Thursday, March 27, 2014

Holy Smokes!

So, one of my staff said that I would talk as if I were from the 1950s.  Now, this confused me because I think I curse like a modern-day sailor but what I suspect is that my Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden books from my childhood influenced the words I say when I want to swear but feel like I can't/shouldn't.


Holy Smokes, I found such a delicious recipe!  It's chocolate chili and it is so amazing.  I thought I wasn't hungry tonight and I ate a bowl and a half while it was simmering.  Well, it was simmering until it was almost burning but then I added water and saved the day!  Oh my gosh, it is so savory and delicious.  I will definitely eat every last bite before I'm off to the US.  I don't have a picture because even the professional-ish picture from the cooking blog makes it look like dog food.  But it's delicious dog food!

Pretty much same old, same old.  I'm day-dreaming of the awesome reading binge I'm going to go on after the boards.  I'll finally go to the Hospital Ladies book club.  I'll play park golf with my friends and restart the Lonely Hearts supper club. [<--Two of my friends are also in the coupled-off-but-significant-other-not here demographic so we were having dinner together once a week.  Well, it happened twice.  But it was a good idea and we're going to revive it, yeah!]

I also have some pretty challenging/rewarding cases in April and the month is going to end with a week of leave so I can travel with my AWESOME PARENTS!!!!  I am so excited and the envy of all my friends.  My parents are the coolest and you can't have them because they're mine!  (And Ed's, Brady's and Joe's- I can share a little bit:)

Oh, and books I want to read follow.  Share if you have any thoughts! [I can hear my Dad, "Where are the Classics?!?!?"]

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche
The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. by Adelle Waldman
The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner
The Secret History by Donna Tartt
The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells by Andrew Sean Greer

Monday, March 24, 2014

Approaching the finish line!

Four more days until I travel back to the US to start the long-ish journey to my 6 April oral board certification exam.  Sagoy!  I'm going to stay in the LA area for a few days on an "extended layover" which a totally awesome concept since I get to see SMS.  On April 1 afternoon, I'll head to Chicago to start my 3-day review course the next day.  I am excited for the practice and final consolidation of my studies and ability to present them in a clear, logical, correct fashion.  I have a day "off" on the 5th and then my exam is on the 6th.  The next day, I'll have a bit of time in Chicago before I head back to Japan, probably totally nerve-wracked!  I won't get my results for 9 weeks, wah! [Oh, I realize that posting full itineraries on the internet isn't the smartest but no one really know where I live to break-in and steal my stuff, plus I live in a secured apartment building.  And if a robber tried to come in the middle of the day (um, what robber would do that?), Yamaguchi-san would probably kick their a** given the aggressiveness of her pursuit of bad garbage sorters!  Yamaguchi-san is the little old lady- really, she's very little and pretty old- who supervises the building.]

I'm looking forward to the boards being over although I did manage to run a race this weekend and go to Church, where I sat with the lovely Cragin family.  On Saturday, I ran the Anchors Aweigh half marathon.  I felt alright during the race apart from a brief wall-like feeling at mile 9.  Oh yeah, at the end I thought I was at the finish line but I didn't realize there was a 1/3 mile loop to complete.  Argh.  I had already started my kick and that did not feel awesome to keep it going for longer but that's what I get for trying to pass people at the very end (because I am competitive!).  I ended up coming in at 1:46:48, which is respectable enough.  I'd love to train more so that I could keep that pace up for a whole marathon since 3:40 is what is needed for Boston, but I'm not super bitten by the long-distance bug right now so I might keep my long runs around the 10-12 mile mark for now.  Granted, before the race, I hadn't ran very far at all- one six mile run and one twelve mile run with a few stretching breaks.  Eh, we'll see how my motivation holds up as the humid, hot Japanese Summer approaches. [<-- That sounds promising.]

Ok, back to studying!  I have such big reading (for fun!) and TV/movie plans when this is all over.  I cannot wait!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Update from Japan!

Hey-o!  What is up?  Not too much is happening here in Japan.  Clinic and OR continue to go well although still maintaining the slow pace of a non-MTF (military treatment facility, aka a big hospital).  Clinic is a funny mix between patients who really need an ENT and patients that need a shrink.  Kidding!  Although there are definitely some consults I'm tired of seeing.  The TMJ as ear pain is getting a little old.  Too many people are stressed out and grinding their teeth!

I'm leaving next Saturday to start the trek towards my oral boards.  I'm landing in LAX and having an "extended layover" where I get to take a few days of leave and hang out in the Los Angeles area, aka hang out with SMS!  Although I'll be a little more stressed than normal, it's nice to get a free trip to see him!  This year has been pretty good since we've seen each other at least every six weeks but both of us are excited for him to make it to Japan for good (well, at least until Summer 2015 when we're both out of here!).

After a few days in LA, I head to Chicago for a three-day review course.  Then it's a change of hotels to the exam venue.  Well, I'm actually staying in a Marriott across the street since I don't want to run into any examiners.  Plus, I'm still a gold-status Marriott member, which is a carry-over from my 90-day stay during my MD Anderson rotation.  So, I get to hang out in the lounge like the VIP I am (kidding).  My exam is Sunday afternoon over at the Westin and then I will be done!  No more studying for the entire rest of the month!

I extended my ticket so I don't leave until Monday afternoon.  I'm planning on heading into Chicago to Millennium Park and the Art Museum.  I don't have a lot of time but those two things should be pretty cool.

Ok, off to study head and neck cancer!  Such an upper before bed!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Why I run...

I really like the smiley, pointy-finger man vs the cloud's reaction.  Link
 Ha, ha.  I went for a 12 mile run today with some nice ladies, two of whom I met at the Run for the Cure (where I was the Grand Prize winner!)
Me at the Run for the Cure. Metaphorically speaking.  Link
No hippo-name calling today!  It was a great run on a beautiful morning.  We stopped a few times to reassemble the group, but I was happy with the run since I just wanted to get the miles in.  I signed up for the base half marathon next weekend and I hadn't run anything longer than six miles in awhile.  While running, I learned that I have no excuse to be a quitter next weekend since one of the woman's husband is running with a broken rib.  Man of Steel!  Well, not exactly since he broke a rib but at least in spirit!
And I took a dip in the onset tub after the run.  So awesome.  While my SoCal water conserving soul will return in SD, for now I'll revel in living in place with no water shortage, inside or out (see my view?).

Cool things on the Internet

I cannot tell a lie.  Sometimes (a lot), I take breaks from studying and find cool things on the internet.  Ha, ha, attention span.
 Isn't this the coolest?  Spineless classics specializes in printing the full text of classic books on posters in the form of an iconic/classic image from the book.  (And if you are wondering if I could have possibly put more prepositional phrases in the last sentence, well, it would have been hard.)  I think it's such a neat concept.  I also think it's hard to pick out one favorite but James and the Giant Peach wins for colorful nostalgia.
I still think it's weird what I was and was not allowed to watch on TV during childhood.  Namely, given all the things I couldn't watch, how was Seinfeld ok?  I guess because it was hilarious and Mom and Dad wanted to watch it too.  Anyway, there are 9 letterpress-ish posters featuring classic Seinfeld food and this is my favorite.  Plus, how 90s are pretzels?
It's not just about me.  This shirt would be perfect for SMS!  Ok, ok, I get hangry too...

And some cool articles...
* Big data overlaid on Google maps.  There's maps on the Civil War, Home Affordability, Deforestation...very cool!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Home Sweet Home

Well, I'm back in Japan.  Let me go on record that I would rather be in San Diego (duh) but I am looking forward to SMS being here in two months.  Hooray!

I have started to enter minor freakout mode for the oral boards but fortunately, there is an easy solution. Study.  So while I may be a little boring over the next month, I feel ok with where I'm at on my study timeline.

I arrived on Tuesday and headed back.  My jetlag isn't terrible but I'm still adjusting.  Currently, I'm waking up REALLY early which is better than the jetlag that makes me feel like a zombie midday.

On Wednesday, I had clinic which was filled with pre-ops and some interesting cases.  It was an enjoyable, not-too-overscheduled day.  Thursday, I had a very general ENT day- tubes, tonsils and septoplasties.

On Friday, I had a bad road trip trying to make it up to Atsugi for a trip to Iwo Jima/Iwo To.  Unfortunately, I got called back to the hospital for a patient so I ended up not making it.  I will make it sometime in the next year.  I'm on a mission.

Finally, this weekend is going to be a 72-hour lovefest with me and my favorite textbook, Operative Otolaryngology.  I know, you must be super jealous.

San Diego Visit Recap- Newport Beach Weekend 2!

The weather wasn’t as nice, but we still had a great time.  We hung out with SMS’ grandfather Marty.  We went to the Elk’s Club, which is a long-standing favorite of Marty's.  Now I just need to go to the Chicken Coop and I'll really be family!

On Sunday, we watched the Oscars with Marty and Pam before heading out to Gulfstream.  They were out of oysters!!!  I almost wanted to leave but we stayed and had a great meal.  

Monday, we drove to San Diego.  The flight was delayed and I called during our drive.  The lady said I would still make the plane and should stick with the itineray.  I had a gut feeling that this was NOT a good idea but hey, the United lady said to do it.  We got to San Diego and the woman at the counter was like, “Um, highly unlikely” that I would make the flight.   &%*$&$*!!!  After looking at multiple options, I got a flight out of LAX on Singapore Airlines.  Bad news: I had to get myself there.  So my awesome husband and I got more QT time although unfortunately in the form of a deja vu roadtrip north.  

Now I’m on Singapore Airlines which is the height of luxury, even in coach!  I have an aisle seat and they are feeding us like crazy.  I declined the Hagen-Daz and copious booze (free cocktails and after-meal apertifs).   Why?  Because I’m crazy!  Who wants free booze, not me!   Seriously though, I wanted to study on the flight so no drinking and as for the ice cream,  I’ve already eaten enough rich food that Hagen-Daz and I don’t need to be besties right now!

Also, although I have studied, I did sample the inflight entertainment.  It is AWESOME!  So many movies and TV shows.  I’ve already watched Dallas Buyer’s Club (sorry SMS) and August: Osage County.  I recommend both!

San Diego Visit Recap- San Diego!

We headed down to San Diego on Monday after our beach getaway.  The San Diego week was much busier!  SMS had his classes and some homework while I worked on my studying for boards.  We still had time for some nice dinners (always), but it was surprising how fast the week flew by!

We stayed at the Navy Lodge on North Island and had a beautiful view of the beach and Point Loma.  I went for a walk on the first day, which was gorgeous and a case of good timing since the weather wasn’t all that great for the rest of the week.  

On Monday, we had dinner at SMS’ parents’ house.  Rip cooked up a delicious marinated chicken thigh dish.  I also met up with a friend earlier in the day for veggie juice.  It was nice to have a friend date since I usually only catch up with people in big groups. 

On Tuesday, SMS had his first photo shoot.  We set up in Coronado across from the downtown skyline.  SMS had to move fast b/c of the changing light but he managed to get the conditions he wanted.  It was a gorgeous sunset with beautiful clouds so I think the pictures will turn out nicely!

After the photos, we met up with Linda and Rip at Banker’s Hill Bar and Restaurant.  That is definitely my top restaurant in San Diego (in case you are wondering, other favorites are The Smoking Goat, Enoteca Davanti, Starlite and Kitchen 4140).  I had a delicious salad, a deviled egg and for an entree, SMS and I split two dishes- the burger (awesome!) and “Crispy Eggplant Parmesegnia.”  Everything was awesome, incuding the butterscotch pudding and chocolate-coconut tart (with an almond joy taste).  The tart was served with espresso ice cream and spicy kettlecorn.  Awesome combo of textures.  I really don’t like firm toppings on ice cream (no chewing ice cream!) but the popcorn was awesome.  A little give which only increased as it got slightly soggy (but a good soggy!).

On Wednesday, I shadowed at Kaiser to get more neurotology exposure. I would really like to do my fellowship training in San Diego so I thought it was politically astute (read: brown-nosing) to shadow Dr. Cueva for the day.  It was really interesting and I think I made a good impression.  I followed that with a dinner at Cueva’s bar (no relation, just coincidence) with several of my awesome, long-time San Diego friends.  I really miss everyone and I was so happy to see everyone.

Thursday,  SMS and I took several pictures at Balboa Park.  He set up at the Organ Paviollion.  It was a nice setting with an afterthought bonus of being right next to where we met during December Nights.  We were a little late to meet Stacy and Michael for lunch, but it was really nice to see them and we had a tasty meal at Bread & Cie.

That night, I met up with my old book club, which is also composed of a great group of women.  We went to Wine Vault.  I was blown away by the food the first time I went several years ago but the other two times I went I’ve been less than impressed.  It’s still a cute place to go with excellent wine pairings but as you saw above, not in my top 5 SD restaurants!

San Diego Visit Recap- Newport Beach Weekend #1

Sorry in advance!  The next few posts are going to be a little list-y since I wrote them after the fact and my poor food coma mind had trouble remembering the sequence of all the amazing restaurants we ate at.  

We headed up to Newport for the weekend, which was gorgeous, sunny, Orange County beauty.  Before heading to the house, we stopped at Samy's Camera to finalize the details of the Toyo camera rental for SMS' big project.  Then, we went to Gulfstream for an expensive but tasty seafood lunch.  Next, I got my haircut- it had been 7 months!  I didn't love my haircut the first few days but then I realized that I was using gunky shampoo so I switched that up and then I was very happy with my hair #OCproblems.

On Saturday, we went to Gulfstream with SMS' Grandpa Dick.  We split smoked salmon and grilled artichoke. Amazing.  I had forgotten how much I love grilled artichokes.  Also, the smoked salmon is so flavorful and moist, which is surprising for smoked fish.  It's fun to rediscover favorites.  

For dinner, we at EATChow one night and Cucina Alessa in Huntington Beach the other night.  At EATChow, I had an awesome salad and at Cucina Alessa, I had my favorite pasta (papperdelle) with a delicious lamb ragu.

SMS and I also went for walks at Huntington Beach and to Newport pier.  On the Newport walk, we stopped at Dory Fishing Fleet Market and picked up a black cod big enough for two.  They gutted and filleted the fish and we made an awesome dish that night.  I tried to use potato chip crust.  It wasn't very good but didn't ruin anything.  I just scraped it off and ate the fish with capers, butter and lemon.  Delicious.

Before going back to San Diego, we went to Samy’s Camera shop to pick up the Toyo IIA camera, a slide-film camera that was the star of SMS’ planned photo project.  We were going to take a few landmark pictures in San Diego over the course of the week on film SMS had bought over three years ago!