Sunday, December 28, 2008

PU!

Hmmm, how do you spell. "PU!" Maybe periods would help, but then where would the exclamation point go? Either way, if you could hear me, I am saying something that sounds like (pee-you). Because my room is stinky!

Oh, ha ha! You're hilarious. Ok, fine, I left that door wide open. But in all seriousness, it's not me, it's my closet. When I first moved in, there was a yellow-ish watermark that I really didn't pay too much mind to after determining over the course of the first week that it wasn't spreading. But after crazy rain two weeks ago, the yellow is now green and I smell...MOLD!!!

Now, I have a very sensitive nose for bad smells. Last night, for example, I had to move to the other side of Joe b/c the guys who sat next to me had fleeces that stank of stale beer and cigarettes (at the last second! And there weren't any other convenient seats, curses! I mean for me. They could have sat in the front row for all I cared, stinky late guys!). And now my room smells. I'm glad I'm moving because mold can be toxic (!), although I don't think this kind is. But I have to tell my roomie. Super stat. As soon as she gets back from her (extended) family holiday trip to Minnesota.

As for moving, it is coming along s-l-o-w-l-y. Stupid escrow and their dawdling ways in mid-December, followed by, "Oops, it's the holidays. Later!" Cross your fingers for Wednesday!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Cooking up a storm!

Tomorrow is Christmas. And for Joe and I, that means Mass, SeaWorld, and Christmas dinner at the Wises'. I've been cooking for the last few hours for three (3!) measly dishes. But they taste amazing.

"Oh, Tierney," you exclaim, "your trademark modesty is once again revealed!" And I will blush, toe imaginary dirt on the ground, and say, "Oh, it wasn't that big a deal."

It wasn't. But I made creamed spinach, curry spiced cauliflower and a cake with such an elaborate, every-ingredient-in-the-title that I shall give it to you: Sour Cream-Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting and Chocolate-Peanut Butter Glaze. It is also the dessert with the most hyphens in its name.

The creamed spinach is amazing. I helped Mom make the dish over Thanksgiving and I ended up in love. I've always liked creamed spinach in restaurants, but I LOVED this dish. A secret? Serve it piping!hot! It also does very well with a hint o' the following: lemon, nutmeg, parm, salt and pepper. The only disheartening thing about creamed spinach is that you spend so much time cleaning and destemming a mountain of spinach leaves that the end result after the "wilting" step is sorely disappointing. I had to buy more spinach from the local mart because my original amount shrunk to such pitiful dimensions.

Next is the curry spiced cauliflower. I have never been a cauliflower fan. It is the pale, weirdly crunchy cousin of broccoli, which doesn't fare all that well itself in salad bars of yore. BUT, caramelized cauliflower after 50 minutes in the oven with the addition of softened onions mixed with curry powder and mustard seed makes for quite a treat! I've made the dish twice before and it's always a hit. I still don't get it because even though I gobble down my fair share of it, I still think cauliflower is intrinsically too weird of a vegetable to be a hit.

Finally, the cake. It's a triple layer chocolate cake with peanut butter-cream cheese frosting. I've had a few crumbs that stuck to the pan and a lick of the frosting (no double dipping though!) and it is pretty awesome. I will let you know the verdict tomorrow, but already, I think this is going to be a repeat recipe.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! Especially to the East Coast fam party, representing 2/3 of this fine family. Joe and I are thinking of you. Especially when we see Shamu.

I KID!!!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas is coming!

The goose is getting fat, fa-la-la-la-la, Deck the Halls! Merry Christmas!

So my brother is coming tomorrow for a week, including Christmas. I'm worried he'll think I'm the biggest, non-festive loser ever. I mean, really, I'm even on call Wed-Fri! Boring! And loser-ish!

And I have no food in the house. My diet is oatmeal, Kashi bars, cereal, cottage cheese and applesauce. Lately, it's included ground turkey with beans after I evaporated all the water in my "chili" that I've been eating for the last three days. Oh, I sometimes have eggs! But it's kind of amazing how little one person eats. I still have an eye for ingredients for 6-people scale cooking.

But I'm trying to think of fun things to do. So far, we're going to a Christmas dinner at Sean's house, with a few other work-related people. I'm going to make a veggie dish (maybe two?) and a dessert. We're going to ham or beef, Court's still making up the menu.

And we'll go to Christmas mass, the logistics of which I always dislike because of getting there early to a crowded, stuffy Church and then someone who came late makes me feel guilty the whole time because it's either a squirmy little kid or (more likely) a little ol' lady. Full of the Christmas Spirit, I am. Still, I usually do give up my seat so being early is all for naught. But the Mass is always nice- I'm a sucker for that Nativity story, I am. And singing "Joy to the World" at the end is always so awesome. It's one of the few songs that Catholics actually sing rather rousingly, rather than mumbliciously.

On the phone with my sister...

* blah, blah, blah--
Me: Oh B, can you hold on a minute?

B: Sure.

Me: Puts the phone down in my lap Yeah, thanks for crossing on a green, you big a-hole.

Hapless pedestrian gives the most non-apologetic "Sorry" wave ever. Loser

Me: Ok, I'm back.

B: Did you just call someone an a-hole?

Me: Yes. But the windows were up.

B: You interupted the conversation to call someone an a-hole with your windows were up?

Me: Well, yeah. I'm not supposed to be driving with my phone so I put it down before I said anything. Maybe he can read lips.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Cover!

Throughout the course of the day, I am lucky enough to be on the receiving end of multiple coughs, sprays, and gleaks (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=gleak). This is the understandable consequence of not only looking into multiple oral cavities a day, but also sticking little wooden sticks inside as well as the occasional needle. It is, quite frankly, disgusting.

BUT! I accept it. Oh yes, the embodiment of the serenity prayer, that's me. But one thing that I have noticed lately is that my chief resident, who is frequently sick with some sort of URI, has been coughing without covering his mouth! Gross! Especially when walking behind him (read: downwind).

Monday, I told him he was doing that, which he promptly denied and told me to tell him the next time he did it. So 10 minutes later, there it was. Various excuses have been crafted over the last 48 hours to include:

* You know, sometimes I get that throat tickle and I just can't move my hands fast enough.

* I did not!

* Ok, that was once.

And my favorite...

*But I just sterilized my hands.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Freezing!

I am so cold. Like, hoodie-wearing, why-is-the-AC-on cold. I am shivering outside, I double up on layers when I'm overnight at the hospital (Aside: WHY are there 8 inpatients on the ENT service?!?! That is CRAZY talk!).

It is, BTW, 58 degrees in San Diego. With no wind chill. I am such a West Coast weenie now.

Time to study anatomy. Oh, middle and inner ear, why are you so small and complicated?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Escrow!

I'm in escrow, a state of being that I didn't even knew existed until about 2 weeks ago! A little background? Let me explain...

So, even though I'm in a sweet roomie situation right now, I decided that since I'm going to be in SD for awhile and I still get a free move from the government (read: all my stuff is still in storage), I decided that I wanted to get my own little space that I could move my stuff into and stay awhile. And experience the joys of homeownership, I guess.

I looked on Craigslist and found a really cute cottage-like condo about a mile from where I currently live and three miles from work. These units were totally redone in 2007 and I thought one was particularly awesome so...I went for it!

Yesterday was the house inspection by Mac the Inspextor. Just kidding about the X, he spelled it correctly. He was pretty impressed with the work that went into the house. The completely redone wiring is an especially nice touch since most conversions don't have new electric since it's rather expensive. After the inspection, Mike and I went over even more documents regarding contingencies, etc. Mike is my realtor. If you're ever in SD, I definitely recommend him.

Also, another nice thing is that I feel karmically harmonic since I'm getting place that isn't empty due to someone else's misfortune. Well, actually, the investors apparently lost their shirts in the whole complex deal but I don't feel too badly for them unlike a little cute family, for example.

Other events from the weekend:
* Call: My white-cloud incident-free call weekends were definitely a thing of the past this weekend. Two cases added for Monday and two admissions. I'm glad I don't have any gen surg friends who read this as they would be crying so many buckets of tears for me, they'd turn into little raisins.

* Office Christmas Party: It was fun. We had it at our department head's house, which was beautiful and well-decorated. It was a lot of fun. I love parties with lots of mingling although sometimes I feel I leave some conversations more gracefully than others. Like if I see something bright and shiny? Forget it, I'm done.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

East Coast Holiday!

So, I'm not even sure if anyone reads the blog anymore since my own Dad asked, "Is your blog still on the web anymore?" It ended up he was typing in the wrong address and getting some trade journal. But still, further proof that my life was way cooler to write about when I was in Japan.

But I still get to take vacations so maybe once every 3 months, I will seem cool. And also! The second week in January will be San Diego restaurant week so I will (hopefully) have lots of updates then although I don't exactly see myself taking the foodie blogger route. Unless I get a sweet site design. And start eating more interesting food. Although I love to cook and I like many different types of food, it's hard to find a dish I love so much I can eat it for several days straight. For example, my pumpkin/black bean soup was delicious but a little too black-beany after 5 days of it for lunch. If that makes sense.

So, I just got back from an awesome Thanksgiving holiday. I went up to Newport and walked part of the Cliff Walk, including the 40 Steps. I also checked out a little bit more of the town, which was cute since I love New England villages. I even saw the Naval Academy (1861-1864), Newport-style when the Middies were shipped up to RI to protect them from the Confederates.

After a too-short visit in RI, I headed down to NJ to spend Thanksgiving with my family + Brady's nice boyfriend. Thanksgiving dinner was AWESOME, despite my best efforts to over-citrify the creamed spinach with ~4x the amount of lemon juice required. And my Thanksgiving sandwich two days later was amazing. Why did I wait two days, you ask? Because on Friday, we went into the city for an awesome Broadway show/dinner combo. We saw Boeing, Boeing, a love quadrangle comedy featuring a 1960s suave man trying to juggle 3 fiances that are all flight attendants flying in and out of Paris. Guess what doesn't work out too well over the course of the play?

Then we went to the Rainbow Room for dinner, which was amazing. The view is incredible and the visibility that night was perfect. It's funny, I thought New York was taller than it is. We were on the 64th floor and over most of the buildings, although the density of the buildings is unbelievable. Don't get me wrong, they are still towering and huge at street level. I think I still had my child's view of NYC as having buildings that, literally, scraped the sky. I've only been to New York a handful of times so I guess that's why I've kept my younger self's perception for so long.

I came back Sunday night and now I'm back at work. I'm so excited for the holiday season. Joe is visiting later in the month so I'll still have family around on Christmas. Maybe he can help me adjust to California weather + Christmas!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Isn't it Grand!?!?

Grand rounds are over! I presented on Friday. The talk was pretty solid but it was a difficult topic since I was trying to pull a whole bunch of retrospective case series into supporting a coherent conclusion. Tip: if you have a carotid body tumor, get it out early and just say no! to preoperative embolization!

And then I had the nicest weekend. I went out on Friday for an after work beer with Chris and Dan. It was a quick one, but delicious! Then on Saturday, I kind of lazed around then went to a Swedish vampire movie and Thai with my roomie and friends. The movie was very Scandinavian- lots of moody ambiance. Until vampire girl attacks!

Then on Sunday, I went to Cabrillo National Monument and went for an awesome, slightly hilly 5 mile run on the most beautiful day. 80 and completely clear. But never fear. I just got a box of clothes today filled with cold weather attire for my Thanksgiving holiday.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Beware being too chatty with patients...

Scene: 7 o'clock p.m. while sticking a scope in a guy's nose.
Guy: So S.O. thinks you look kind of young for a doctor.
Me: Well, I'm about as young as you can get without being a Doogie.
Guy's S.O.: Late 20's?
Me: Yup
Guy's S.O.: I have two family members who are doctors but they're in their 50's. One's a *mumble*ologist and his wife is a general practitioner.
Me: Oh, a urologist! That's a fun specialty. Yes, I always thought that would be a cool specialty but I felt that when I told my family, they'd always seem to think, "Why does a nice girl like you want to deal with penises for the rest of your life.

**Me, suddenly sensing that maybe, once again, my hearing got the best of me**

Me: Wait, you did say urologist, right?
S.O.: Actually, neurologist.
Me: Oh. That's nice too!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

So, do want one of these one day?

Have you ever met a person who, while superficially socially capable, gives off a slight air of a.) awkward b.) odd c.)off or d.) all of the above? This weekend I was up in Del Mar (BEAUTIFUL, I wish I could live there sans 22 miles from work) for the toddler birthday party. Like I mentioned in the previous post, I had a nice time and the kids! They are so cute!

But during a space out moment, I heard "So, do you want one of these one day?" Thinking someone was talking to a kiddo, I remained my preoccupied self. Again, "So, do you want one of these one day?" Still zoned. Finally, this guy whom I had just met a few minutes prior is holding his gorgeous little girl and repeated the question. Oh! He's talking to me! And, I'm sorry, who are you to be asking? And are you offering your daughter or (god forbid) you to help with my Sad Single Sallyhood? Well, thank you very much good sir, but I'll have you know that I am currently the owner of zero cats so my situation isn't that dire yet.

Of course, I'm sure he was just trying to strike up conversation and perhaps offer advice along the lines of "Well, you won't find your dream guy there," when I told him I lived in Hillcrest. Hmmm, answer to the quiz above? D. Definitely D.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Whew!

Ok, time to get serious. It's grand rounds time bay-bee and I need to create the best! presentation! ever! Ok, maybe not but I am working hard this weekend to avoid embarrassing myself and the family name at grand rounds this Friday. But I think it'll be ok b/c I'm really excited about my topic and while doing my lit search, I came across some surprising findings that I think will make the talk a little more interesting than a simple topic review.

But...I need to focus! I'm doing ok, but it's been a little while since I've given a talk and there are so many other exciting things to do. Like laundry. Making coffee. Going to a 3 year old's birthday party, which I just came back from. The residency here has so many people with little kids that most of the get-togethers involve grown-ups arranging their social time to coincide with their kids. Which is cool. Little kids are super cute and the whole crying thing? I don't really have to deal with it!

But now, it's Saturday afternoon, power-point presentation time. I can't wait until the talk is over because then, I'm only a week away from an East Coast family reunion! I'm so excited! I love when the six of us are together. And Mom and Dad have something up their sleeves for Friday so I'm sure it'll be a treat. Thanksgiving is going to be at Grandpa's place, sans Grandpa. Just the house. It'll be like old times since B and I will get to share a room. I just hope I'm not too much of an old lady. "It's 10, I'm sleeeee-py!" That would be a total sleepover Debbie Downer move.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Wildest Night!

I kid. I remember in college that Thursdays were the start of the weekend. This October, my Thursdays have been marked by desperate reading of multiple articles before talks and quizzes on resident academic day. I love academic day. The fact that Friday is marked by a fairly serious commitment to education is pretty sweet. Except when I have loads of articles to read and it's already late. Fortunately, I only have 6 more to read tonight.

Work is going pretty well. I'm paying the price for my two nights of call in early October and my week of leave by being on call almost every day these past two weeks. I've been VERY lucky with the pager although last night I got paged by an ER staff doctor in a snit. I was told that I HAD to come in because MY patient was now in the ER 6 hours after surgery saying that he couldn't breathe. Since this did not quite jive with the surgery he had, I asked what his exam showed. Mmmm, well, I was once again informed that this was MY patient and I had to go in.

Now, this was not exactly my patient. But the ER staff was irritated that this guy came in as a seeming "patient dump" by ENT and she was not going to have it. Sigh. Nevermind that she was there and would get to go home at 7, while I was working the entire next day, But since I was the ENT duty doc and this was a rather insignificant issue to take an awesome!stand! against the ER, I went in. But earlier that evening when I got home, I realized I had left my keys at work. Kelly let me in (thank you!), but now that it was two in the morning, I was 2 miles away and functionally carless. So. I packed my lunch and ran to work at 1:45 in the morning. Blech.

Once I was there, the patient stated that he couldn't breathe when he lay down. So, I had him lay down. He looked up at me and shook his head. I said, "Open your mouth." He did. Shockingly, it worked. [I've spent the last few minutes trying to type something exceptionally scathing about this patient, but I can't. Nothing conveys quite the scathiness I feel, in addition to the complete disbelief in the capacity for some people to be complete and total idiots.] Not that I'm judgin- oh wait, yes I am.

So, I went to bed in the call room and woke up, freezing. But after a day of clinic and a gross amount of notes still left to write, I'm now reveling in a call-free night. I made chili for the Halloween potluck. It tastes pretty good. Never fear, I used a separate, one-time-use spoon to taste not only because I try to cook in a sanitary way, but I also have a huge fear of being that person who brings the dish that makes everyone sick. Now, I'm going to finish my articles and go to bed. And that ends my wildest night ever.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Vacation, part 2

Martha’s Vineyard was awesome! After the Boston daytrip, it was off to the Rhode Island quick ferry preceded by a little bit of totally classy tailgating in the parking lot. The ferry was EMPTY, which was totally different than the last time I was on it, heading to Hil’s wedding.

The Dockside Inn is a nice place in Oak Bluffs that is near everything and fairly inexpensive. We rented bikes and rode everywhere- Edgartown, South Beach, West Tisbury, Vineyard Haven. It was ~50 miles in 2 days on these little beach cruisers. I had so much fun and the weather was unreal. Crystal blue skies, perfect temps- it was awesome.

Also awesome? The fact that I had two lobsters and three lobster rolls in three days. There is a GREAT place in Vineyard Haven called the Net Result where there is amazing seafood at really reasonable prices. It’s not really a restaurant, but there are picnic tables outside so once the order is in, a person just lounges around while pure deliciousness is being prepared.

And if you ever want to go shopping for your island abode, there are insane sales over Columbus Day weekend as all the seasonal shops close down. I didn’t go shopping, but the signs were everywhere. My best purchase, apart from the lobster, was an apple fritter from Back Door Donuts at 11:30 at night. I followed my nose to the back door of a bakery where they sell donuts while baking for the next day. It was still warm and so good!

Then the part I don’t like to talk about, the end of the vacation- boo! We left Martha’s Vineyard, headed back to Newport, then I was off the next day back to SD. Things are going great here. Definitely very busy- I’m on call 10 days out of 14 and I’m working on my grand rounds. But once this crunch is over, it’s on my home for Thanksgiving. And everyone will be there! It’s Christmas in November, hooray!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

P.S.

First, a clarification. I was not physically hung over driving into work on Wednesday. No, no. On planes, it's strictly water for me. I had a mini-bottle of wine on a flight once and felt so desiccated, I never have really had the inclination since. I'm sure first class seating would rid me of that hang-up but since that has happened only once so far, I don't think I'm due for another upgrade until mmmm...forever.

Besides, I always feel a little sorry for the first class passengers in sections where the whole coach cabin tromps by them on the way to the back during boarding. Lots of staring, which is different than casual people watching. This is a distinction a lot of people do.not.get. People-watching. Yay! I love people-watching. But this encompasses casual glances and mental registering of things of note. It is NOT frank, gaping staring as if the people one is watching have no eyes or general sense of their surroundings to include, for example, some rude person boring into them with his/her eye laser beams of tackiness.

Whew! Hello, soapbox. How are you today?

Lots of work today which is a guarantee that a post about the rest of my vacation is sure to appear since posts= procrastination! And maybe I will tell you about Boozy Boozerton who sat next to me on the flight. She was a little bit of a wastrel, for sure.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Oof!

Picture getting slugged in the gut with a pillow that's just a little too firm. This slightly unpleasant sensation was mine when I drove into work this morning. Ugh, post-vacation hangover. But today was fine and I'm happy where I am even though a huge amount of work looms in the next few weeks. Most petrifying is Grand Rounds in about 4 weeks. I'm going to work on that (for SURE!) this weekend.

But back to my awesome, amazing vacation. I arrived in Providence last Wednesday and headed straight for Newport. The Fall foliage was slightly pre-peak, but beautiful. Newport was a trip. It's hard to believe that this whole Navy thing started just six years ago. Same with the doctor thing, I suppose. But all those heinous hours of pre-med study means that, in my mind, that path started a little earlier. I ran around the base and saw the building where I stayed in June/July 2002 for OIS. Even better, I went to the Red Parrot and had a most DELICIOUS frozen drink. Essentially, it's an Oreo milkshake but it was so good even if the weather may have been slightly unseasonable for a blender beverage.

Speaking of the weather (boring!), it was beautiful. I think there may have been one, max two, clouds in the sky the entire vacation. It was perfect outdoor weather and I think I'm going to try and have an outdoor theme to most of my future vacations since I spend so much time indoors.

After a night in Newport, it was off to Boston. I love you William Shatner! Priceline linked me up with an awesome deal to the Marriott Long Wharf, a completely beautiful hotel. Even though the main point of the Boston visit was to go on a 3 hour North End culinary/history tour, I also got to see two college friends and their beaus. Total bonus! And the tour was amazing. I learned so many new things to include cinnabark vs true cinnamon, boy vs. girl eggplants, the origin of carats as a measurement, what constitutes real balsamic vinegar and tons of other neat facts. Afterwards, lunch at a "true" Italian place (vs an Italian-American cuisine style) capped off an awesome morning/early afternoon.

Then...off to Martha's Vineyard! Which I'll save for tomorrow since I have to read a LOT before bed. All ENT stuff. I did read one book for fun on vacation though. The Maytrees by Annie Dillard. Her prose and lyricism are wonderful.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Back from Vacation!

I just came back from the most amazing vacation! I had such a great time in Newport/Boston/Martha's Vineyard that I almost can't be sad that it's over because it was just so cool. Note the almost since in reality, I would be back in two shakes of a lamb's tail.

I'm a little jet-lagged and slightly fearing the time I need to get up tomorrow in order to go into work and prepare for the day. At least it will feel later in the a.m. since I'm firmly entrenched in New England time. Here are some pics to tide you over. The green-shirted ones are from the day out in Boston on the coolest North End culinary tour. The other pics are from the day we rode to Edgartown (beach photo) then made our first of three (3!) trips to The Net Result in Vineyard Haven for the most awesomely priced seafood ever.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Dare I Say It?

My love affair with my iPhone is cooling slightly. And do you know why? The ACCURSED ATT! I am not very impressed (at all!) with their signal strength and ability to penetrate building walls. Now I know when I sit in a lead bunker, it is reasonable to assume that it wouldn't work. But really, when I'm sitting in a thin-walled hotel room next to a window, I don't think I'm being overly demanding and petulant when I want my call to my B-ton friend to remain unbroken. Harumph!

And the "GPS" is not the best at realizing that people move as time passes. Which is problematic since that's its job. But the GPS feels awfully fond of Providence and kept telling me I was on that side of the bridge, rather than lovely Newport.

Oh, little iPhone, wait, come back! I still love you. It's just we're having growing pains. Come heee-re. We have at least 23 more months together. We can make it work!

Vacation!

I love “Vacation” by the Go-Go’s. It’s such a peppy, upbeat song. I love starting my mornings with it. But do you know what I love more…REAL VACATIONS!!!

In August, I was shocked when I heard that I got a week off every 3 months due to the way residency leave is structured. Even though I was quite the queen of leave while I was in Japan, I was expecting nose to the grindstone, internship-like leave (read: not much). Instead, I was told that awesome piece of news and moreover, when did I want to take off between Aug-Oct? Yay! I didn’t think I would get a week since I showed up later than previously planned but nope, not so.

So, I’m heading to the East Coast to visit Newport, RI; Boston, MA; and Martha’s Vineyard. I can’t wait, especially for the Martha’s Vineyard part. I have so many fond memories from that place, that I can’t believe that really, I’ve only been twice. I was there for an amazing pre-Senior week and then the best wedding I have ever been to. Not that I’ve been to many but there were so many fun people (yay college friends!), great music, and delicious food and drink.

Sorry this isn’t the most scintillating entry ever. I’m sitting in the Dulles “A” terminal waiting for my plane and it’s 3:40 SD time so my brain is a little fuzzy. Although not so fuzzy that I didn’t realize that the guy in the aisle seat was a stinker! I felt pretty badly for the girl in the middle. Gross!

Monday, October 6, 2008

I'm a lady!

In response to "Manland" at work, I've started the "I'm a Lady" campaign. It's about as successful as these two.



Dawning realization...

So, there I was, blathering on during a conversation when I had the most peculiar, slightly horrible feeling of "Oh my gosh, what I am talking about is completely not what I thought I was talking about."

Has this ever happened to you? It was the most bizarre mental progression ever. I don't think it has ever happened to me because it was so unsettling, I'm sure I'd remember.

Wait, what? More details you say? Alright, but for such a weird feeling, it was a rather mundane conversation. Because I was talking to a friend at a dinner party that Kelly and I were hosting and we were talking about the variations on carnitas. I have always made more of a Cuban style dish, while my friend has had the Mexican version in a green sauce. (The green sauce is another mystery. He says it's not tomatillos, so I am perplexed). So, I was talking about how I made the pork with tamarind when I started getting this foreboding sense of impending doom because I realized, "I did not use tamarind, I used tahini." COMPLETELY different. Tart fruit pulp derivative, meet sesame paste. Sesame paste, meet tart fruit pulp. Crazy!!!

I think I was flustered because I realized this significant change about 5 minutes before dinner for 8 was about to be served. Now is this on the level of, oh, say, who to vote for? Almost. Just kidding! Of course not. But it was pretty strange.

Fortunately, all unsettledness ended at the end of the meal when we had Breyer's vanilla ice cream with Goya Dolche de Leche. Hooray for comforting desserts!

But, yes, Kelly and I had a dinner party, which was awesome. No movie night unfortunately since one of the guests had a kid and HELLO CHILDLESS PEOPLE, it's a school night (duh). But everyone had a really nice time and I'm so happy I am meeting awesome people in San Diego. I'm even going knitting in two weeks. Fun!

Today was my command orientation. Yes, two months later, it's time for me to figure out what's going on. But actually, it's a lesson in customer service and patient relations. Now, yay for empathy, patient care, and doing the right thing. I feel I do that reasonably well and fairly often. But what I cannot stand is a Steven Covey "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" lovefest, with lots of buzzwords and Powerpoint mindlessness. But, it was mercifully short, I got to help in clinic, and I got *thismuchcloser* to my Rhode Island/Martha's Vineyard vacation! Yay! I leave Wednesday, hooray!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

New haircut!

Warning: Other titles could include, "How I spent my most exciting Saturday" or "New reasons why I may be confused with a wild and crazy old lady."

But yes! I did get a new haircut. I drove up to Poway and got a great haircut from M, a fellow resident's wife. She is awesome! I love the haircut plus I got a 20% discount for being a first customer PLUS I had a mimosa while my hair was blow-dried. Most excellent. I am definitely heading back. You know, in a few months.

I also went for a run as a break from some work since, yes, I also spent a little time at the hospital. I wasn't entirely on my game today. I've been running with my chiefie (resident, not CPO type) and today I was definitely a little more sluggish than I'd like to be. But it's ok- good runs and bad runs, you know? And it wasn't terrible, just not great.

Oh, and guess what? I went to bed at 6:30 last night. I had spent the prior night reading and only had 3 hours of sleep so I gave up trying to stay awake until a normal bedtime so I decided to take a nap. I didn't hear my phone and I woke up at 4 a.m. I was out! And it felt great. Although I still have a little bit of a sleep deprivation hangover (see: poor run, above).

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Lunch Lady Land!

Lychee, plain yogurt! Lychee, plain yogurt. Navy bean, navy bean!

Hmmm, rip-offs of Adam Sandler "Lunch Lady" songs do not work so well when typed out but in my head? It sounds awesome.

So, over the last 20 minutes, I have INHALED a delicious amount of plain/lychee swirl from the local fro-yo shop. It is amazingly delicious. And I even had some gummy bears and mochi. Delicious! Even though I am slightly mad at a vegetarian friend who indirectly reminded me that it all comes from horses. GROSS!

I looked like my usual cosmopolitan, sophisticated self when I asked the lady, "Is it lee-chee or lee-key?" She said, "It's lie-chee." Awesome. Yet another word I have completely butchered the pronunciation. It's like a curse, really. My pronunciation is HORRIBLE. I know a lot of words from reading and when I pronounce them, guaranteed, I pronounce it incorrectly. It's a little embarrassing. What good is it to know a lot of fancy-pants big doctor words if I sound like a complete ignoramus when I use them. It makes me sound like a person who would, say for example, make the screen turn to black consistently when trying to view CT scans during pre-op conferences. What, wait, that's me too? *Sigh* I can't get away with anything! You're the sharpest pencil, yes you are!

But, regardless of the pronunciation, the yogurt was delicious. Now, I'm going to read a few articles before heading to bed. I'm on call again and hopefully I won't have any calls but that's doubtful. Either way, it's ok because I had an awesome nap for about an hour this evening. I felt quite tired today because even though I can swing it with reduced sleep, multiple days in a row is quite wearing. I'll catch up tomorrow for sure.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Street fair!

I love street fairs! The music, the vendors, the people and most of all, the perfect excuse for a funnel cake! This weekend is the Normal Heights Adams Avenue Music Festival. I went yesterday and heard some great bands. I highly recommend Sara Pettite, whom you can find on iTunes. The only problem is that she sounds WAY better live. Still, I bought "Coming Home" and "Little House" and both are excellent. I also had some delicious teriyaki meat bowl and yes, a funnel cake STRAIGHT out of the fryer.

Friday, I had drinks at the Hotel Del. It's such a sweet place and had some great music but the scene was a little skeevy. There was a business party that let out and people were in the bar looking for only one thing. Well, one thing and drinks but the drinks seemed easier to procure since most people were bombed out of their minds. I was at a small table with a group so we were insulated from it with the exception of the people who have voice immodulation disorder. But it was fine- I definitely wasn't expecting a bar to be as quiet as a library. I had a great time and it was a beautiful night.

Today is catch up on work day, which always guarantees a procrastinating blog entry or two. I'm also going to check out St. Brigid's church in PB. I met a few people who go there at Ken's wedding and it seems to have a really active, fun young adult scene. I've always thought it would be pretty cool to be part of an active Church community. I see some patients from time to time who really seem to draw strength and great friendships from their spiritual life. Also, my life can be so insular and work-focused, it's nice to have my attention turned to something ever-so-slightly larger than myself. So that's at 5:30 so I can get two chapter's of Bailey's (ENT textbook) done, right? I think so as long as I say, "Silence bed! No nap for you!"

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Sadness!

I love the Farmer's Market. L-O-V-E! I would take lots of pictures and post them, but I can't get over my hesitation at being the creepy solo photographer with a point-and-click going around the market and invading people's private lives. I certainly don't like being the random background stranger, so why would anyone else? Of course, sometimes it can't be helped and sometimes I blatantly disregard that courtesy for the sake of pure visual awesomeness. Example: the photo ostensibly of me but really taken for the purpose of documenting the sight of the Japanese policeman in a lovely lilac head-to-toe rain suit although in the picture it comes out as powder blue, which for some reason is a slightly less funny color.

ANYWAY, the point of this post was to lament the loss of $10 of wild (but safe!) mushrooms that I was going to make into a delicious mushroom soup as soon as I could find the appropriate recipe. During that time interval, the mushrooms decided to embrace their fungi-hood, add a few species of mold on top of that and turn into an unappetizing, softened mess of yuck. Boo! I still have to get used to the fact that it's just me that I'm buying and cooking food for and it's a fine line between wanting to stock up on food so I don't have to go to the store frequently and buying too much and watching it go to waste. It was so much fun in Japan because the markets were so cool to walk through and were located in the train station by my house. And even if I got off at the closest stop without any markets, I could stop into a mini-mart and pick up a pre-made dish that was delicious and inexpensive, which is definitely a benefit of a noodle-heavy cuisine. I also am still under the illusion that I have lots of time to cook, even though I keep getting home between 7-9 at night most days of the week. But my weekends, with the exception of call, are blissfully free. For example, free to find moldy gross mushrooms on the counter. Oh well, better than the fruit-fly infested peaches I found on Tuesday!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Best week ever!

Is it overly jinx-y to have a title like that, especially since I'm on call today? Maybe, but this week at work has been totally awesome. After a few weeks of working in the O.R. with a few things thrown my way, I've done a septoplasty, a few FESSs, and a superficial parotidectomy (inferior branch). So! Awesome! I love the O.R. and it's amazing how quickly time goes when I'm actually operating as opposed to retracting or watching. I mean, those roles are important too, but it's nice to be transitioning to a more consistently active role.

Oh, and plug of the day! Heirloom tomatoes are amazing! I had a Caprice salad this morning for breakfast and the dish is amazing with a nice, ripe, tomato-y tasting tomato. I used smoked mozzarella, which was ok. I've never been the biggest fan of the smoke. But the dish was still amazing with slices of tomato and cheese topped by salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Little Plates!

I love picnics. And I love pulling together little mini-plates of snacks/treats for a meal. Living on my own, I pretty much get to eat however I want which involves a fair amount of grazing on O.R. days (must stay primed) and 3 meals and a mid-morning snack most other days. I feel like people catch me eating way out of proportion to other activities (although I'm glad they don't see me doing other things, like say, using the restroom). So, multiple people think that I eat all the time. Trust me, I could eat WAY more than I do. But then my life would revolve around sweets, being uncomfortably full, and weighing at least 10 pounds more than I do.

So, this morning, I had my Kashi cereal and then a few hours later, had the most delicious snack plate of olives, cheese, sundried tomatoes and crackers. I found this awesome stand last Sunday at the Farmer's Market where I got 0.5 lb of mixed olives, a container of sundried tomatoes, and a fair sized wedge of smoked mozzarella for $15. Score! I still have some left- it's amazing how many olives fit into half a pound. Some of my other favorite mini-meals are...

* Mini-toasts, fig spread, and manchego cheese. This is a Whole Foods delight that I haven't had in awhile. But Manchego cheese is my cheese boyfriend. That's how much I love it.

* Trader Joe's crackers (amazing. blanking on the brand but I will take a photo), light cream cheese, and sliced raw salmon. The tasting lady had this one day and my tastebuds were tickled!

Also, I was re-reading some older posts and I realized I mentioned swimming in La Jolla cove as an activity on my San Diego to-do list. Well, no more! I did it last weekend. And I was petrified. The arms of kelp coming out of the gloomy water were so!scary! I could see about 10 feet and then EEEEEPPPPPP! Another arm of kelp. I chilled out a little bit but I realized how much I hate open bodies of water I can't see things in. And if a seal had come near me, I probably would have passed out from fear. Or become petrified like a tree in the petrified forest causing me to sink like a stone. Although I was thinking of seals in terms of the potential off-chance that maybe there was a killer seal who developed a taste for human blood.

But I swam half a mile. I think it's an OTO (one-time-only) thing. Later in the week, I swam in the pool. It was much more relaxing. It's so funny- I love the outdoors, but I can be the biggest scaredy cat. I try and face my fears but sometimes, I need to know when I'm semi-beat. Although I did tell my roomie I'd go swimming with her at some point. I think I can handle that. I'd be a lot less scared if I know I have a 50% reduced chance of being the one eaten by the blood-thirsty seal.

[Clarification: I do not want my roomie to get eaten by a blood-thirsty seal in place of me or due to random chance. It's just two against one is a way better situation in the treacherous waters of La Jolla cove.]

[Clarification, part 2: La Jolla cove is a family-friendly place where many people swim. And kayak. And boat. And snorkel. I do not believe anyone has ever been eaten by a seal. But still.]

Mah-wage!

Last night, I went to a wedding reception. Read: not a wedding. That happened earlier in the afternoon and I couldn't leave work but that evening, there was a terrific party for the good Dr. Ken and his lovely wife Linnea. Ken is a friend of mine from the Kitty Hawk and it was so much fun to go to a party with people I know in San Diego. Well, actually I only knew one person when I got there but I met a lot of their awesome friends throughout the night.

I was on call so I kept an eye on my pager but no calls. Yay! And even though I didn't initially feel like dancing, I summoned up the energy and had a great time. Sometimes it's hard on a Friday night to shake off the work week, you know?

And I have a new favorite song! "Wonderful Day" by O.A.R. Now, I've never been much of an O.A.R. fan b/c I lumped them into the "frat rock" genre of music but I think I have to reconsider. At the very least, this song is one of the happiest & jauntiest I've heard in awhile.

And then if you want another fun song, "Low" by Flo rida is so awesome to dance to. Listen to it and don't dance, I dare you! At the very least, it's going to make an awesome addition to a workout mix. Got to fit into those Applebottom Jeans, you know?

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Movie: Vicky Cristina Barcelona

The new Woody Allen movie is...alright. I thought it was a good movie, but not so overwhelming that I need to encourage anyone and everyone to get out there right!now! and see it.

The story starts with two ingenues, touristas Americanas, as Penelope Cruz states scathingly later in the movie. The theme is love and and its impact on life, mostly in how it can completely destabilize even the best laid plans (Vicky) and how it can lead to continual transience and search for the true thing (Cristina). The two women are a little too archetypal for my tastes, but it is a nice, if not the most original, conceit.

The highlight of the movie is Penelope Cruz and to a lesser extent, Javier Bardem. Penelope Cruz plays an unstable artist with self-proclaimed genius that is most likely a true claim. Her outbursts and rage have a constant undercurrent of frustration- something is missing, something can't be expressed. This yearning for completion underscores many of Cruz's scenes and the emotional state underlying her outbursts is complex and nuanced.

Javier Bardem plays a man in love with three women and never one at a time. His suffering comes from his inability to be with the one he is supposed to be with simply because in the end, they can't be together. Very tortured.

The lighting in the movie is beautiful, as is the setting. But then, I'm rather partial to most things Spanish.

In the end, it seems the message is that in order to find happiness, you need to know the unknowable. While my view on love isn't quite so doomed from the start, it's a good movie that is a pleasant watch.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Compartmentalization!

For how complex life is, it's funny how certain things can fit into relatively tidy boxes. I feel that I am pretty good at compartmentalizing, mostly b/c my life seems to consist of little Acts (like a play). Most of it centers on places I lived as a child, then I move on to my varying stages of schooling- high school, college, med school. Then Kitty Hawk time and now I'm in my newest phase, Residency.

Why do I bring this up? Because I spent a good part of the day cutting on dead people. Isn't that weird? I mean, it's totally essential for surgical training (do NOT believe the hype about 100% simulation, it's doggie doo). But really, dead people. I most certainly do not see dead people in the rest of my day-to-day existence and I must confess, I would be more than a little FREAKED!OUT! if I did. But in the lab. No biggie. For the most part. Occasionally there's a whiff I just can't shake. But I'm doing well now. Why? B/c I'm home, relaxing, thinking about how awesome life is, and looking forward to tomorrow when I get to repair fractures that staff inflicted. Well, maybe not the waking up at 6:30 on a Saturday bit, but the plating? Awesome.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Bluey!

So my roommate and Bluey were introduced yesterday. Bluey is my car- my bright tomato red Hyundai Accent. She's named Bluey after a 1960's Cadillac I saw in the parking lot of Army-Navy Country Club with a "BLUEY" vanity plate. I loved the name, so I promptly stole it.

It fits b/c Bluey is a little retro, as my roomie found out (she drives a car that is just a scoosh above Bluey in the niceness factor). Not only are the manual locks and windows totally styling, but Bluey also has a tape deck. Yes. It's true. And the car is a 2005! And guess what I just bought on Amazon? A cassette converter so I can plug my Diskman in and play cds. Just kidding, it's for my iPod. But still, hip to electronics I am not. Just two days ago, I temporarily broke my beeper since I hooked it to my shirt and ran to work. Well, apparently sweat and beepers don't mix. Who knew? Definitely not me. But it's better now after I used the blow dryer for a bit. All that's left now is to drop it in a toilet then wash it off in a sink. Oh, and maybe work out more often so that a 2 mile run is not at the exertion level of "Sweat until you break a beeper."

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Fishbone!

Last night was my first night of weekend call. So I got drunk. JUST KIDDING!!! I went home and surfed frivolous sites on the internet, mostly focusing on celebrity gossip. I figured I had "earned" a brain drain night so why not read about Dancing With the Stars "stars" whom I don't even know? Heaven forbid I call my DAD whose birthday I missed a few days ago. I was reminding myself all day and guess what happened? Full birdbrain mode. But the West Coast thing is a little hard in terms of calling back East but I am expecting a huge phone call with lots of family members on the other end later today. Because they are at the Saratoga race track. Lucky!

I got a few calls last night. My main adventure was getting a fishbone out of a woman's throat. Or rather, missing the grab so many times that she ended up swallowing it just to stop the midnight madness. Well, not on purpose but I was kind of hoping to fish it out like a big hometown hero rather than helping her swallow it. Watch out for that red snapper- it'll getcha!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Back to Work!

The Kitty Hawk is gone and I am very sad. My vicarious mini-vacation is over and now I have to buckle down and be a real!life!resident! I have had so much fun over the last few weeks. I've hit all my favorite restaurants, gone out and seen a bunch of sights, and really had a nice transition into SD life.

And you know what? There's still so much to do. I want to go to the beach more, go boogie-boarding, swim La Jolla cove, go to the zoo and Sea World, explore more California coastal towns, find exciting new places and realize that I've picked a very cool place to be over the next five years. Five years! Yikes! What have I done? (<-- please note crazy vacillating emotional state. Very par for course over the last few days)

Kelly (roomie) invited me to go to the zoo tonight and I was all set to go except 1) I realized I be a total Debbie Downer since I'm so bummed out and 2) even if I could, I have too much work. This blog post is a break!

Oh, and at some point, I'm going to learn how to surf. So that when I go back to Chiba (someday?), I will totally dominate. As opposed to causing my freckles on my stomach to get total surf board rash from only paddling all day long.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

My nostrils are crooked!

Have you ever thought that people notice the weirdest things? I was thinking about facial symmetry the other day. Although you would think one side of the face should be a mirror image of the other, it's often not. Sometimes it's due to acquired life experiences- a scar here or there, for example. But a lot of the times, it's just the way a person's face is. I've seen pictures before where true mirror images of a person's side of the face is copied to the other and it is really interesting. Some people look way different, usually in terms of how their countenance appears.

This thought comes up every so often because I frequently think of a plastic surgery patient who came to follow-up and was very upset that her nostils were asymmetrical. Qu-est que c'est? Who thinks about that? Well, my sister for one. Ask her about what she thinks about Rosario Dawson's nostrils. Something vaguely bothered my sister while she was watching a movie featuring R.D. and at the end, thanks to an illuminating camera angle, my sis realized that it was RD's freakishly large nostrils.

Discuss amongst yourselves. Next up in vague Mike Myer's line references: "Head" in So I Married an Axe Murderer.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

My Summer Vacation

With a subject like that, I feel I should be writing this in a bound composition book. Which, BTW, did you know the covers for the black and white marble composition books have totally changed? They still have the same pattern but the firm cardboard is gone! It is now a very flimsy thin cardboard cover. Way disappointing.

So, this summer has ended up being totally awesome. Apart from my entries bemoaning my complete lack of Kanji knowledge, it looks like I left off somewhere in Guam. Oh and the language fix. EMBARRASSINGLY simple. Less whining, more doing is the takeaway point o’ the day.

Guam was awesome. I stayed in a hotel right on Tamuning Bay, away from the main strip in Tumon Bay. I went there several times for dinners, movies, and hanging out but there were so many KH people around that it was nice to be removed from the action for the majority of the time.

There was an awesome restaurant near the Marriott that I totally cannot remember the name of but it was a combo coffee shop with fresh out of the oven baked goods and a great restaurant. I had an ahi tuna/mashed avocado tower that was incredibly good. The presentation was beautiful- perfectly layered circles of the dish components.

My favorite place in Guam is definitely Ritidian Point. It’s a nature preserve with beautiful beaches that feel like they are private. Each beach site has its own parking spot and it’s really nice to go on a weekday. I could look in either direction and for a good part of the time I was there, I was unable to see anyone else. It was so beautiful and peaceful.

After the Guam trip, the KH sailed around for almost three weeks until we got to Hawaii. Hawaii was amazing. I stayed in a condo near Kailua (East/windward side) 1-3 July, worked on the 4th and during the day on the 5th, then stayed in Waikiki 5-7 July. The absolute culinary highlight was brunch at the Halekulani. I have been to some amazing brunches in my life (Army-Navy, Shangri-La in Malaysia) but this was so far beyond those places it’s hard to describe. My favorite dish was the Eggs Benedict with the egg on crab hash as opposed to Canadian bacon. It was delicious. Other highlights were the Kailua pork right off of a whole roasted pig, cr√®me fraiche with the ripest berries, fresh sashimi, cheese blintz, and awesome pecan rolls. I got to wash it down with a spicy Bloody Mary that was totally delicious since the waiter seemed to take it as a personal challenge to deliver a truly spicy one. The horseradish was minced to a wasabi-level of fineness and definitely delivered a punch. Although I still prefer the diced horseradish since it adds a little more texture to the drink.

I also went to the beach. I went sea kayaking once. I have still yet to climb Diamond Head and I didn’t go back to Waimea Bay and jump off the rock so I guess I’ll have to go back again at some point.

Although I did go back later in the month. Yes, after 3 weeks of RIMPAC (oh the jokes made with that name, oh ho ho!), the KH went back to Hawaii for three days. Although I had a few work related errands to do, I still managed to get to the beach, eat, drink and sleep. It was very relaxing.

Then came the time I had been waiting for all summer- getting my iPhone! No, just kidding. It was time to get ready to leave! I cleaned out my desk and stateroom, packed things in bags, completed my check-out list, and was ready to go when we pulled into San Diego on the 7th. I picked up my car that day, filled it to the brim, and moved all of my stuff into my new digs in Hillcrest which is an AWESOME place to live. My run to work is just under 2 miles. There’s a great wine bar right around the corner with a great cheese/meat/bread/olive platter that I found on my first night (priorities!). I ordered the large platter because I was hungry and my only other wine bar “platter” experience was at Bitsy’s in Ometasando where the $12 plate had maybe an ounce and a half of cheese on it. And a cracker. But oh my, I am back in the USA where restaurants are communist establishments if they do not take it upon themselves to expand your waistline for you each and every time you visit. The plate came with four forks and was enormous. But it was very good so next time I’ll go the half-size mini route. Gooooooooo, self-restraint!

The next day I did, in fact, get my iPhone. I had been planning on going to the hospital to check-in but I was told to not even bother, that a Monday start was just fine. Although I wrote back and essentially said, “No really, I already feel like a big dummy starting so late,” I was told not to worry. So, if I’m told twice to take a day off , well, that’s what I do! So I got my black 16G iPhone and I love it. It is still outfoxes me on a daily basis with its sheer amazingness but someday, I'll be able to stop making one-touch phone calls that I don't mean to make.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I *heart* San Diego!

Argh, I have totally be trapped in my "I have so much to update and I don't know how to start" paralysis. Exhibit A? I don't even have any summer pictures on my FLICKR account. I will work on it- promise! I have to finish up Guam, Hawaii I & II as well as various other topics o' the summer.

BUT, things that I already love about San Diego-

1. MY IPHONE! I finally got it. And it is the kewlest. I love it. I'm trying to think of a name, but it can't be forced, you know?

2. I live 2 miles from work. And I ran my future commuting route tonight. One or two slight inclines but nothing bad in either direction!

3. My new roomie is great. Phew! Normal in email translated to normal in life. And her dog is even cuter than the pics!

4. I made mussels for the first time ever. Tomato-garlic broth, only 4 unopened mussels, no food poisoning- awesome!

5. I love Cabrillo Monument National Park. I think it's tied with Torrey Pines for prettiest views in SD.

6. I am completely moved off the Kitty Hawk. It was slightly hellacious moving all my stuff off (heavy!) but it's done.

7. Checking into the hospital is working out well. But that's another entry.

Ok, I'll write real, essay-like entries v. soon. No more cop-out lists!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Kanji still haunts me!

Ok, so I really want to continue my blog (BTW, Hello! It's been awhile, no?) but my profile is still in Japanese when I try to edit posts, settings, etc. This is very problematic since I can't read Japanese! So I'm going to try and figure out how to change the language setting.

But for now...I'm in San Diego! I arrived yesterday, picked up my car Bluey, moved off the ship (heinous), moved into my new place. I will write more later but I'm just trying to figure out if I should pack it in and just start a new blog or call a help line. Does Blogger have a help line? I will let you know!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Kanji haunts me!

Argh! I'm in a U.S. territory and my blogger account still comes up in Japanese lettering. What to dooooo???!?!?!!?!?! I certainly don't know enough to change it. Boo!

So, guess where I am right now? If you said, "Mmmmm, not Hawaii?" I would say bad words followed by "You are correct!" The past two weeks have been a roller coaster of rumors and irritations as the Kitty Hawk has to continue forward since the GW is a burnt little husk of a boat right now. Here's a breakdown-

Kitty Hawk: Summer o' fun: CANCELLED, Summer of long exercises: Game on!

GW: Pierside in SD, collecting COLA and working duty section only

Who's the winner? I will let you take this vague sporty metaphor and draw your own conclusions.

HOWEVER. I am slightly winner-y in that it looks good that I will start my residency sometime in August. While this is less than ideal, it's definitely better than September and definitely better than being bumped for a year. That would have made me very sad.

And, to answer the question as to where I am, I'm in Guam! In the Santa Fe hotel. Who needs 8 days in Hawaii when you can have 3.5 in Guam? That's like a showcase showdown prize you would TOTALLY pass on. But at least you're still in the Showcase Showdown, right?

I went to a Hail and Bail yesterday, which was fun and today I'm just chilling out. Maybe I'll finally get my haircut after wanting to do so for the last 2 months. Whoa! Slow down speedracer of excitement! And Thursday I'm meeting up with a bunch of people to go see the Indiana Jones movie. I will let you know my personal opinion of how Harrison Ford has aged. Until then!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Sayonara!

And...I'm outta here! It's been an awesome, less-than-a-year in Japan but I'm so excited for what lies ahead. Although I'll probably scoff at those words in a few months once I'm fully immersed in the bleariness of residency sleep deprivation. Things are newly up in the air (of course) after a fire on the G-Dub, but there's no sense in worrying about things now. It'll take a week before any real news comes through about how the KH may be affected. So, I don't even have my fingers crossed right now because in the grand scheme of things, my lil' residency plans are pretty puny on the importance scale. I mean, except to me, but it's only on my blog that I'm the star of the show!

I wrapped up my time in Japan with a duty day, followed by a trip to Nikko and Tokyo. Yesterday was a crazy busy day, but I have now crossed off everything I wanted to do in Japan. After all, I even got to eat at Pepper Lunch, under the JR train tracks in Shibuya! It's a punch-button menu place where you hand in your ticket and get a plate of whatever raw beef you ordered that cooks in about 30 seconds flat in the hottest cast iron skillet known to man.

Thanks for reading. I'm planning on continuing my writing because it's a nice little outlet. If I become too boring during residency, please let me know. Then I'll start making stuff up!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Sayonara minus 2


Good-bye Yokohama! I finished cleaning the apartment yesterday. I paid the final bills between 1300-1500, then met with the agent and landlord rep at 3 o'clock. The timeliness of it all was amazing. I love the narrow time frames- forget the "morning" or "afternoon" options you get in the States! Not that I am a States hata' after this brief Japan interlude. There are just a lot of things I appreciate and/or will miss. But I'm on my way to residency, which in a way is where I've wanted to be all along.

After the apartment close-out frenzy, I went to Kamakura and bought some more beautiful things at the paper shop, continuing my trend of using the KH as my own personal moving van. Tomorrow I have off and I'm planning on going to Nikko. I would love to see it in the sunlight as opposed to the mist I saw it in with Mom. Although it was beautiful then, I think the gold leaf in the sunlight will be amazing. So, fingers crossed! Or I could just check the weather report.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Packout complete!

So, what do I do? I go to the Loft, the best store around, and pick up a few last minutes things that I've always wanted. Nice! Fill the house as soon as it's emptied. Other than the Godzilla sized dust bunnies. The movers left those behind, curses! But it's ok. I have lots of storage room on the ship *huge eyeroll*. At least I bought my coolest!bike!ever! prior to the packout. I love Japanese bicycles and now I own one. I am the kewlest!

I definitely cashed in my moving karma this a.m. so I better work on banking some up. The movers showed up at 0758 and the appliance guys arrived at 0858. So, by 11, I was done for the day (see: shopping note above). Best move ever! The two guys were pretty speedy and I tipped them so I think all my stuff should arrive. They won't steal my Sponge Bob pinata or lifesize Elvis cutout as payment. Not that I think they would, but really, you can't be too careful with such priceless items.

Among my purchases, I bought two "sake cups," which are little glasses of sealed sake. There are the funniest pandas on them with very peculiar, doesn't-seem-very-panda-more-anteater-but-then-again-I've-only-seen-pandas-from-afar-at-the-zoo snouts. Longest made up adjective string ever!

But have you ever bought something "cute" or carried something *super* necessary that became much less positively superlative the longer you carried it? Yeah, that was me and the panda cups. But I stuck it out. And now they're in my empty apartment, save me, a bunch of trash I need to sort (gack! Japanese recycling laws, dame!), and my new purchases.

Pictures tomorrow. Indeedy. I love the surfing pics. And I will share with you. Only because you asked so nicely!

Surfing Safari!

Last Saturday may have been one of my favorite days in Japan. I went on a surfing safari with an awesome group to roll with. Zuks and Mechen had been talking about surfing Chiba forever and in the course of various conversations, the group shaped up to include me, Ben and Bernard.

Zuks had borrowed Andrea’s ridiculously large Jeep Wrangler. We took the auto ferry to Chiba. The day was completely gorgeous, especially since 4 out of 5 of us had spent the previous day on the ship in duty status. We sat out on the top deck with the exception of a chu-hi break. Hey, start the morning off right!

We drove around Chiba for a few hours with a few snackie breaks. The main point was to get around the point of the peninsula to see the waves on the ocean side. We scoped out a few spots before deciding to stop at a really nice reef spot. It was a difficult spot to surf even for the experienced guys because the waves were breaking left and the current was pushing us right. I had an awesome time. BTW, I’ve never surfed prior to this. My paddling is pretty set, but I have to work on the whole pop thing. But I had fun trying and using the surfboard as a boogie board worked!

We were all kind of wiped when we started driving back, but all of a sudden we saw an AWESOME beach spot where we had actually looked at earlier in the day. We walked down to the beach and I decided that we were definitely going in. Mechen was with me and we convinced the other three, mainly with the “When are we ever going to be here again?” argument. Pulling on damp wetsuits in the fading light of day was slightly unpleasant but the surfing was so awesome that everyone was really happy we stopped.

We left around 1930 and headed back to the ferry with a growing sense of foreboding that maybe we really should have checked the ferry schedule for the last ferry of the day. After getting a little lost, we arrived at the terminal exactly 27 minutes after the last ferry had set sail. So, we went to dinner and ate just about everything in sight. Then we took the tunnel/bridge across the water to Yokohama. By the end of the night, I was definitely done with being in the car after multiple “scenic routes”. But there’s no way it could have been done without wheels and it was an amazing trip. I was just a little cranky after being in the middle seat all day-stupid short legs not needing legroom!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sortie, sortie!

I'm writing this entry as a slight break from cleaning/organizing my place in preparation for the Tuesday pack-out. BUT! We are in Class C sortie status b/c a typhoon is apparently lurking to the South. I am crossing my fingers (and my toes!) that we actually don't leave because that would cause ever so slight a hiccup in my "leaving Japan" plans. As well as hundreds of other people on the KH but hey! This is my blogie blog!

So, the rest of Hong Kong was awesome. On Thursday, I played major tourist with my one friend who wasn't on duty from that main group I was rolling with early in the week. We went on the Star Ferry (the rickety one!), Man Mo temple, the Peninsula for Brit style tea (delicious!), Ladies' Market, and dinner and nighttime city views atop Victoria Peak. It was awesome. I got to see a lot all in one day and even though I was ready to head out, my palie walie headed back to the ship b/c he was tired from his duty day. What a weenie! So, I headed back to my hotel to sleep. My liver was pretty happy if not my party face.

Friday, I went to Macau. The Portuguese architecture was pretty cool but it was quite different than I was expecting. I thought it would be a little piece o' Portugal on the seaside. Instead, it was a fairly congested small city with tons of casinos. I'm definitely glad I went- it was just different. We actually decided to head back to HK for dinner, which was a great decision since we had a great dinner at Vivo. Then Sue and I headed to Lan Kwai Fong and didn't get back to the ship until 0240 (curfew was at 0300! We're so naughty!).

Then we left Saturday. Underway was notable for the fact we came into port early, which was totally sweet. I definitely did work hard for the week and a half underway because there was this totally raging stomach bug going around that was slaying people. I saw over 100 people my duty day. It was almost fun to be busy although I was burnt by the end of the day.

So, we came back Monday the 12th. I didn't do too much the first two days, but then I went to a BAYSTARS GAME!!! My favorite!!! I bought a wristband that I've been wearing non-stop. It's my Kinjoh #1 power! I love it. I also bought a cell phone charm. I hope my Iphone-to-be has a little cell phone charm attaching place. I love that about Japan. I feel so Japanese and blend in-able when I have my cell phone charm.

When we were at the game, Sue and I decided that we had to karaoke one more time (at least) before leaving Japan so the very next night, we went to 2econd Home with an awesome group. Prior to, we had some awesome Indian food. There are pictures floating around somewhere that I am a little afraid to see. Being caught mid-sing is actually very unflattering. Almost as bad as mid-bite but really, there's nothing worse than that. Other than the completely separate category of being caught doing socially unacceptable things, nose-picking and the like, etc. [Please not, I do not pick my nose nor do I know of any photos that would document this completely false fact, unless they exist of Caroline, age 4 or younger.]

Then yesterday, I went with four friends to Chiba for a surfing safari. It was so awesome, it deserves its own entry so until next time, space cowboys!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I *heart* HK!

Hong Kong is AWESOME! I’m having such a fun time here and have been since Monday when the Kitty Hawk pulled into Victoria Harbor.  After feeling pins-and-needles-y all weekend, things were looking pretty good on Monday. We dropped anchor! We were going to be let in! Hooray!

I was on the first liberty boat and was very happy as the KH receded into the distance as we headed to Fenwick pier. We arrived in Hong Kong and headed straight to the hotel for check-in. Sue and I are staying at the Jia, which is a really nice boutique hotel designed by Phillipe Stark. Now this means very little to me, but it’s a pretty sweet place. After walking around in the afternoon, we went out for dinner at a great Mediterranean restaurant in Soho. It was delicious and we ordered way too much food. Then Knutsford terrace in Kowloon was awesome where I had my second-ever hooka experience. Minimal coughing involved!

On Tuesday, I went on a Lantau Island tour with several friends. It was sponsored by the ship’s MWR. We went on a little cruise to find pink dolphins (no luck! But I got to ride a boat- novel! Then, onto a fishing village with the coolest dried fish market. The guide took us through and explained what different things were, which definitely added a LOT to the market experience. Then we went to the Lantau Island Big Budha and Ngong Ping monastery. I climbed all ~270 steps to the Buddha after a vegetarian lunch in the monastery. Tuesday night, we went to Lan Kwai Fong, where I had margaritas at Agave. We also went to a very chic outdoor terrace bar for drinks. Finally, we ended a night at this random bar before heading to an all-night live band place where we left I-have-no-idea-when.

Yesterday, I went to Maxim’s Place in City Hall for Dim Sum- awesome, awesome time! Then to Stanley Market with a death-defying bus ride there and back. Finally, I went on a MWR tour with the same crowd from Lantau. We went up Victoria’s peak in the tram, then went on a harbor cruise. That was pretty sweet b/c we saw both sides (Hong Kong and Kowloon) of the Victoria Harbor laser show. It was a pretty cool light show, mostly on the buildings themselves rather than the Laaa-sers.

Ok, exploring today! I’ll write more later!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Round-up!

I really am planning on finishing the description of the best mother-daughter trip ever. I also need to talk about Thailand (awesome!) and even my few days back in Japan. When I think about Yokohama, all I hear is, " Whooooooo-oooohhhh-oooohhhhh, Yokohama Baystahs." It's a song, one of many, that is sung during baseball games. I LOVE Japanese baseball games. And this time, I even bought the noisemaker bats. I got to bang them together (in time!) and even do a dance that involved the bats. It was awesome! Ok, biggest synopsis ever but here we go...

After Mom and I did all things "local," we headed down to Kyoto. We saw the Golden Pavilion, the Ryoangi temple, Sanjusangendo temple, and Nijo castle. I loved Nijo castle the most, mainly b/c that was the new sight for me. But also, the wood-working and panel work inside the main castle were incredible. Detail work always impresses me, just the cumulative effect of lots of meticulous planned out work and vision. It's not a way of thinking that comes naturally to me, but I appreciate the results.

Also, the Ryoangi temple with its 15 rock garden fame now has one less rock thanks to us. That, or we threw a rock from our pocket in to make an even 16. I can't remember! Mom and I are so naughty!

The next day, we went to Nara where we did a lot more walking. The Daibutsu (Big Buddha) in Nara was very impressive, as was the wooden building housing it. We also went to a few other temples in a rather large loop. Overall, we had a great time. I did not, however, love the famous deer. I thought they were rather mangy and we did not feed them stupid deer cookies that one could buy. We did see a Buddhist temple from the 700s though- the oldest in Japan. 700 A.D. is when Buddhism was introduced by a Chinese monk who really went through a lot to get Buddhism to Japan. From the sounds of it.

The next day, we saw Sanjusanjendo (see above) before heading to Osaka where we saw the castle and a pretty plum tree garden. We also went to one of the oldest Buddist temple SITES in Japan. Please note that the building were all much newer and it pays to read Frodors carefully, those over-enthusiastic nincompoops. Curses.

Then we headed to Hiroshima, where we saw the Peace Park and the museum, the Atomic Dome, Miyajima with the floating Tori, and we ate magnificent okonomiyaki, a local dish with a thin pancake/tortilla/crepeish base, cabbage, chicken, seafood, egg, and NOODLES. There is also a delicious sauce, which I bought so I can try my hand at making them at some point. Hiroshima was definitely a highlight as I really wanted to go, plus the city was way more vibrant and new than I was expecting. They did a good job of balancing legacy with living in the present.

After Hiroshima, we went to Nagoya for a fertility festival which was SO MUCH FUN. Not so much for the floats, which were very interesting, but more for the street fair atmosphere with lots of people, food stands and live musical performances by Taiko drummers.

Finally, Mom and I had a picnic in Yoyogi park on her last day. We also went to the Meiji temple. Here's a hint- although nice to see (and I'm glad we went Mom!), dragging a suitcase through a half-mile of gravel does NOT make you the most inconspicuous pair of people around. Wheelie wheels don't work so well off pavement or flooring. Boo!

Then, I got underway the next day. Meh. Fairly uneventful- no port calls to speak of. Right now, I'm hard at work on my SWMDO pin so that I can wear a shiny gold badge on my uni and show people that I made a modicum of effort to learn about the ship and other people's job. It's actually led me to some pretty cool places on the ship, although most of the aviation cool stuff I'm saving for afterwards since it's not actually part of the SWMDO board.

Then we came back and Sue and I went to Thailand for 2.5 days/2 nights. Way short, although I still managed to burn despite 30 and 55 S.P.F. Reapply! That's my takeaway point o' the day! It was really beautiful. I really do love the beach!

Then we came home, work was insane (in a WAY unfun type of way) but the weekend was a lot of fun. Saturday, I crashed after Friday duty but on Sunday, I browsed in my favorite store that I finally figured out where it was after a months long hunt for it (BTW, Loft on level 7F in the Sogo Building near Yokohama Station). That's definitely one thing about Japan- even though there aren't a lot of very tall buildings due to earthquake fears (Landmark Tower in Yokohama is Japan's tallest at 70 stories), there are a lot of medium sized buildings and businesses are stacked vertically for several floors. And it's not like a mall with picture maps and central open areas so you can spy stores across the way. All the stores are in normal building buildings. So, when I can't read the signs very well, I'm at a little bit of a loss. This verticalness also applies to restaurants and clubs, which is a little weird since I'm used to being able to look into ground level establishments and checking out the busy-ness of the scene prior to deciding to go in.

Rereading the above paragraph leads me to believe that I really need to get some sleep. Apparently when I'm sleepy, I think that as long as I use different inflection (which works oh so well in an electronic medium), I can use the same word as a noun, adjective, and verb. So succinct!

Oh, also on Sunday, "Whooooaaa-oooohh-ooooohhhhh- Yokohama Baystahs!" Baseball. I loved it. And now it's Monday night (actually Tuesday morning just before 2) and the ship's getting underway. So, the blog will be sadly quiet for little bit. Curse blogger and its hungriness for cookies that the ship's firewall says "Dame" to. (Dame, pronounced DA-MAY, is always accompanied by an X gesture with fingers for small things, forearms for more emphatic gestures. It means no, no good, no more, etc. Very useful gesture- it's helped me figure a bunch of stuff out where I would otherwise be completely lost.)

Friday, April 4, 2008

Hello! I'm here!

I dropped off the face of bloggy-hood! I'm sorry! Can we still be friends? What?!?! Biggest fight ever? Let me see if I can explain...

So, Mom and I had an awesome trip! My lil' Mac, not so much. I did something quite unfortunate during a software update and thought I had torched my computer (and worse, my pictures) in the process. I had to wait until I got back to the ship to reinstall Leopard and then we were underway. (BTW, pictures were saved!) The ship's firewall does NOT like the cookie hungriness of blogger.com so I was blog update-less for weeks. Although now I've taken care of enough IT folks onboard that maybe I can get around that during our upcoming cruises. I will ask.

So, right now I REALLY need to be packing for Thailand since all I've done so far is make sure I know where my passport is. I'm meeting Sue in an hour and a half before we take the YCAT bus to Narita airport. I can't wait. We're going to Phuket for a couple of days. I can only go for a short while, since I need to be back for work. I have taken an insane amount of leave this year, so I have to play nicely with the other kids and come back so my boss can take a few days off.

But I will update! I have to write about the rest of my trip with Mom (awesome!) and being underway which, as all you Imogen fans out there know, included MY BIRTHDAY!!!! Kind of low-key but I got a few presents and Pepe and Sue had a huge pink and purple cake made for me. It was great. But more later! Must pack!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Pardon the interruption...

Mom would like our daily mileage documented. Because I am mean and we are walking quite a bit with little sneaky hikes here and there.
Day 1 (Met at Yokosuka): 1/2 mile
Day 2 (Hakone): 3 miles
Day 3 (Tokyo): 5 miles...easily
Day 4 (Nikko): 3 miles, with lots of steps and hills!
Day 5 (Kyoto): 4 miles

But please!  Our days are ending with wine.  How hard a life can this be?

More description, fewer tangents!

Nikko is awesome! Although kind of a pain to get to, I had read so much about it and I really wanted to go. It was a rainy, misty day but all the mausoleums and shrines were beautiful and mystical. It seemed like a shogun might pop out from behind the trees because, as everyone knows, mist is totally associated with time travel and a quick flash to the 13th century? Totally plausible!

Mom and I took the Shinkasen from Shin-Yokohama to Utsunomiya with a transfer at Tokyo station. While the 1 minute miracle didn’t happen with the Shinkasen, we only had to wait ~10 minutes, which considering the trains ran fairly infrequently still makes me think the Mom’s lucky streak is alive. Once we got to Utsunomiya, we switched to the Nikko line for the 43 minute train ride out to Nikko. Once there, we started walking towards the sites, which turned out to be 180° in the wrong direction. I should have known since that always happens to me when I first look at a map. But we figured it out after a few minutes. We went to the bus stop to get a ride to the sights since we realized we really had no clue how to find the place. The bus came within 1 minute. And it’s great that we took the bus because to walk to the famous temples, which are really all on one big complex, would have taken about half an hour, mostly uphill. How unpleasant! I mean, I like walking but all it would have been was walking along roads, slightly confused where to go. There was plenty of walking at the sight itself.

My favorite temple was the Tosho-gu, with all its intricately decorated gates. I also like the Yasha-mon (She-demon gate) at Taiyu-in. The statues were quite manly, to the point where I’m not quite sure how they are female gods but whatever. Maybe I’m missing the point. The three buddhas in the Rinno-ji were also really cool. They were huge! It was the closest I’ve gotten to Buddha statues so I got to see all the surrounding accoutrements like the egret lamps, Buddhist prayer banners made of chain-linked gold, and lots of lanterns. It was beautiful!

After a lot of touristing, Mom and I headed back to the train station. We bought bento boxes for the Shinkasen home, which was key since I was starving! We drank some wine when we got home and then called it a night.

Next stop: Kyoto!

Tokyo Tourists!

On Sunday, Mom and I had a crazy packed Tokyo day. First, we went to Asakusa, which was packed! The day was gorgeous and people were everywhere. We went to a Fodor’s recommended tempura place, which was not that good. The tempura was super-heavy, rather than the way I prefer which is light and delicate to the point where I can fool myself that it might actually be a healthy dish. Not that I need to think food is healthy to enjoy it, I just don’t like heavy fried foods and it is amazing how tasty and light really good tempura can be.

We took a Sumida boat tour from Asakusa to Hinode pier, which was the reverse direction from the other times I’ve taken it. Then we went to the Imperial Palace, which was huge and really seemed like an urban oasis. We could only see the outer gardens and remnants of the old castle wall, although the moat surrounding it was intact! There were a ton of joggers and cyclists exercising around the perimeter of the palace to the point that there were traffic cops directing pedestrians and cyclists at the stoplights. Bikers are so empowered here and I’m not quite sure why. I’m all for sharing the road among cars and bikes, but I am not a fan of sidewalk sharing especially when cyclists go full-speed in all sorts of crowds. But maybe I am crabby since I was almost hit this morning and it would have definitely smarted at the rate she was going. [tangent ending…now]

As Mom and I were approaching the main gate of the Imperial Palace grounds, a group of 5 Japanese university students ran up to us, asked if we spoke English, and then offered to give us a tour so they could practice their English. Although Mom and I had a initial suspicious moment of hesitation, we decided to go for it and it was great. The students were so nice and so funny. At one point, Mom was explaining that she didn’t like sushi that “jiggled.” They thought that word was so funny, mostly because when they looked it up in the electronic translator a lot of “other meanings” popped up, probably along the lines of “milkshakes bringing boys to the yard” type of jiggle.

We also learned what “Sagoy!” meant. It’s a slang word, mostly used by young people, with a lot of different meanings. In our case, it meant “Amazing!” When we were in Hakone, “Sagoy!” was said a LOT by a group of 5 young Japanese women when we were in the cable car and the sulfur spring valley came into view, which was over a hillcrest with a dramatic drop-away.

After the Imperial Palace, we went to Harajuku where there were more cute outfits than goth, which was a first for me. We saw the dancers and walked around for a second in Yoyogi Park. We walked up Takashimita-dori, then crossed over to Omote-sando dori. We went to the Oriental Bazarr, Bitsy’s, and the Omotesando station food court. Then we headed home and ate some udon noodles.

Sagoy!!

The last few days have been awesome! My Mom arrived intact and international-incident free. Not that she seems particularly prone to such things. In fact her luck has been pretty amazing in one respect. She has this unbelievable streak going right now involving all buses and trains that we are trying to catch. Every single time, we just make the train or it comes within 1 minute. It’s great! Way better than the terrible streak I was on with the foursome’s visit where we would miss a train or bus by a minute or less. Every.Single.Time. Not that it was the worst thing in the world, but it did get a little old.

*SNOOZE* OMG, when is she going to stop talking about trains and buses?! Now, friend! Never fear!

So after meeting up at the Yokosuka train station on Friday, Mom and I headed up to Yokohama for a lovely sushi go-round experience. It was great, although more for me than her. I had a serious sushi craving after 5 days on the ship. She had already been to a sushi go-round earlier that day and even though she wanted sushi for dinner as well, the lunchtime one was a little more to her taste (one word: shrimp. Ok, five more: without attached heads and tails).

The next day, we headed out to Hakone. The Open Air museum was awesome. That place is just so neat! All those works of art, out in the elements. While the interaction between art and nature interests me with the idea of borrowed scenery (shakkei), I am fascinated by the idea exposing expensive pieces of art to corrosive and erosive elements. I mean, I guess it’s been done for ages with fountain statues and the like, but there’s something about that much metal exposed to mountain weather that seems different.

After the Open Air Museum, we went on the mountain cable car where we learned a new Japanese word, “SAGOY!!” We hiked around on top (Owaku-dani station) and I bought eggs hardboiled in the sulfur springs, which turns the shell black. No real difference on the inside although they were a little over-hard-boiled. But now I’m going to live 7 years longer. Oh yeah baby.

We reboarded the cable car and went to the last stop, Togendai. There we took a sightseeing boat ride on Lake Ashi (Ashi-no-ko). The ship was modeled on a 17th century pirate ship. More importantly, Mom and I each had a chu-hi. Delicious. Welcome to Japan! The classy side of it, I mean.

 [“Oh, ho, ho ho” you belly-laugh. “When is she going to let us in on the joke about classiness and chu-his?” Well, chu-his are a mix of shochu (sweet potato alcohol) and a mixer, usually citrus although I really like oolong (tea)-his. And chu-his, at least among my friends, are rarely associated with classiness. More like, “Whoa! Those totally snuck up on me!”]

After our Hakone adventures, we went out for Indian food that was tasty, but nothing spectacular. If we have time, I really want to bring her to Nirvana in Yokosuka. That place is AMAZING!!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Kitty Hawk to Hello Kitty!

I'm back after a 5 day "Sea Trials" cruise, which did not affect the medical department all that much except that we lived at work. Oh YEAH! Waiting for the next meal, working out, seeing sick call, realizing I haven't seen sunlight in three days...all in day's work. Except what I was NOT expecting was 2 inpatients, a MEDEVAC, and an urgent hospital consultation the day we pulled in. For 5 days, it was completely unexpected to have that much work. And they were all my patients- black cloud, black cloud!

When we arrived in Yokosuka on Friday, who was on her way to see me? Mumsie! And not only that, but she's super cool. Was she in my apartment, moping around and napping until I got back? No! As if! She was touring Kita-Kamakura where there are a lot of neat Shinto shrines. I've never actually been in that part of Kamakura, so now I have new TTDs, courtesy of my Mom!

Yesterday, we went to Hakone. I've written about it before, but new things I got to do included taking a boat ride in a pirate ship knock-off across a humungous volcanic crater lake and a short hike at the top of the sulfurous fields where I bought eggs cooked in the local water. It was a black hard-boiled egg. That's all. But now I'll live an extra 7 years- yay!

Today, Mom and I had a whirlwind Tokyo day. We went to Asakusa, the Sumida River cruise from Asakusa to Hanode, the Imperial Palace, Harajuku and Omotesando. All very cool and very satisfying to see so much in one day. At the imperial palace, we had a tour by members of the "English Speakers Club," consisting of students from several local universities. It was AWESOME! They were so funny and Mom and I learned what "Sagoy" meant (amazing...no, I mean, that's the definition. amazing).

What was also neat about the Imperial Palace is that security involves lots of people counting with clickers. People sit at various places looking all the world like a loiterer but as you walk by, "*Click*."

Tomorrow, Mom and I are heading to Nikko. UNESCO World Heritage Sites- 3 of them! Then we're doing a whirlwind tour of Southern Japan, which will be new for both of us and totally cool. Kowabunga!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

These are a few of my favorite things!

Have you ever owned something that is super meaningless, objectively speaking, but you find so awesome that it brings insta-happiness and cheer? I have that feeling now! About my coffee cup. Yes, ridiculous I know but ~1 week after I bought my Yokohama Starbucks tumbler (get it, b/c I live in Yokohama?), a new one came out! And it's pretty and blue and has the Red Brick Warehouses on it, among other sites. I love my coffee breaks and sipping my coffee throughout my clinic morning.

So, I'm back at work on a duty weekend. I had to stay on the ship Friday since I was also the departmental duty officer, but the last two days I've been able to come and go since I'm "just" the on-call provider. I'm busy stocking up and organizing stuff as the Kitty Hawk is set to sail fairly soon. It's nice to make the ship a little more comfortable- and healthier, in the sense of bringing on whole grain snack bars, cereal, etc.

So, the rest of the trip with Laddie, Karen, Brady and Ed was pretty awesome. They had a great time in Kyoto and Nara. Brady and Ed even made it to Osaka and Kanazawa. Laddie and Karen came back Friday and we went to California Wine Bar, which is a very cool place in Motomachi. We drank a lot of different wines from Napa. It was pretty awesome, although Laddie observed that while stumbling out of, say, Irish pubs is ok, something seems slightly-less-than-classy about stumbling from a wine bar.

The next day, we headed out to Tokyo, where we stayed in a really nice hotel in Asakasa, near Roppongi. This was after Karen and I went to Kamakura for shopping and Laddie went to Asakusa for the same. Brady and Ed met up with us and we all went out to Shibuya and Roppongi. Shibuya is definitely the Tokyo I imagined in terms of lights, noise, and number of people. It was awesome!

The next day, everyone left after a slight debacle with the Narita Express, since the original train was cancelled due to winds. It seems like everyone made it home, although I was told the airport wasn't all smoothness either.

It was such an awesome time to have everyone here. I can't wait for more visitors. Like my Mom! In less than a week!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Bye-byeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!

If my apartment had a sound system like every other building in Japan, it would have “Auld Lang Syne” on repeat since today is the day that my place completely empties out of visitors- temporarily! Since I had to go back to work today (boo!), everyone took off with his/her lovely JR railpass off to Kyoto and other far-off places like Nara and Hiroshima. Laddie and Karen will be back Friday, then Brady and Ed will return Saturday for a night out in Tokyo before everyone leaves on Sunday.

On Sunday, we went into Tokyo and had an awesome time in Asakusa (“Old Edo”) and Harajuku/Ometesando. Asakusa has a more historic feel to it with a very cool temple at the end of a long pedestrian shopping strip. My favorite shrine is the one protecting against the raccoon dog. It’s the one with the large statue surrounded by tiny figures wearing little red hats.

Harajuku was awesome! I had never been on the main shopping street that parallels Ometesando-dori. I loved it. It was a very energetic scene. Before we went to the shopping street, we saw the Goth kids on the bridge and the greasers dancing in the park. We got snickety-snacks there that were uniformly delicious with the exception of Brady’s yucky half-raw fishcake meatballs.

After Harajuku, we had the train ride from hell back since we were all tired. I was tired to the point of having us head the wrong way for 20 minutes, which led to a 40 minute delay. As a result, we got to the sushi go-round super late, about 10 minutes before the last order. So rather than have a nice, leisurely “Oh, that looks lovely, please grab that from the conveyer belt for me” type of dinner, we had a hurriedly ordered (but delicious!) dinner straight from the menu.

Monday, we went to the ship for a tour, which was awesome b/c a friend of mine on duty took us down to the engine rooms. Total bonus! Everyone got to climb down the scary ladders to DC central and 2 Main Machinery Room (MMR). We also toured the medical spaces, Foc’sle, and Flight Deck.

Afterwards, we went to Kamakura and saw the Kannon-Hase, the Great Buddha, and went shopping.

Tuesday, we went to Hakone and the Open Air Museum. Even cooler for me was that we continued up the mountain by cable car and then across huge steaming rock fields by a gondola-type ride. It was great! Then we went back to the sushi go-round where we had the real experience since we had about an hour before closing this time.

So, until Friday, I will be a boring worker bee in the most Catch-22 like workplace I’ve ever been in.

BTW, the “Auld Lang Syne” thing is not a joke. When things are closing, the song will play REPEATEDLY for 10 minutes. It gets old, really quickly.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Smooth as butter!

I've been mixing up a lot of cliches lately, so I didn't know if I should say "Smooth as silk" but regardless, picking up Laddie and Ed went very well. Like, they-walked-out-of-customs-and-I-was-standing-right-there well. So, hooray! I am capable of picking people up at the airport.

Laddie and Ed were actually seat mates, which was nice for them. Laddie had the window and Ed had the aisle since they were in a 2-5-2 seated plane. They had to get Ed's original guy to move, who was gracious enough to sit down next to a very bitter woman. Who apparently was quite a sourpuss even before she knew she wouldn't get to sit next to Laddie after all.

Today, Brady, Karen, and I moved slightly slowly out the door (by 10!) and went to the Sumo Stadium (Ryogoku) to look for my camera which I had misplaced after one too many Sapporo tall boys. While I have a rather poor feeling about my camera, it ended up that we showed up on the day a professional sumo wrestler was set to retire. So we saw a bunch of sumo wrestlers and a 1 hour, 45 minute hair-cutting ceremony that ended with the severing of the wrestler's top knot. It was awesome to have seen sumo wrestling. That's one of things I love about Japan- stumbling upon things I never knew were there, mostly because of the language barrier. While the barrier can be quite inconvenient at times, it definitely gives a sense of adventure to otherwise routine outings. We were going to go to the Tokyo-Edo museum and Asakusa. Probably won't get to the museum this trip, but we're going to Asakusa tomorrow.

Trip to Japan Qoute of the Day #2
"Tierney, is your toilet from the future? There are so many buttons!" -Ed

Friday, February 15, 2008

50% capacity

So, right now my apartment is way fuller with my lovely sister and lovely Karen dead asleep. As a tribute to my permanent title of "Hostess with the Mostest," Karen is sleeping in a sweatshirt as her blanket is in the dryer. Oh, and her head is lying on a towel (clean!) over her pillow since the pillowcase (also clean!) is still a touch damp. Oh, Japanese dryers, you are so slow!

So, here are a few tips for picking people up at the airport. Being on time? It is a good thing. Tied in with that is customs here takes about 20 minutes so pretending it will take an hour? Not a good idea. In addition, a good meeting spot is also key.

Another very important piece of travel knowledge goodness? KNOW WHAT AIRLINE YOUR FRIEND IS ON!!! I had assumed that Karen was on American since everyone else is taking that airline. This was an ASSumption for sure since she was on Continental, meaning we were wandering around in two separate terminals. Thank goodness for Al Gore inventing the internet though. A profanity-laced email decrying the situation of not having found each other almost two hours later was sent from me, to Karen, with love. Don't get me wrong. None of the language was directed at anyone- I was just way stressed that I had missed such a vital piece of info when collecting people's travel plans. But it all worked out because in addition to my lovely language selection (Dear self, lose the inner sailor), I provided my phone number, Karen called, and we all lived happily ever after.

"But where's Ed?" you ask. In New York, with Laddie-kins, waiting for a 11:30 flight that is currently expected to leave around 2:30. It turns out that on Valentine's Day, he was in New York and his passport was in Washington, DC on an unexpected rendezvous. So, he changed his flight and drove back to DC in a minivan. Brady, meanwhile, was almost thrown off the plane (her bags actually were). A very mean, Grinch-like ticket agent yelled at her (YELLED at her! My sister! I could punch him in the nose!) that she was to fly out tomorrow, never mind what her itinerary and boarding pass said. After making a huge scene, the big jerkface was ganged up against by a posse of saintly stewardesses who took Brady's side, the side of all that is true and good! Although Brady was pretty upset, guess who got an upgrade to Business Class. Pretty clutch for a trip to Tokyo although Brady's dubious whether or not it was really worth it.

Laddie, BTW, was always scheduled to leave on the 15th.

Japan Visit Day #1 Quote of the Day: The thing about Japanese food- and sometimes Chinese- is that it's really good but as soon as I'm done, I want the taste out of my mouth immediately. -Karen