had Turkish food for lunch at Pasha, which was delicious. Then I was very happy to re-visit the Menil Collection. I like taking advantage of cultural opportunities when I can. I was called in later that evening, but done by 11 and then that was it! No overnight calls, hooray! I happily turned over the pager the next day and apart from rounding, I was free!

Mechen and I watched a ton of Downton Abbey and engaged in delicious day drinking of Christmas cocktails. On Christmas morning, we went to Church and opened presents. I got an awesome gym bag which will be much better than my huge sack I've been lugging around. We had a delicious dinner cooked by chef Whole Foods in order to avoid lots of leftovers and lazed around. Today, we watched the Christmas special and walked around Discovery Green before he left. Although I was sad to see him go, I am SO EXCITED that I will be home in 5 days!

A bunch of us are going out to Starlite for New Year's Eve. I will also get to wear my super-cute Anthro dress, hooray! I didn't wear it this weekend since the timing didn't work out to go to fancy restaurants due to special holiday hours.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Fun weekend!

I had such a fun weekend. I feel I should write it down so that when I feel like the weekend was a million years ago and I realize that it's only Monday afternoon, I'll be able to look back and get some perspective.

Friday night, I vegged out. Boring but needed.

Saturday, I killed my to-do list. I went for my long run (7.2 miles w/o music- I needed the thinking time). I also got a pedi/brows, finished ALMOST all of my notes, took an awesome nap and watched the Christmas episode of Modern Family.

Today, I went for a fast 3.8 mile run (29:17), did yoga, watched a bit of football, went to the Menil Collection (loved) and finally, say Young Adult and had Tom Yum soup for dinner. So, overall, a great weekend. Next weekend will be even better since MECHEN will be here!!!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Long December

I've been thinking about making a music list from the mid-to-late 90s for the OR. It's really the time period I know best for rock music, apart from the stuff I listen to today that does not always tickle people's music loving ear. I don't know WHY- I'm talking about The National, Arcade Fire, Cold War Kids, Robyn. I think it's because part of what makes OR music tolerable for most people is some familiarity with the bands which, frankly, my uncool staff have never heard of (<-- this is tongue-in-cheek). BUT, we all like the "modern rock" of the 90s so in an effort to find ways to frivolously spend my money, maybe I'll putter around iTunes for a bit.

Last weekend, I felt a little more Christmas-y because I went to the Nutcracker with Jen. It was a great production. What I liked most was in the first act parlor scene, there were so many visual jokes and side encounters occurring. It was so clever! I loved it! We also went out to dinner afterwards which was a little bit of a bust- Jen did not like her meal and there weren't any great alternatives to her liking. I think part of the problem was she was so excited for an amazing (sounding) salmon salad on the menu, but instead of grilled salmon, it came out raw. Isn't that weird? I mean, I get it, but there was no indication on the menu that it was raw and I would assume that salmon on salads is usually grilled. Anyway, I enjoyed my plate of vegetables. I was trying to eat very "cleanly" with a vegan diet. I always feel good with unprocessed foods and more veggies, but it will always be a little bit of a phase sort of thing for me. I love all types of food too much, although my day-to-day eating is often more vegan/vegetarian based on my preferences.

This week was another week at MDA down. Lots of clinic notes left over, although not as many as the mountain from last week. I had a two good days in the OR although yesterday I was with an attending who trained at PITT, where it's well known that their OR mode is "moudus assholendai." So, my head was bitten off for a solid 1.5 hours and then at the end, I was told "great job." Sheesh. I know I do better with complaints than compliments in the OR but yesterday was bordering on the little much side of things.

This weekend, my TTD is a little mundane. I want to get everything set for my soon-arriving departure date and my even sooner-to-arrive boyfriend visiting for Christmas! Awesome! For fun, I'm planning on seeing Young Adult with Jen and Shirley. Otherwise, I'm laying low and keeping my nose clean!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Christmas Spirit!


Hey-o! I'm feeling a little more Christmas-y with my new little tree! I ordered a ready-made (Charlie Brown) tree from 1-800-FLOWERS for both Mechen and me. I love it! It's so cute. It's a teeny live tree in a pot with a potholder (ha, ha, they actually call it a "tree skirt") that has a countdown calendar with little felt ornaments for each day. My favorite part about it is the Christmas feel I get when I'm in a dark room right before bed and the Christmas lights are on. The lighting always makes me think of Christmas. And, bonus points for being a thoughtful girlfriend and getting Mechen a tree! This is a nicer way of looking at it than to point out that I once again lived out my Christmas shopping mantra, "One for you, one for me!"

Speaking of Christmas shopping, I'm going to the Mall today for family and friends gifts. I haven't done that in years but I'm looking forward to it. I have high expectations! I definitely want to cover Mom, Dad, Ed and Brady so that I can mail there stuff off overseas (I already may be too late to get it there in time). I also need to shop for Joe, Mechen and a few friends back in San Diego.

Speaking of San Diego, I am in TOTAL countdown mode at this point. I cannot wait to go back. I miss Mechen and my friends. I also want to feel part of my residency program again. I feel I've been gone for so long due to Kaiser, research and MDA. Don't get me wrong, I'm not checking out three weeks early but I'm really looking forward to moving on, closer towards the end of residency!

This week wasn't too bad. Three days in the OR plus a bonus assist on a neck dissection yesterday. It was pretty crazy- I was holding hooks for a former medical student when I was an intern. It was his case and I was happy to help (read: heckle), plus we were on our own for about two hours. Nice!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Reverb- Jan 2011

Oooo, did you hear the latest thing to hit the internet? It's called reverb and it's aim is to help reflect on the past year. Except....eeerrrccckkkk(*screeching brakes*)...um, that was done last year and this year, it doesn't look like it even exists.

So, I'll make up my own! It'll help with regular blogging and I'll get to look over the year. Since I have no readers (holla!), it'll help reinforce my online journal status.

So, January started out- hungover. Not too badly, but definitely a little worse for wear after a fun New Year's Eve. We moved into our Cardiff apartment and were so happy to finally be living together! We had some great Craigslist finds and gradually made the place our new home. Oh, whatever, it was instantly our home because we were both there. I know this sounds incredibly cheesy but I could have been in the apartment with my Japanese futon and an upside down box and as long as he was there, I would have been so content!

But, because Mechen is a champion, we moved my stuff from Banker's Hill and found some more furniture around the neighborhood. Probably the best find was a comfy but chic armchair that Mechen really fixed up beautifully with a little TLC- covering the black paint chips and de-piling the upholstery.

I was working at Kaiser so I'm pretty sure we just stuck around North County this month. But it was bliss!

A weird question that people frequently asked was, "How IS it living together?" implying that there had to be some tough times or rough patches. Honestly and truly, there were none. Although maybe I give off a "She MUST be hard to live with" vibe? Don't answer that!

Thanks-GIV-ing!

(The title is a poor written form of how I hear Adam Sandler sing "Thanksgiving" at the end of his turkey song. I have a thing for male singers who sound as if their voices are about to crack- I always whisper a silent prayer, "Oh, please don't let them crack." Ok, I don't REALLY pray. But I do stress.)

Anyway! Thanksgiving was great! Mechen came down on Wednesday night and even though his flight was super-delayed, at least I knew which airport to go to this time. I picked him up, made him wait outside on the deck while I lit 38(!) candles on his homemade cake and then I let him in while singing "Happy Birthday!" It was his birthday the day prior and I didn't really have it together to send him a card so since he was visiting a day later, we had his birthday party then. I made him a homemade German chocolate cake (delish!) and bought him a bottle of D&G The One cologne. Mmmmm, it smells incredible. And, yes, I know it's in part a gift to myself but he loves it too!

The next day, we slept until 2. Sagoy! I was SO TIRED from work and we hadn't gotten back from the airport until 1 so I can definitely believe it but I haven't slept in like that since college. I hopped out of bed, put the turkey in the oven (prepped the day before) and then, once human after coffee, we started making our Thanksgiving sides. From smitten kitchen.com, we made a delicious cranberry sauce. Thebittenword.com provided our stuffing recipe (amazing!), green bean casserole (burned the milk and spoiled the dish although Mechen gallantly ate some) and gravy. The mashed potatoes we winged and then the sweet potatoes were loosely based on a foodandwine.com recipe + what I could remember from my Mom's recipe. It was a feast! The stuffing I really loved because there were little bits of greens from kale and surprise moist bites from stewed plums (read: prunes) that gave great texture and way less gross to think about than canned oysters. We ate, ate and ate. We also watched the Cowboys game, which was very exciting.

The next day, we slept in again but actually made it out and went to Benjy's for Happy Hour and a light round of appetizers. We took it easy b/c I was on call Saturday (boo), but overall, it wasn't TOO bad of a call day although busier than I wanted. Finally, we went back to Benjy's for brunch on Sunday where I had the most amazing shrimp and grits dish ever, even better than Urban Solace in SD.

We also finished the entire first season of Downton Abbey over the weekend. It was amazing and completely absorbing. I HIGHLY recommend it, even if an early 1900s English period piece doesn't seem to be your gut instinct for great viewing. And Maggie Smith's character and line delivery was tart and clever.

This past week was back to reality in a big way since I got the gift of lots and lots of clinic. I didn't write any notes b/c my presentation was on Tuesday so I was preparing for that. I spoke a little too quickly and probably could have fleshed it out a little more on the sentinel lymph node biopsy (I was told not to though since it's been covered in the past). But it was well-received and, most importantly, it's OVER!!!

This weekend, I have Friday/Sunday call. Today was spent recovering from the constant paging that marked my night and I'm about to do laundry. I did go for a run, although slower than my normal pace. My legs felt a bit heavy. Tomorrow, I'll go for a run before my shift start and then head into work for some mega-note writing. *Sigh* Hopefully next week will be a lot less clinic. Next weekend, I'm going to check out the Menil Collection, King Tut exhibit and go to the Nutcracker with Jen!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Songs I'm loving!

Princess of China by Coldplay (w/Rhianna): I'm not really a Rhianna fan since I don't think she's a particularly good singer so I begrudge her success (not on a personal level, more in a why does someone succeed on image and autotune alone?). BUT, this song has an awesome driving force that I love.

Paradise by Coldplay: Infectious. I can almost promise you will be singing along with Chris Martin at the end.

Crossfire Brandon Flowers: A rediscovered song in my iTunes that I LOVE.

Someone Like You Adele: Also from SNL, this was in a pretty funny skit and then I listened to the song and, unlike, say, Rhianna, Adele can really sing

Rumour Has It/Someone Like You Glee Mashup: This brings Someone Like You to the upbeat.

And, most embarrassingly...
Moves Like Jagger Maroon 5: I saw Adam Levine on SNL sing this and even though I didn't like it before, the energy was palpable and when I listened to it again, I found a new workout song!

Houston weekend

I've had a life this weekend! Hooray! It's a beautiful golden weekend, aka no rounding, and I've had the best time. On Friday, I went salsa dancing with two other residents and one of their friends and it was a lot of fun. I'm not very good at dancing but once I got out on the floor (after a shot of tequila), I got my rhythm back and had a great time. Our group was two guys, two girls so it was nice with friends. I stayed out late, went home and totally crashed.

Yesterday, Jenn and I went to Tiny Boxwood's for lunch/brunch and then hung out later that evening and went to Pondicheri, a delicious modern/American take on Indian food. The poppadoms were so tasty with a little heat and while the spice level on the other food was a little on the low side, it was all pretty tasty. Then we saw J. Edgar which was a thought-provoking movie, more in terms of trying to decide how much I liked it. The acting was amazing and the love story element was so subtly told but it was sometimes difficult for me to figure out how much I cared about the story. Anyway, I'm definitely glad I went. I will rarely go out to movies on my own but when I do, I'm almost always happened I decided to go.

Today, I'm finishing my presentation. I have a great plan and story arch for my talk so I'm going to get it done and send it off to Dr. Myers. Hopefully, there won't be too many edits needed although it won't matter since I have a lot of time (read: 8 days) to work on it if there are issues. I think it's fundamentally solid though- hopefully, this isn't some sort of delusion!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Texas breakfast!

Yum, look what I had for breakfast this morning! A flipped around Texas waffle! Today was a day off so I got to enjoy the breakfast buffet that's held daily here at the hotel. During the weekdays, my day is well underway by the time the buffet starts (0630). But on the weekends, I tend to enjoy although I don't want to overgraze. Anyway, they switched out their boring waffle makers for TX shaped and even though I obviously don't know how to plate it properly, I had a TX-sized breakfast. I stirred in a little brown rice protein to make a little more balanced and brought it to my room so I could use my real maple syrup. It was awesome.

I was up pretty early b/c my co-resident texted me at 0700 asking the name of a patient that I should have added to our master list. Thanks for that. Although it could have been avoided if I had done the edit but still. As a result though, I had breakfast, coffee, my laundry complete and a 7-mile run ran all before 12. This afternoon, I HAVE to work on my presentation followed by a sampling of a highly recommended Tex-Mex place with Jen, a fellow resident (and not the earlier morning texter!).

My week was pretty awesome this week. One day in clinic and four in the OR which included 3 neck dissection, 2 partial glossectomies and one laryngectomy. It was a pretty banner week. I also took the time to write some things down so that I'll hopefully be able to incorporate all the lessons I learn intraoperatively into my practice rather than forgetting the details and starting at the same place each time, skills-wise. Does that even make sense? It's just sometimes, there is so much I want to hold onto in my brain, which is sometimes frustratingly sieve-like.

Alright, off to shower, call my parents and work on my presentation while dreaming of the enchiladas and margaritas that I'll have tonight!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Houston Restaurants

Although my life in Houston has not been the most social butterfly-like, I have made it out to a few restaurants. This is in spite of the fact that even patients have noticed how much the fellows and residents work. I've been asked several times (not unkindly) if I have a life and/or how is it that I'm working so much?

So, in order of my personal preference-




1. Tiny Boxwood's Cafe (3614 W. Alabama St)

Mechen and I went here for brunch/lunch and it was so good. We went around 3 o'clock so it was busy but not standing-room-only. Mechen had the turkey avocado club sandwich, which was delicious. I had the salmon served on greens that was also tasty but a little out of proportion. It was at most 3 oz serving of salmon on a whole bag worth of mixed greens. The dressing was also a little heavily applied but I quibble! We also had a chocolate chip cookie that was a touch too underdone but so good. The sangria was delicious and helped turn our afternoon of lunch and a museum into...lunch. A lunch of leisure. We moved from our table and had a second glass while resting on the couch and it was an awesome way to spend a beautiful afternoon. And we still made it to the Byzantine chapel and Rothko chapel!

So, even though most of the dishes had a detail or two that I personally would change, the food was high-quality and in an amazing, relaxing setting.


2. Benjy's (2424 Dunstan Rd)
I went here for dinner last night with a friend from work and the most awesome thing is their 7 day a week Happy Hour. We had appetizers and drinks that were delicious. I had a blood orange margarita, glass of Pinot and a "Pom Collins," a riff on a Tom Collins with vodka instead of gin and sweet/savory pomegranate molasses. The appetizers were half-price and Jen got a pizza, while I got the butternut squash crepes and calamari. I didn't eat all of it b/c the portions were huge and it didn't appeal to Jen but it was very tasty. I will definitely be back at night and also to hit up their delicious-sounding brunch. Whoa...I just Googled the brunch menu and it is more amazing than I thought. Yum!


3. Pappas Steakhouse (5839 Westheimer Rd)

Mechen and I went while he was here. I figured we should go to a steakhouse while in Texas and this was the one I selected after querying many people. The steaks were amazing and perfectly cooked. I was a little puzzled when the waiter assured me he could do a "medium/medium-rare" but I loved it. Hot, seared but still pink on the inside. Our sides were delicious and we felt good about supporting the butter industry single-handedly. The deconstructed pecan pie was terrific, too. Finally, special shout-out to the sommelier who linked us up with a 2004 Spanish wine, "Mas de Can Blau" from Celler Can Blau. I will definitely seek out that wine to buy in the future.


4. Goode's BBQ (5109 Kirby Dr)

The meat is cooked well but I'm not a fan of the dry rub/ketchup-based BBQ sauce. Unless Mechen is really seeking out more BBQ, I think I'll take a pass. Not bad, just not my thing.

Blog Overhaul

Ok! I'm so excited! I've updated my posts, ran the spellcheck and changed the email name to my blog. I had made up a random name I could never really embrace so now I'm just going to use my middle name. (The random name was Pfieffer from Julia Pfieffer Burns State Park where Mechen and I travelled last year but Pfieffer felt too...weird. I mean, really, Pfieffer? But you will see blog posts signed with that name so I felt you needed an explanation.) I already use Mechen's middle name on the blog. I know there's little e-privacy in the world but I don't want patients to find this blog just by Googling my real name. The blog is not something I feel the need to hide, but I also like having a division between my work and non-work life. The only thing left at this point is to add some pictures to a few of my travel-related 2008 posts.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

November Resolutions!

I love the beginning of years! Why the plural form of years? Because I have been lucky enough to have several new starts within each year- the real New Year, the academic year and, much less importantly, the tax year and fiscal year. Overall goals are for Jan 1, focused academic goals are for 1 Aug, making sure I've contributed the max to my IRA-R by 4/15 and noticing my pay raise on 1 Oct.

Anyway, part of why I love the beginning is that I can make resolutions. I love resolutions even more than New Year's parties (and I LOVE NY parties) which is strange because I typically look at other's lists and think there's something off about it. Like the one blogger I read who had >100 resolutions broken down by different aspects of her life. Or the people who get really worked up about not having been successful at achieving their resolutions. I think that I'm really happy with my life so far and the choices I've made and while there are certainly some I may lean towards wishing I hadn't picked, I truly have no regret regrets. You know (or maybe you don't), the type that people perseverate on and can't shake even years later- or so I've read in women's magazines.

I think I really like resolutions because it refreshes my prioritization and allows for some self-reflection. If I end up with the same resolutions every year, that's ok! It's about making progress and targeted efforts rather than checking off boxes and marking things as "done!" While I love crossing things off my TTD lists, larger goals in life are usually a work in progress. And that's ok.

But I thought I'd lay out monthly goals to make my focus a little sharper. It seems pertinent now because I do not have a lot of free time and feel a little off in my work-life balance so I want to prioritize how to spend my time during my months at MDA, which are particularly grueling.

November Goals:
1. Workout 3-4 x week. This week was a wash b/c I didn't go running last weekend while Mechen was here and the workweek was completely ridiculous thanks to a hugely busy inpatient service. I would like to get back on track by working out 1-2x/weekend and twice during the week. I've thought about trying to get to the gym by 5 each morning but if it's that bad, I think I'll forego my exercise since I'm already super sleep deprived during the week anyway. I like working out in the morning in San Diego, but there we don't round until 0630 so it doesn't feel rushed and more importantly, I'm out by 1800, latest. Here, it's routinely 1930, 2000. Seriously, my workdays are 12-15 hours. Ack! Enough whining and back to goals!
2. Sleep. This is a little out of my control. But at least I'll catch up on weekend. But this is not so much a goal as a biological imperative
3. Thanksgiving! I love, love, love Thanksgiving dinner and leftovers. Mechen is coming (yeah!) and we're going to cook together. I want to pick out great recipes and have an amazing dinner with lots of post-Thanksgiving sandwiches on sourdough bread for the few days after.
4. Academics. Ok, the listing of this indicates that I don't always address things in proper order/maybe a slightly avoidance behavior but I do hit things head on eventually. ANYWAY, this is a busy month. Grand Rounds 11/29, possible abstract submission for a Spring/Summer conference, resubmit a project that expired to the IRB and develop a good study plan. I really want to spend this week working on my external projects and develop a plan for my "internal project," my own knowledge base for the inservice and overall ENT smartness.
5. Food planning: I've been doing better at buying food for 1 and not wasting food. So, keep up the good work!
6. Getting ready for Christmas. Ok, will this finally be the year I really mail out Christmas cards? It might fall through again (4 years and counting!) but I'm going to do better this year (4 years and counting!). Hey, come on self! For real this time!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Non sequiter!


Ok, so I realized that the last post seemed to be a little bit of a non sequester. Aka, where the hell is she? Well, I'm in Houston spending 3 months at MD Anderson in order to get more experience in Head and Neck oncologic surgery. It's a little rough- I really miss Mechen and kind of wish I didn't have to be here BUT I have to be here and it's a great opportunity. I'm at one of the best cancer centers in the world an
d that is really an amazing experience to have. Already, the cases and even the clinic patients have been really interesting and instructive. Not to objectify people's experience of having cancer but I feel that there is a lot to learn even from the unfortunate circumstances and, in addition, I know enough at this point to contribute intelligently to the treatment team even if I am also learning at the same time.

Houston is pretty nice. I've been taking yoga at Yoga Ananda, a Baptiste-inspired Vinyasa flow yoga studio. I really like it and I plan to continue both here in Houston and in San Diego. I have finally settled into a good workout routine and I'm working out 3-4 times a week. I'd like to keep up my running fitness, even if it's not quite as intense as Barry's. In addition, I've lost a little bit of weight which is great but also shows that diet is definitely the most important factor in weight management. I really hope to lost some more weight but in a healthy, controlled way and definitely not in a "ooops, not enough calories, watch me pass out in the OR." Not that I've ever done that on purpose, but I can definitely pass out in the OR like a champ.


I've also bought a DaHon fold-up bike. I love it! Mine is actually navy blue but the back rack and the portability is perfect. I'll get to bring it home and I think it's really going to be a nice addition to my bike mini-collection. It'll be great at my next duty station (wherever that might be) but it is crazy how certain next steps in my life are starting to become more clear and real as residency is starting to wind down.

Ok, off to study some head and neck cancer! I'm trying to be good so that I can have a great weekend when Mechen comes to visit! Hooray!

I'm an intern again...

Fortunately not, but oh my word, Friday night call was horrific. I was getting paged every 20-30 minutes regarding "order clarifications," which finally stopped at 11:30 p.m. And I would have slept until 4:30 except for the post-operative hematoma that presented at midnight. Fuck. So, I was up until 5 in the OR and ICU. And although I slept on a stretcher for an two hours before rounds, I was so wasted that morning. I looked like crap and not that I really care how I look at work (within reason- I do want to have a professional appearance), I really looked like a train hit me. I slept and finally felt a little better. I went to Target followed by an amazing yoga session. Then I crashed around 9 last night.

One thing I did learn yesterday is that I really like yoga. I definitely plan on keeping up my running routine, but I felt so serene after yesterday's session. Yoga is definitely the exercise that I routinely forget that I like. I usually think I'm too type A and that I'll be too bored. But I have definitely noticed that I've become increasingly less flexible and I would like to restore that aspect of fitness. I think it's especially important if I want to continue running as I get older. So, even though I don't have the most spiritually-minded approach to yoga, it's something I plan on continuing. Especially in San Diego- there are yoga studios everywhere.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Summer Vacation 2011

Mechin and I took the best trip. Despite repeatedly forgetting that we were taking it and trying to make plans for Big Bear camping over Labor Day weekend, we were, in fact, already committed to a GREAT vacation.

First, we went to Massachusetts to see my cousin get married and hang out with my family and my Dad's extended family. The wedding was beautiful, Hurricane Irene gave it an element of suspense and we danced late into the night. It was also, as the DJ said, "the sweatiest wedding ever." While not a seemingly attractive quality, it was due to tons of dancing and a ridiculous amount of humidity.

We stayed in Boston for a night and walked around the Common the next day. We ate lunch at Neptune on Monday (YUM!) and walked around the North End. Then we met Hilary for Happy Hour. Mom called and said our flight was delayed. I didn't see it on the website so I asked her to check again and she (mildly huffily) said that it was true. So, we went to Sportello and had an amazing dinner. We then leisurely returned our rental car, went to the bathroom in the airport and...got overhead paged b/c the plane was closing the doors. It turns out that Iceland EXPRESS was delayed, not Icelaindair. Fuck. So we ran to the counter waving my phone with the boarding passes, were allowed on for some bizarre reason and made it onto the plane. From counter to plane seat was 11 minutes. I have a picture where I seriously have crazy eyes from adrenaline.

Then we were in Iceland for two days, one night. We went to the Blue Lagoon, toured Reykjavik, ate lobster stew, went to the top of the Church tower, toured their arts center and stayed at a cute B&B. The next day, we went on a tour of geologic attractions- Gullfoss (amazing), Geiser and the continental drift where the original parliament was located ( I looked it up- Pingvellir). Then we had a hot dog and more lobster stew for dinner, went to the airport and left for Denmark.

Denmark was amazing. The weather was gorgeous, Mechin and my family got along so well and it was such a great balance of family time and sightseeing on our own. We walked around Copenhagen. We went to Elsinore and had the best smorgasbord, followed by a quick(!) stop at the Louisiana. The next day, we went to Roskilde and rowed around on a Viking boat ("It is not picture time!" -stern boat leader). Finally, the last day, we all went to Hven and had such an amazing time cycling and drinking beer around the Swedish Nantucket. I loved it.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Fun weekend!

Mechen and I were talking about how much fun last weekend was. First, we went to the Brazilian steakhouse with Heather and Dave, two of Mechen's friends from the Hawk that are slowly becoming mine as well. Sometimes, I feel like they think I'm blowing them off but they have an uncanny knack for planning things when I'm on call. Hmmm...

Anyway, afterward, we stopped at Extraordinary Desserts and had delicious raspberry mascarpone ice cream. Yum. Saturday was the Encinitas Botanical Gardens with a serendipitous art walk find on our part. Saturday night, we went to an awesome housewarming party complete with a catered taco cantina. Finally, Sunday was an awesome mellow beach day with lots of surfing. I loved it! And I caught several waves, although mostly breakwater.

Ok, movie night! The Proposal. Hopefully it's as good and cute as the previews suggested!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Since we last spoke...

I have a life! Hooray! Kaiser, albeit an AMAZING experience, was a slight social life sucker. That month finished off well, including my luck to have the amazingly better half of the split fifth weekend. Hooray!

I have gone paddle-boarding twice which is mucho fun. It's really easy and relaxing. I would love to do more of it and maybe even start exploring the paddle/surf hybrid activity. I've been out to brunch at Ave 5 and Cafe Bleu in Hillcrest/Mission Hills. Both restaurants were excellent and part of the new exciting brunch theme of "Bottomless Mimosas!" I had a sort of duck hash at Ave 5 and Asparagus Benedict at Cafe Bleu. It's with a few of my lady doctor friends who are so much fun and provide just the right amount of shop talk and fun talk although to be honest, someone non-med would probably be really bored and/or horrified.

Mechen and I housesat in Coronado and saw Liquid Blue in Sprekel's Park. We ate at Burger Lounge and had delicious ice cream at a shop I call Maggie Moo, but I'm pretty sure that's the place in Boston and I'm wrong. It was really nice to take several walks to the beach and the commute was glorious!

I've also been to a Padres game with my sister and her boyfriend. Mechen and I went to a pre-season Chargers game. Tonight's a fun house-warming for my friend Melissa and I think that's all I've got!

I've been attending lots of Barry classes and loving them- I want to be in shape for my vacation although I did a dietary setback last night after going to a Brazilian steakhouse last night. Phew. I really am feeling torn about eating meat b/c I do feel better on all veggies but sometimes, meat is just delicious!

Upcoming events: 9 day vacation to Cape Cod, Iceland and Denmark, Two Car Studio concert 24 Sept and a Pizza Port Chargers Party Bus on 25 Sept. Then, of course, comes my 3 month exile to Houston for an away rotation to M.D. Anderson. My social life will be zapped once more!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

All's quiet...

It looks like my pager has learned to behave! This weekend, so far, has not been too bad which is great. Even if it exploded....now (*furtive look towards my pager*) it could still be no more than a rating of "terrible" since I've gotten through two nights, albeit one completely asinine page last night about something that 1. I wasn't even in charge of and 2. could have COMPLETELY waited until the morning.

ANYWAY! This morning, I learned that my smoke detectors do indeed work. Although both had a green light on, I was suspicious b/c I really thought I had smoked the place out on various occasions with kitchen endeavors. Never fear! This morning, I really hit the threshold thanks to some mysterious debris on the floor of my oven.

I have been listening to Spanish on tapes on the way to work. I'm using the Pimsleur level 1, which is alright. It's really weird because the first three lessons are how to communicate that I don't speak Spanish. That seems like a very defeatist attitude on the Pimsleur side of things. How about teaching me Spanish so I don't need to know how to say that (ok, ok, I realize this sentence has some inherent contradictions).

I'm also trying to cook up a storm of healthy eats for this week. I think I eat less when Mechen's around because all of a sudden, 3 lbs just fell off me. I also think that this is the breakthrough of a plateau but either way, I'll take it! I'm starting to get within sight of my goal which is great since the big wedding/Iceland/Denmark trip is coming up. I'm usually a size 8 but over the years, I've had fits of wild optimism (and occasional weight lows) and bought really cute clothes in size 6. So, I've got a great, barely worn wardrobe, I just need to fit into it. And I say this not because I'm vain (although I am), but also because most of these clothes are "Fall-ish" and I refuse to wear corduroys that are too tight. Can you say sausage casings? This is also why I refuse to wear corduroy skinny jeans. There are women who can (I hate you- kidding!) but they are the ones with beautiful long gazelle legs rather than my very strong, very muscular former gymnast-like quads.

This post was brought to you by random stream of consciousness and parenthetical phrases.

Monday, June 27, 2011

What your doctor is thinking...

One of the funniest things about medicine is the dark humour and inner monologues that can occur within a doctor's head. Ok, maybe that's too generalized to let me personalize- I definitely have had moments where there are two conversations, the one I'm having and the one I wish I was having. Fortunately, I have friends and colleagues that do this too which results in some hilarious conversations usually along the lines of-

Me: So I told her, "Blaugh de blah"
Doctor friend: [gaspy laugh]: You did NOT!
Me: Of course not, I told her "Bleeky boo" but I wanted to tell her "blaugh de blah."

I think part of the problem for me is that I was raised in a family that valued a little flexibility with recounting events in order to never get in the way of a good story. Of course, I clarify to make sure everything is ultimately accurate but the initial shock value in really telling someone what you were really thinking can be oh-so-satisfying to the story-teller. Ok, ok...me.

Yesterday, I had a really weird experience of telling a patient she had to go home. As in, "You are and will go home." I've never had to be that direct with someone before but I've also never dealt with someone who was trying to (really, really obviously) game the system. Granted, she initially did require inpatient care but when she improved and was ready for discharge, a plethora of symptoms came up that she stated she would not leave until they were "worked up." Which to her, meant very expensive, needless radiology imaging. So, instead (and more appropriately), I had internal medicine examine her and then discharged her when all was verified to be well.

This weekend was definitely my comeuppance for my "Tra-la-la, I'm such a white cloud attitude!" After 4 spookily quiet weekends, my pager exploded this weekend. Whah. It is funny though because when I said how much call sucked in front of one of my attendings I thought to myself, "Tierney! You should be telling him that you think the only bad thing about having call two weekends a month is that you miss the good cases from the other two weekends." Then I thought, "Bullshit, call DOES suck. That's why they make residents take it. And there's hardly ever any good cases, only painful consults."

But, to not be too woe-is-me, I did have a break Saturday morning and part of Sunday morning. And I didn't get paged between 2-6 each night so I guess that was nice (no, it sucked! It was only 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep! <--future Mom me is looking at that sentence and laughing).

What did I do with that time? I read Bossypants by Tina Fey which was pretty good and I went to brunch with my friends at Starlite which was also good although I made a poor menu choice. What about "eggless frittata made with veggies and smooth garbanzo flour" sounds bad? How about that it's borderline tasteless? Oh well, at least I was healthy!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Philadelphia!

In an effort to be a better blogger (inspired by Joslyn's post http://www.simplelovelyblog.com/2011/06/little-bit-of-looking-back.html), I'll try and actually write while I'm actually traveling or shortly thereafter.

I'm here in Philly for a wedding today that is actually an hour outside the city. But in order to maximize by adventure time, I took a red-eye Thursday and took in a lot of Philly sights yesterday. I wish Mechen was here but the tickets were too expensive and he isn't as good friends with the couple so he decided to forego the travels. I'm sure he'll drown his sorrows this weekend in golf and surfing.

I arrived a 6 a.m. (wheeee!) after a red-eye that I didn't sleep as well on as a normally do. Boo! But I felt ok and stopped by the hotel to drop off my bag. The Independent is a really nice boutique hotel with the building's old brick interior mixed in with more modern elements. The linens and bed are amazing and there is a DOUBLE shower head! I love it. I didn't find all this out until 6 at night b/c I was busy sight-seeing but last night's sleep was AWESOME.

After dropping off my bags, I went to "Jack and the Brewstalk," which is an ok coffee shop. I think my reaction to it was that it was trying too hard to be cute and as a result, I'm being overcritical but I got my Jack size coffee (instead of giant, get it?) and headed out.

First I went to the Philadelphia Museum which is a Blue Star museum this Summer so I got in free! I didn't even realize until I asked for a military discount, figuring it would be the student rate. Instead, I got to wander the halls and saw beautiful artwork. I saw old favorites like Mary Cassat and the Marcel Duchamp gallery (have these two ever been linked in a single thought before EVER?) and wandered through some reconstructed rooms. There was an old Southern France monastery courtyard that was breathtakingly restored and so evocative of a beautiful night where possibility is heavy in the air. That was my favorite part (picture coming!).

The museum also has several Winslow Homers- I forgot how much I loved his work, especially the Maine coast scenes. Then I travelled across the street to another building to see a Chagall exhibit. He's not my favorite, but the layout and companion pieces illustrating various contemporaries/inspirations was laid out expertly by the exhibit's curator.

Next, I went to the Rodin museum. Nothing original for me to say here- I love "The Cathedral" and "The Gates of Hell." Rodin was an amazing sculptor and the lyrical lines are so beautiful. I also love the figures of the men and women in embrace. You can feel the passion through the positioning, which really is a testament to natural, unforced, unfiltered body language.

Then I was tired. So I took the bus to 8th&Market, hopped off and walked to Little Italy. I walked all the way down to Pat's where I inhaled a cheesesteak. I was SO hungry and it was falling apart in my hands so gobble, gobble. When I was done, I felt fine but I had a stern little talk with myself along the lines of "Chew your g-damn food!" Seriously! How am I going to be a healthy eater if I don't even chew and I just have partially chewed crap in my stomach. (Ok, ignore the fact that this is all in reference to a cheesesteak which is in no way healthy, but more along a general principle that chewing is a good thing).

Then I walked to Walnut near Rittenhouse and proceeding to negate any savings I had made during trip planning by buying a wedding outfit at Anthro, a shirt for Mechen and travel pants for me at Lulu and two tank tops from the Gap (<--the only one of these three is not stupidly expensive!).

I came to the hotel, checked into my lovely room, went to the gym and came back and hung out. I talked to Mechen on the phone. I really wanted to go to a wine bar named Tria, but I figured that I might as well save some money for when I can go out with Mechen and/or friends. In addition, I plan on drinking at the wedding and I decided to not do two nights in a row since I may also have some wine when I go out with Mechen Sunday night.

Phew! That's it! I had a light breakfast this morning and now I'm off for a run. Yipes! I just looked at the time and I have to get going!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Coachella 4/15-4/17

Coachella was AWESOME! I knew that I would have a good time, but the whole experience exceeded my expectations. We went with two friends and camped at the Polo Grounds. Camping was great, although we lucked out with our site in a few ways. Our neighbors were all pretty mellow and quiet, but not too mellow in a blasting Marley or the Beatles (seriously?) during the day type of way. We were also in the middle of a row, away from random foot traffic and, more importantly, large floodlights.

But the music, you say! Stop being so crochety and old and talking about where you slept. Boring!

So the first day, I saw CeeLo Green who had the plug pulled since he was 30 minutes late into a 40 minute set and was really mad at the organizers. Lauryn Hill’s set was AMAZING with Fugees and “Miseducation” songs seamlessly flowing and she sounded great. A new discovery (for me) was the Cold War Kids who are a great rock band and I downloaded several songs immediately- “Royal Blue” and “Bulldozer” stand out. Brandon Flowers set was terrific and I had never really heard his songs before. I now have his whole album thanks to Jenny! In addition, the Killers came out for “Read My Mind” and “Mr Brighteyes.” The only disconcerting thing about Brandon Flowers is that his voice has a shitload of strain in it. I kept thinking his voice would crack and I’m sure he has singer nodules in his future. I loved Robyn and am working out to several of her songs all the time. Finally, we say Floggin Molly that night, super late (until 130). They had an amazing amount of energy. Other bands we heard that day were The Black Keys, Crystal Castle and Ozomatli.

On Saturday, we saw The Joy Formidable who have a guitarist/singer who is this really bad-ass pixie. Sean saw Two Door Cinema Club, whom he said were awesome and the “Irish Killers” so I definitely want to check them out at some point. New Pornographers and Bright Eyes were very good. Bright Eyes was followed by Mumford and Sons and they were awesome! We were really close to the stage for their show and the energy was through the roof! They played two new songs- “Blinded by the Light” which I heard at Belly Up and another that I’m blanking on right now. Finally, the night ended with Arcade Fire. They were great and I finally got to see them after my frustrating near-miss in Tokyo 3 years ago!

The last day was more mellow for us. We saw Twin Shadow, Jack’s Mannequin and Best Coast which were all new finds for us and sounded great. Nas and Damian Marley were great and Wiz Khalifa had really energetic fans especially considering there was a pot smoke cloud over the crowd the entire time. We ended our night with The National then headed home, totally tired but so happy.

The concerts were amazing. There were a few folks we weren’t as fond of but more due to our tastes rather than lack of musical artistery. I missed the advance sale for 2012 (boo!) but I’ll definitely be looking for tix in Jan, 2012!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Vacation, part 1

After the beer bus, Mechen and I started vacation! We were hung-overish on Sunday morning, then headed up to San Luis Obispo and stayed in a Rock Room (Swiss Belle). That evening, we went to the steakhouse on site which had pretty ridiculous portions (we split a main) and was pretty good.

The next day, we went to the SLO mission, had breakfast at the Big Sky CafĂ©, field trip to Morro Bay and ate creekside at Novo. Morro Bay was awesome and I also bought my first piece of art there- yipes! It’s awesome, but man, I don’t know if I’ll make it a habit. Maybe I’ll try my hand at painting?

The next day, we went on a hike to see the 7 Sisters, walked around Solvang and ate at Root 246.
Finally, we had a great breakfast at our B&B, Mirabella Inn. We ate lunch at Twin Oaks (steak #1) and went to several wine tasting rooms (Consilience, Carharrt, Epiphany and our hotel lobby (beer). We also went to Foxen Winery, which was pretty awesome. We went to the original wine tasting room and their newer, sleeker one. Any winery that has two tasting rooms has to be good, right?

Then, we had the meal of the vacation at the Brothers Restaurant at Mattei's Tavern. I had a delicious grilled prime filet. The preceding bread basket was so awesome and we completely gorged. Then we rolled ourselves back to the hotel.


The next day, we ate brekkie and headed home in order to pack and make preparations to leave for Coachella the next day

Birthday, part 2

On April 3rd, I went out to brunch at the Pearl with some of my friends and one little baby who was definitely star of the show. She is the cutest. It was great brunch with delicious mimosas and Bloody Marys.



The big celebration though, was the San Diego Brew Tour we went on the 9th. Cat and I both have April birthdays so we decided to host a pre-party and then go on the tour. I had been on one before about 2 years ago and had a blast, so I really wanted to do it with all of my San Diego friends.



The pre-party was at Cat’s house and I was in charge of the quarter keg, which was filled with Airdale Amber- delish! Our bus driver was great, the tunes were awesome and we went to Lost Abbey, Ballast Point and Pizza Port. I was pretty hammered- in part because I made the rookie mistake of not eating enough but mostly because I just drank like a fish.



Note to self: remember to get Ballast’s Bloody Mary mix. Awesome!



It was a great evening and I actually just relived it looking at pictures on Brooke’s phone yesterday at the post-Bridge Run brunch. They were so funny. Only casualty- my point-and-shoot, which I totally squished.

Turning 30, for "real" this time!

My birthday was, in a word, amazing. I had been sort of smarting all year long at what a dud my 30th birthday had been. Not to dwell, but it wasn’t exactly the celebration that I think “aught” birthdays should have. Certainly there were extenuating circumstances (like Mechen’s deployment) but either way, I told Mechen that this year, I was turning 30 again. And oh man, did he ever come through!

The morning was pretty relaxed. He headed out and when he came back, he gave me a card. I opened it and voila! A spa gift certificate. He said I had an appointment in about 40 minutes that I could either keep or cancel. I decided I was in the mood and also, he said he needed the time to work on things.

I went and had a great massage at Sante in Solana Beach. I sat in the steam room until I physically had to leave. Then, I sat in the waterfall room until my massage, which was really, really good. Then I had a quick sauna, shower and went home.

The house smelled amazing. At first, I thought it was a puff pastry baked Brie, but then I figured out that maybe it was a cake (more later)? Mechen said we were going out to dinner so I got ready and off we went to San Diego for a dinner at Starlite, my favorite restaurant.

When we walked in, the host asked if we had a reservation and I said, “I think he does,” and Mechen gave his name. The host said, “Oh, MECHEN,” and led us to a corner table where there was the most amazing, gorgeous, huge bouquet of flowers I’ve ever seen. It was perfect and awesome and I was totally blown away. I couldn’t stop smiling and the guys near us on their own dates probably couldn’t stop thinking, “You SOB” to Mechen.

After dinner, which was delicious (at this point, it’s slightly hazy but I had a really delicious fish prepared in a Moroccan fashion, Mechen had a great steak and we split a lamb bruschetta), we went back home where Mechen had made my favorite cake- yellow with chocolate frosting. Yum-o!
I felt so amazing and special on my birthday. It was perfect. Most of all, I felt so, so lucky to have Mechen in my life. It was incredible.


Last weekend in March, 2011

The last weekend in March, we hiked/camped in Red Rock Canyon, which is a beautiful slash of rock that is absolutely gorgeous with all the reds and veins of different composition alternately layered in and slashing through.

We also went to the Antelope Valley Flower fields and we were way too early. Fortunately, we found a patch on the side of the road that helped us imagine what it was supposed to look like.  I can't wait until I can see fields and fields of flowers!


    Present update!

    Oh, so my Valentine’s Day surprise?  A poem, a handmade flower, fortune cookies and some really amazing tea- totally low-key and really sweet.  But wait until you read what I got for my birthday!!!!

      Monday, March 21, 2011

      Goathead Thorns!

      Do you ever find it weird that there can be something in the world that you have never, ever heard anything about and yet, in very short order, events transpire that make you well acquainted with that very entity?





      Wow, that sounds like a very deep rhetorical question and what prompted it was my adventure this weekend with two flat bike tires and a sore right heel. Mechen and I went for a bike ride this past weekend with the goal of making it to Carlsbad for a scenic local sight-seeing trip. My main goal was to find a lovely scenic bar at the end, which I probably could have easily talked Mechen into joining me. Instead, our tires went flat at the worst part of the 101. In between Leucadia and Carlsbad, there is nothing apart from little housing colonies. No ATMs, no bike shops, no cabs, no Coaster station. When Mechen examined his tires, there were all of these little thorns stuck in them. WTF? Shouldn't thorns yield before tires? Intuitively, I would have a tire beat a thorn in a revised version of "Rock, Paper, Scissors" but then I would be wrong. Because those little suckers were way tougher than our tires. I looked on my tires and said, "I have one too!" I promptly pulled it out which was a mistake, indicated by the audible hiss and rapid deflation of my back tire. Boo.

      Fortunately! We were almost directly across the street from a 101 bus stop. This was lucky because, again, there was nothing on this stretch of highway for about 2.5 miles in either direction. We put Mechen's bike on the bus, locked mine up since someone had grabbed the other bike holder and merrily proceeded back to Cardiff. We then picked up my bike and walked to Blue Ribbon Pizzeria which was delicious, as always! We also rented Inception. We didn't watch it until yesterday afternoon. It was slightly hard to follow but excellent. Lest you think we were wasting a beautiful CA afternoon, it was raining. We had already done our outdoor activity of hiking Iron Mountain earlier that day.

      The weekend highlights also included Ricotta pancakes from the Edible San Diego magazine. They were delectable!

      Other March highlights included a trip out to Anzo-Borrego, a bike/hike to Torrey Pines and the Inservice. The latter was not really a highlight, but at least it's done. I'm a little worried for a surely got several questions wrong but it's out of my hands and as much as I can let the stress go (it's difficult), I'm trying for I won't get word until May.

      Hasta!

      Friday, March 4, 2011

      Control Freak

      It is really bothering me that my post below has two different font sizes. For the love of god, if I can't control the font size on my own blog, what can I control?!?!

      Ok, so this is a brief blog break before I finish my last-minute studying for the inservice. The test is tomorrow. I am definitely a little nervous but I have studied a.lot. I'm hoping that I know the answers (duh) and that the questions asked happen to be the ones that I am brilliant at! Like spelling my name- I'm excellent at that!

      But really, I feel like I'm in an ok spot and that I won't embarrass myself horribly tomorrow. Although the stakes are high after my abysmal score last year. But I need to stay positive and most of all, read the fucking question because they can be so tricky with their excepts/onlys/NOT/true/false. Bastards.

      This week was fun. Lots of studying, an easy call night, two Bar Method classes and one spin class were involved. One of the highlights was cooking my lunch last night with Mechen. I made orange-glazed tempeh from 101cookbooks combined with quinoa and lightly steamed green veggies. Holy cow. The orange tempeh was delicious. I HIGHLY recommend it. The whole site is filled with delicious, veggie-filled dishes of goodness. Most of all, Mechen LOVED it which meant so much to me because I love eating healthily and low-meat and to share that with him is awesome! Oh, BTW, I made enough for two with an additional small serving for dinner tonight.

      Ok, back to the books!

      Sunday, February 27, 2011

      All work, some play!

      This weekend has been pretty awesome. I've gotten a lot of studying done for the inservice and I've also had a really fun time with Mechen, especially since he was gone during the week. He was at a conference in Panama City, FL which sounds like it went well AND he got to see his brother so that was great.

      I've decided I'm only going to drink twice a week because even the "moderate" glass of wine or beer on weekday nights has slowly but surely caught up to my waistline. Since I'm not interested in that effect AT ALL, I've decided to drink only on the weekends at two meals- either two dinners, a brunch and dinner, etc.

      So, Friday, we just hung out, ate a delicious soup that Mechen loves and split a bottle of 2007 Lake Sonoma Winery Cabernet Sauvignon. It was pretty tasty and a nice mellow evening.

      Yesterday, I spent all day studying and, right at the point that I was hitting "crazy lady" level, I stopped, showered and got ready to go out with Mechen. It was one of the best date nights in awhile. Not that there are bad ones but the food was holy hell good.

      We went to the Blue Ribbon Artisan Pizzeria in Encinitas. We walked along the beach to get there, although we had to go up the D St stairs since the tide was up to the rocks around the Swammi bend. We put our names on the list and grabbed a beer at the Lumbaryard. I had the beer of the month, an ale that was citrusy and flowery while Mechen had a Firestone ale. Both were good but it was mainly to pass time until we got our phone call. We were called about 25 minutes later and had seats at the bar. It is a tiny restaurant but the view at the bar was great since we got to look at the oven across the room.

      We ordered the albacore crudo for an appetizer and it was delicious. Four pieces of perfectly ripened, diced avocado with a slab of tuna topped with a perfect, de-pithed slice of grapefruit. Olive oil and citrus vinegar were drizzled on top. It was amazing. We also got the truffle oil popcorn with Parmesan that was good, but really, just popcorn with lots of delicious oily goodness.

      Then, we split the Californian pizza with tomato sauce, mozzarella, ricotta, parm and fresh arugula on top. I'm running out of superlatives at this point but I am STILL dreaming of that pizza and I am seriously considering ordering take-out tonight. We also had an Alagash Dark and Stormy Stout which was really delicious and filling. We finished by splitting the butterscotch pudding which was a beautiful balance of sweet, creamy and a touch of sea salt. Yummy!

      But since we hadn't had enough beer, we finished up with a flight and a pint at the Encinitas Ale House that has some mighty delectable looking burgers- they're huge and even though I was beyond stuffed, they still looked pretty tasty.

      So, that was my ridiculous sensory gorge-fest on Saturday! I had so much fun and felt fine this morning thanks to a middle of the night multivitamin and Ibuprofen with water. Now, I'm back to studying although a little less diligent than yesterday since I took a Lulu Lemon shopping break. But now, it's time to hit the books (again). I'm on target so I feel pretty good although there is still a lot more work to be done!

      Wednesday, February 23, 2011

      I'd rather be skiing!

      But I'm being responsible instead. Lame! My inservice test is next Saturday and since it encompasses all of ENT, I really can't study enough. I also need to ace it so that's a little added pressure! My first year I did AMAZINGLY and last year I did HORRIBLY (really, the emphasis is needed for both) so I need to prove that I am amazingly amazing, not amazingly stupid.

      Mechen is gone for the week so that helps me focus a little bit more on studying. He's really supportive and doesn't mind letting me be distraction-free while he's here but still, I make myself distracted thinking of him being so close (and I hope that feeling never changes!).

      Last weekend was a lot of fun. Friday night, we met up with some of my work peeps for drinks at Martini's Over 4th. It was a lot of fun and both of us had a good time although there was a LOT of shop talk. We left to go get a healthy dinner and ended up at Blue Water Grill on India St. The fish was delicious and fresh, but not cheap. The restaurant is more of a self-serve type where we stood in line, ordered and sat on outdoor-style furniture. That can be totally fine, but considering it was dinner and we were paying restaurant prices, I think I'd rather go to a more sit-down, atmospheric location. So, I won't be rushing back although it certainly wasn't bad by any stretch.

      Saturday, we went downtown and I went to Bar Method and Mechen golfed. We hung out around the house in the afternoon and had a really mellow day. I got some study time in which was needed.

      Sunday, we biked to Del Mar (11 miles total) and then I went up to San Clemente for Brooke's Dirty 30. The house was amazing, right on the beach and water. New addition to my life list- own a house like that!






      Standing on the back deck, Catalina Island in the distance



      Monday was a holiday for President's Day. I dropped Mechen off at the airport and then studied all day. Today we have off due to huge base drills going on so instead of skiing with Brooke and Brady, I'm back in Cardiff after a SHITTY night of call so I can study the day away.

      Monday, February 14, 2011

      Happy Valentine's Day/Weekend Wrap-Up

      I'm sitting in my kitchen right now, slightly buzzed off of my delicious wine waiting for Mechen to give me the 15 minute signal so I can start cooking...lobster! Augh! I have been reading a lot of veg/vegan blogs lately and I would really like to incorporate that more into my diet. Also, the "clank-clink-clank" of the little lobster claws against the pot weird me out, but for now, meat is still in my diet and lobster it will be. But I am wondering how I can convince the man to go veg/vegan. It might take some doing but also, he is sometimes so enraptured by me (I have no idea why), that I just may be able to convince him.

      But, while I'm waiting for my Valentine's Day surprise(s), it's time for weekend wrap-up.
      Friday: Happy Hour with live music at the Belly Up didn't happen, but The Third Corner for dinner did. It was delicious, although Mechen liked the food a little more than I did. I had a flavorful bass with asparagus hash but I thought the dish was tainted by a dijon mustard slather-bath all over the delicious fresh fish. But it was still really good, I just thought the fish could have been less adultured. Mechen had mussels that were also tasty so it was a turf feast for the two of us.

      Saturday was a fun day with a late sleep-in and then travelling to San Diego for the airshow. First we went to Cabrillo that was too far out to have a good view, and then we went down to Harbor Island and watched the last bit from Johnny's Famous while drinking Bloody Mary's. The Stenis CAG flyover was pretty impressive although to be honest, there were a few fly-overs above the Kitty Hawk that beat it. Sorry, but I didn't see any stealth bombers over San Diego Bay! Then we went to the Linkery and had dinner with Cat. Then, we came back to Cardiff and watched most of Tropic Thunder although someone was an old man and fell asleep 2/3rds through!

      On Sunday, we went to the Farmer's Market by car after I was so excited to go by bike. I pumped up the tires, all the while singing, "I love the Farmer's MArket, I love to ride my bike, Toodley Doo!" But then my inner DJ went "ERRRRRRKKKKKK!" when Mechen said he didn't want to ride my bike (which is comically small for him) and especially without a helmet since he bonked his head last week falling down a mini-cliff. Well, fine! It was sort of hilarious since it was a moment that definitely highlighted that, sigh, I have some work to do on communicating while living with someone. He can't read my mind and if I wanted to ride bikes and get all excited about it, we should have spoken about it. Instead, we drove to the Leucadia Farmer's Market, where Mechen asked what exactly was so big about gluten-free since there were about 2:1 gluten-free stands to normal pastry/bread stands. It was sort of weird. It was a very SoCal/North County Market. I want to make a mockumentary. Bratwurst lovers vs. gluten-averse vegans. Iiiiiiiieeeeeeeeeee!

      But then, after the Farmer's Market, I was mad. Dammit, we lived in North County. Mechen NEEDED a bike, his budget be damned. So, I decided that I would buy him a bike for Valentine's Day and HOORAY, there was a VERY reasonably priced one on Craigslist (because nothing says Valentine's Day like bargain-priced gifts). We went down to Chula Vista to get it (boo!) and then rode the Silver Strand for a lovely 15 mile ride break-in. His bike is awesome and pretty to look at- just like him!

      And now it's Valentine's Day, which I've always have a soft spot for, even when single. And now I have the best boyfriend so it's super awesome!

      *This post was written under the influence of two glasses of wine. As if you couldn't tell. I did try to correct all the typos though- there were lots!*

      Thursday, February 10, 2011

      Fair warning, I don't think I'll be able to walk tomorrow

      Just before lunch, I went to the gym with Anil, my co-research resident-in-crime. He had been talking about CrossFit workouts so I figured I was game. I asked, "Are we going to go for a run too?" Silly, silly me. Anil was kind and said, "Well, these workouts are sometimes longer than you think."

      Holy heck. The workout was 15 hang cleans, 15 box jumps and 15 kettleball swings x 7. I started out slightly behind since my attempts to do pull-ups during warm-ups had already put the hurt on me. I was whipped! It was so hard. I did all the sets, mainly because another guy who was there had little self-motivating phrases such as "Don't be a bitch" as he was working out. Well, I didn't want to be a "bitch" then either! Hey Mister, I can do this workout too. Ok, maybe with a lot less weight but still.

      So, that was my first day of Cross-Fitness madness. I think it'll be an ok workout to do now and then. Some of their daily workouts are require really esoteric equipment that would be difficult to find outside a gymnasium. Also, I really don't want to bulk up at all. The workout today was good b/c of so many sets but I'm going to stick with Bar Method as my primary means of strength training.

      Monday, February 7, 2011

      Super Bowl...of chili!

      Mechen and I hosted a great Super Bowl party yesterday. It was fairly mellow but we did end up having less beer than when we started, which is the sign of a party not completely for grown-ups. Although that might be offset by the fact that if the three people who brought wine actually brought a six-pack each, we would have been pretty close to a zero sum event.

      I went to foodandwine.com and raided a few recipes from their Super Bowl party guide. I now have a new and awesome go-to cornbread recipe, a delicious chili recipe that I modified heavily but left the secret ingredient (oh, ok...BACON!!!) and mojito jello shots that were simultaneously disgusting and captivating. We also had black bean sliders, steak tacos, salsa/guac/chips and 7-layer dip. Brady and I had a brownie-off which she may have won but that's because the people I invited have no taste. But that's ok- that's why we're all friends.

      The BEST part about yesterday is that it finally gave Mechen and I the motivation to finish unpacking and cleaning. I love our house now and it feels so awesome and homey. Hooray for our new place!

      Link
      http://www.foodandwine.com/articles/super-bowl-blowout

      Saturday, February 5, 2011

      New Year, New Resolutions, Blog more...blah di blagh

      So, blogging isn't working out too well, which seems to be the first sentence of almost every other post around here. Fortunately, I'm my only reader- hooray! Ok, self, let's get it together, 'k?

      First, Mechen is finally here. It's better than I imagined and after a fairly dramatic misunderstanding this morning (resolved!), I realize how much he means to me and how my life is permanently and totally altered now that he and I are together and so in love. It's amazing and I feel so lucky each and every day that I've been graced with such a gift in my life.

      He came out on the 17th of Dec and hung out while I worked at Kaiser (boo!) and hung out with him any moment I was off, which was never enough for me! But it was a little bit of an adjustment having him here in everyday life, rather than another datecation that we had enjoyed for the last two years when we saw each other. It's also difficult since we live in San Diego where people DO come for vacation but both of us have jobbie jobs that intrude on those lady-who-lunch fantasies I have of working out at 10 a.m. and daily beach visits, more than likely during peak sun hours.

      ANYWAY, I did have Christmas and the day after off which was awesome. We were getting ready to move from my cute place on Banker's Hill up to Cardiff. He loved the apartment (phew!) and we were ready to move in with the one small exception of all his stuff still in Norfolk. Cue: road trip!

      We left 27 Dec on separate flights due to previous booking and it turned out to be a very good thing b/c I made it to Norfolk while he was stuck in Houston. He made it to Knoxville while I landed in snowy Norfolk and got his truck and drove overnight to Knoxville where I crashed for a few hours. Fortunately, no crashes while driving although a fence fared poorly against Sweetpea when I was backing her out of the 6 inches of snow covering the driveway. But I didn't hit the house, garage or parked cars so I think I picked the appropriate target!

      After a few hours of sleep, we back tracked to Dunbar, WV and visited with his grandmother. She was really sweet and had lots of great stories. We spent the night and then decided to push on our long haul leg, which ended up being 30+ hours and we made it all the way to Arizona! That was a little crazy but doable thanks to switching out driving responsibilities.

      At that point, it was the 30th and we decided we wanted to make it back to San Diego for New Year's so the next day we left, stopped at Sedona (awesome!) and arrived in San Diego around 6. We went out to Hotel Solamar in a repeat of last year and it was really, really fun. The rest of the weekend, we recovered and moved.

      January was a busy month with more Kaiser goodness but Mechen and I still had a good time. We went out to dinner at Starlite. In Cardiff, we've hit a few Italian spots, the local "excellent" Mexican food spot (it was ok- I'm forever spoiled by the Mexican Grill in Annapolis), The E St Cafe and my new favorite local bar, The Lumberyard. Delicious food, good beer and a really mellow atmosphere with an eclectic crowd.

      I also went out in North Park last Saturday to celebrate Brady's birthday with a few girlfriends. And Brady! Couldn't leave her behind. Brady and I also went out to Cafe Chloe on her actual birthday for brunch followed by mani/pedis, which was a luxurious treat!

      This weekend, we're getting ready for our Super Bowl party Sunday. I'm very excited and as a bonus, the house is almost put together. Finally!