Friday, March 30, 2007

Mama's got a brand new rack, part deux

Below is a photograph of the sweet rolls that Mr. Poopie mentioned in his post about our brief visit during my stay in the DC area earlier this week. I thought you might want to see them. The sweet rolls. Of course.

Don’t they look delicious?

Thursday, March 29, 2007

The sort of thing he does while he's out visiting the wonders of the world without me...

Aside from having his testicles temporarily jump back into the inguinal canals from which they originally descended, I don't think he's suffered any long-term consequences.

That doesn't make him any less crazy though.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

In which I demonstrate what I am still capable of despite a $200,000+ education

My aunt, Tia, was gracious enough to drive me to Dulles airport after my meeting concluded on Tuesday afternoon. She skillfully bypassed all the evening traffic by driving via the Dulles Toll Way, a blocked off, two lane expressway that goes directly from DC to Dulles airport with multiple ways to get on, but no way to get off until you’ve reached the airport. The same toll way exists going the opposite direction, from Dulles to DC. I was contemplating how brilliant the concept of this toll way was when we arrived at the airport a full two hours and fifteen minutes before my flight. I grabbed all my bags, kissed my Tia goodbye, waved to her as she pulled away from the curb, and then sauntered right up to the check-in counter to get my ticket and check my suitcase. Never before was I so early and prepared for a flight, I thought with a smidge of self-satisfaction.

At the counter, I reached for my wallet to get my ID. This is when I realized there was a slight problem: I didn’t have my purse. I had my two carry-on bags and my suitcase, but NO PURSE. At that moment, a clear vision of my purse deserted on the floor mat of the front passenger side of my aunt’s car came to me.
Not a problem, I'll just call her.

No I won't. My phone is in my purse along with my wallet. Twit!

I ran out to the curb thinking that she’d see my purse in her car and immediately loop around to drop it off. She'll loop right around and we'll have a good chuckle about this whole silly thing...

Five minutes later, there was still no sign of her. She must not have noticed my purse. Ok. Plan B. Find someone with a cell phone.

I did this. A lovely woman, likely with advanced stage emphysema judging by the way she was lighting each cigarette from the end of the last, gladly handed me her phone after I explained my predicament. This is when I realized there was another slight problem: I didn’t know Tia’s number. Or anyone else’s for that matter. I hadn’t memorized a phone number since I got my cell phone several years ago. Shit! I stared at the number keys on Smokey the Bear’s cell phone, willing someone’s…anyone’s phone number to come to me. In these painfully slow moments seemingly devoid of even the smallest number of successfully firing neurons inside my cranium, I began by trying a number that I thought might be The Brit’s. Didn’t work. Ohhh...wait. He has a different area code. I tried the same number with a different area code. The phone rang. And rang. And went straight to voice mail. On the other end of the phone was The Brit’s recorded voice nonchalantly telling me to leave a message. I called again. This time he picked up. Call Mamacusa and have Mamacusa call Tia to tell Tia to come back to the airport because my purse is still in her car. Tell her to tell Tia I'll wait right where she dropped me off. And with that he was off to do his assigned task.

I sat out by the curb and waited. It was a strange feeling of disconnectedness, being without any money, my ID, or my phone. Minutes crept by. People kept streaming into the airport and all of them seemed to have cell phones and wallets…sometimes multiples of both plainly visible. I stared at them like a starving child in one of those Children’s Fund commercials. Tia was taking a really long time. The wind picked up. It started getting dark. She probably took the toll way all the way back to DC...and with no way to get off, she probably hasn't even turned around yet. Suddenly the toll way didn't seem like such a brilliant concept anymore. I mean, who builds a toll way that you can't get off of, anyway???

After about thirty minutes of waiting, I decided I would politely ask the airport employee who’d been sitting behind me, gabbing loudly into her phone for the last 20 minutes about what a slut Lashonda was for trying to steal her man, if I could use her phone. I explained my predicament to her. She looked up at me completely disinterested and said, “I don’t have anymore free minutes." Riiiiiiight!

I didn’t want to take the chance of going inside to make the call because, with my luck, that was the exact moment Tia would arrive. So I searched for others along the curb who looked like they might be helpful. The problem was, it
was the departures area, so everyone who was pulling up to the curb was in a terrible hurry to get inside. Ahh! Over there! Another smoker! (I’d like to take this time to point out that it was the smokers that really came through for me in this difficult time. Thanks guys, I’ll never take you for granted ever again!!)

Smokey the Bear 2 was happy to lend me her phone for as long as her cigarette lasted. I called The Brit. No answer. Called him again. No answer. STB2 took her lips off her cigarette long enough to tell me I should try my cell phone. Why didn’t I think of that??? I dialed my number, more than a bit miffed that I hadn’t come up with that idea myself. No answer. Shit ,I must have left my phone on silent after the conference ended. I tried The Brit’s phone one more time. This time he answered, gave me Tia’s cell number just in case, and assured me that Mamacusa had reached Tia and that she was on her way back.

So I waited, all the while congratulating myself for ascending to the rank of First Class Idiot. And then mumbling to myself about how I was still going to have to sit in economy class anyway.

An hour and ten minutes after she dropped me off, Tia reappeared. I chuckled as she pulled up to the curb. Thank GOODness we’d initially arrived with so much time before my flight, I still had plenty of time to make it. I opened the passenger side door to her car to reach for my purse. This is when I realized there was yet another slight problem: my purse was not there.

It wasn’t in the front side passenger seat area.

Or the back seat passenger area.

Or in the trunk.

(Or on her roof for that matter.)

Turns out, my purse was on Tia’s desk. In her apartment. All the way back over by DC.

Needless to say, I missed my flight last night. After sleeping with my purse duck taped to my person so as not to forget it, I got onto a flight this morning. And though the plane reeked of a strange blend of over-roasted coffee beans and stale cat urine, I was just happy to have made my flight.

I am
so wicked smart.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Catching up with my cousin...

I hadn't seen Busubelly in almost 10 years and I must say...she's grown up to be a lovely 23-year-old woman. A few months away from graduating from college, she's a very talented artist full of ambition, energy, and big, big dreams. Oh, and the occasional bad dream...

"I keep having this recurring nightmare in which all my teeth fall out and then suddenly, I'm surrounded by hundreds of little midgets serving me huge bowls of chocolate pudding," she tells me over dinner Saturday night.

I envision this "nightmare" of hers. For a few long, luxurious moments. "Sounds like a dream come true to me!"

Friday, March 23, 2007

Mama's got a brand new rack

As mentioned previously, Tulip recently introduced me to a non-invasive, non-surgical method of breast enhancement. After much anticipation, I’m happy to announce that my new boobs came in the mail today.*

I must say, although I do run the moderate risk of poking one of my own eyes out (as demonstrated by Bustie McMammaries to our right here), they look great! As
we speak I type, all things are lifted, supported, and pushed in all the right places. And suddenly, what was once questionably appreciable is now significant enough to set my beer on. Which is handy. Usually I just set it on my rump. So this makes things a lot more accessible.

And just in time for my trip to the DC area. I’m off for a weekend of gallivanting with the likes of Mr. Poopie, Cunning Mama, and some of my favorite aunts and cousins. All of this is to be followed up by a highly academinc meeting early next week with all of the great minds of breast cancer research. Me and my new boobs plan to enjoy ourselves thoroughly. And tastefully. Of course.

* I had to special order them because bras for boobs as small as mine are not commonly found in traditional lingerie stores. (Shut up.)

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Warning: Annoying when hungry

I walk into Dochechka’s apartment to find her in a partial state of readiness for our lunch date. I perch myself just outside her bathroom door so I can moan, rub my empty belly and give her my best pouty hungry face.

“I’m almost ready, I swear. Just give me a few secs,” she says as she takes a blowdryer to the last few locks of her wet hair.

[Sigh heavily.] [Roll eyes.] “GAWD. You’ve had FORTY FIVE MINUTES to get ready!”

“I know, sorry. I’m running a little late.”

Moments pass. More hair is blowdried. Then, hair is curling ironed. Hairsprayed. Still more hair is curling ironed. Repositioned. Curling ironed again…

“You wanna know what I think? I think your hair looks hungry. I think it could really use a tuna melt sandwich right about now.”

“Oh yeah?”

“Yeah. Look at it. It’s crying out for nourishment!”

“Okay, okay. But, really quick…” she runs into her room and emerges in a different shirt, “Do you think this shirt goes better with this sweater?”

“You wanna know my honest opinion?”


“I think either shirt will go with the sweater at this point because your sweater wants a tuna melt so damn bad it doesn’t even CARE what shirt you wear with it.”

“Fine. Let me just put on a matching necklace.”

“You wanna know which necklace I think you should wear?”

“The one that wants a tuna melt sandwich?”

“Damn straight.”

“Have I mentioned how annoying you are?”

“Have I mentioned how bad I want a tuna melt sandwich?”

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

His love for me, professed in more than one language...

The Brit recently came back from a two-week trip to South Africa. The night he arrived, we lay in bed, spooning, chatting before drifting off to sleep.

“I really wish you could have come on this trip with me.”

“I would have loved to, you know that.”

“I missed you.”

These sentimental words were followed immediately thereafter by a loud, staccato, multi-syllabic noise trumpeted from his back end. (Thankfully, I was the spoonee, not the spooner.) Within seconds the putrid, enterically-altered smell of whatever airline food he’d eaten over the last 24 hours managed to escape from under the sheets and collide head-on into my olfactory sensors.

“Golly…I missed you too, babe.”

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

I can't wait to have babies

There are pregnant women all around me. The downside of this is that the bathrooms are always occupied…bladders the size of walnuts, these women have. The upside is that I look egoliciously slender in comparison. I can dig it. Too bad the human gestation period is only 9 months, I could really get used to this.

The other upside is that I get to learn from the choices that these women with child are making. Exhibit A: Prenatal Yoga. One of the first-time preggers that I know, Ms. Touch My Belly And I’ll Cut You, decided to step outside of her non-maternal, pragmatic box and try pre-natal yoga. Since making that decision, she’s spent every moment trying to get back into her box. It’s not that she can’t get into the yoga so much as she can’t get into the 30 minute segment preceding the yoga in which all the preggers in attendance sit in a circle to eat organic, vegan granola, watch their armpit hair grow, and talk about their feelings (particularly their feelings on their opinion that women who want epidurals are pussies).

Ms. Touch My Belly And I’ll Cut You called me up one afternoon to tell me about a particularly hairy session in which everyone in the circle had to discuss her birthing plan. This, for those of you who don’t know, is where you get to make a list of all the things you do and do not want going on during your laboring, ie:

- I would like to have an enema before pushing the baby out so that my child is not delivered into the curry I ate last night
- There is to be no medical student of any variety allowed anywhere near my snatch
- If, so help me GOD, anyone tries to comfort me with Kenny G, I will perform my OWN episiotomy to expedite things

…so on and so forth. Anyway, Ms. TMBAICY relayed that one of her classmates, Mrs. Clit, described a technique that really helped make the delivery of her first child sooo much more relaxing and “personal.” Apparently, Mr. and Mrs. Clit wanted the birth of their child “to be as intimate as the conception.” So, to facilitate this, during labor, Mr. Clit stimulated Mrs. Clit’s clit!! Just in case you missed that: HE STIMULATED HER CLITORIS DURING LABOR!!

Jesus, you can’t MAKE this stuff up!

All I
have to will say, is that if Mrs. Clit was able to have this wish from her birthing plan fulfilled, I should have no problem getting unlimited crackers and pasteurized cheese in between my epidurally-attenuated contractions. And I will proudly proclaim this to my fellow pre-natal yoga classmates in between taking bites of my ham and cheese omelet and flashing them my freshly shaved armpits.

(Hopefully not anytime soon though.)

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Daddio moves his rook forward

Communication, or rather effective communication, was not something I learned in my childhood home. My father was always a man of few, usually authoritative, words. And my mother was always a woman of many, oftentimes sarcastic, words. There was always love, in abundant heaps and piles, and there was always humor, by the truckloads, but there was rarely a successful conversation about what was ever really going on or about what anyone ever really felt. Luckily, I’ve had many patient friends and boyfriends in my nearly thirty years. I’ve learned through trial and error. And I like to think that because of it all, I’m fairly capable of having a functional conversation about things that matter. I judge this mostly by the success I have in discussions with The Brit, though I think the fact that he is entirely too reasonable has a lot to do with it.

As a family though, we’ve spent the years since the divorce of my parents fumbling through the difficult conversations that carried us through the pain of a broken, over two decade old family, and beyond to better times. We’ve all grown up, together. With Mamacusa, once we peeled away the layers of a deeply seated Hispanic temperament, sarcasm, and conclusions too quickly jumped to, talking became easier. I’m happy to credit Mamacusa with this as she found herself someone to practice with when she set her all-too-determined sights on The Love Muscle. Not only is TLM lovely to my mother but he’s fully capable of stringing together a series of well-formed words to create a meaningful sentence. Often many at a time. So she and he communicate very well together…and likewise, so do she and I.

With my father, things have always been a bit more challenging. Which is not to say that he is not capable of stringing together a series of well-formed words to create meaningful sentences; it’s just that he doesn’t seem to do this out loud. In his writing, he does it quite eloquently. But face to face, there are often long pauses, intermixed with some sputtering, a funny joke or two, maybe even a prank, and then an entirely prosaic question about something like how my car is running and when the last time was that I took it in for an oil change.

We’ve each made our moves to open up the lines of communication. I made mine first and I will never forget the visceral fear persistalsing though my GI tract as I ventured into then unknown territory. Several years ago, he and I were sitting in my truck after a brunch where I’d tried my hardest to muster up the courage to broach the topic of what seemed painfully obvious to me to be a decaying marriage between him and my mom. I’d failed abysmally and succeeded, instead, at stuffing myself nervously with sugared French toast. We’d gotten all the way back home and were parked outside of the apartment about to go back in. His hand reached for the door handle. In a panicked verbal spasm, I blurted out that I noticed he and mom weren’t sleeping in the same room anymore. He froze, hand on the door handle, and stared straight ahead. I was struck simultaneously with fear and relief. Too late to back out, I proceeded forward. Scared that I’d lose my nerve, I let words, the order and sense of which I do not recollect, fall out of my mouth…words that relayed that I didn’t think they seemed happy anymore…that I wanted for them to be happy…but that if they couldn’t figure out a way to be happy together, then maybe they should be happy apart…that there was no more use for “staying together for the kids”…we weren’t kids anymore. When I ran out of things to say, I held my breath and waited. Slowly, he turned his gaze away from my truck’s bug-splattered windshield and looked at me straight in the eyes. He looked at me almost as if he’d never seen me before. He said, “I had no idea you’d feel that way…so...mature about it.” There was surprise there. In his eyes and in my mind, I think I became an adult that day. An adult who didn’t necessarily need discipline anymore, but who could be confided in (and who, apparently, could also be trusted to eat an entire stack of French toast). We’d crossed a threshold that day, he and I. Suddenly, it was ok to talk about the difficult things. Not easier, or any less awkward, but ok.

The years since have been a series of chess moves, all made with the earnest intention to really get to know one another but always with a bit of nervous apprehension. Neither one of us wants to push too hard or intrude too much. But the recent announcement of his upcoming wedding came with a fresh new set of blanks to fill in. And behind the shelter of the written word, in emails and letters, we’ve made moves to do this. Today, though, he made the nearly two hour drive up to see me and spend the day with me. We talked about his wedding, his brothers, Cuba, my work, The Brit’s travels…it all gets more comfortable each time. For old time’s sake, we also watched a movie…an activity we did so often in my childhood that I might be able to blame it almost entirely for the fact that I have a rather large ass. (Well, that and the French toast.)

When it was time for him to go, I was half expecting him to reach in for a hug and slip in a wedgie or a wet willy…or worse, for him to pull his favorite prank: running his index finger along the underside of my nose and saying, “Guess where my finger’s been?” But no. There was just a hug and a kiss goodbye. And thank goodness for that, because Lord only knows where his finger’s been!

Good move, Dad.

Friday, March 16, 2007

The Curious Incident of the Poo in the Daytime

Normally, I work at a crazy county hospital where there seems to be no limit to the strange things I see, both in and out of the operating room (and in and out of the bathrooms for that matter).

But since last July, I have been (and will be until July 2008) working in a comprehensive cancer center, with adults (no pets, no children, no mythical creatures with uncontrollable diarrhea), who are (so I thought) pottie trained. So, you’ll understand my confusion (and my intrigue) when I went to use the bathroom today (for a numero uno, if you must know) and found a roughly quarter-cup sized pile of poo in the center of the blue tiled floor. It was so neatly placed there, it seemed deliberate…almost like someone came by with a soft-serve poo machine and squeezed out a little dollup right there. The only thing missing was a garnish…like a sprig of mint or a drizzle of raspberry syrup or something.

Strange. Curious. Provocative.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Cinco cosas

Five things you didn’t know about me that you didn’t ask about but that I have been forced against my will to expose

1. I don’t mind telling people things about myself that they didn’t already know. In fact, I often tell people things about myself that they did
already know…repeatedly, and far more elaborately and exaggeratedly than the first time. (Or the second time.) It’s a latin story telling thing. It explains how my grandfather managed to spawn five children with his foot-long penis while trekking uphill barefoot in the snow to work. In Cuba. (Ours is a particularly robust family line.)

2. Despite the fact that the idealist in me is shrinking with age, I still believe in the power that a single person has to make a huge difference….and that if everyone believed this, particularly if everyone believed that they themselves could make a huge difference, the world would be a much better place. And in this better world, I think the first things that would be made law would be midday siestas and free chocolate for everyone without an allergy. It could be
so beautiful.

3. I pick my cuticles too much. Especially when I’m nervous. And when The Brit gently smacks my hands to get me to stop, my hands find a nice quiet place out of sight so that I can keep picking my cuticles. It’s my only vice. (Other than swearing like a drunken sailor, scratching my crotch unabashedly in public, eating too much cheese, and farting at will. Though, those last two I list amongst my many talents as well.) (Just kidding.) (Not really.)

4. I’m not afraid of heights. In fact, I enjoy them…and for the same reasons that I enjoy traveling and blogging: because all three are usually associated with a really great view of something other than the small space that I occupy. A view reminds me that there is more to life than my obnoxiousness, my many “talents”, or my surgical profession…and that there are many more stories out there than just those involving my particularly virile grandfather.

5. One of my favorite quotes is that of Laurel Thatcher Ulrich: “Well-behaved women seldom make history.” I’m sure she didn’t intend for me to abuse her words by using them to justify the vices described in the latter part of #3, but alas, I hope to someday make history in other, more meaningful ways.

Thanks, Waspgoddess, for the tagging! And with that, I tag Mr. Poopie next. Poops, the baton is ALL yours! Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do with it!

* Like figuring out how to make midday siestas and free chocolate international mandates.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Top 10 Reasons Why Tulip Needs to Come Back to San Francisco PRONTO!

1) There’s still a little chocolate ice cream left at Ghirardelli Square and I am simply not capable of, absolutely not going to, largely unwilling to, probably not going to eat it all myself.

2) She left her sunglasses in my room. She needs to come pick those up.

3) SF’s foggy now. It was sunny when she was here. You do the math. Or the weather. Whatever.

4) She still has to sign my high school senior yearbook. (She was apparently too popular to sign it 12 years ago.)

5) I took her to Fisherman’s Wharf, despite the fact that she asked to be taken to see Fisherman’s Dwarf. We still have to find that dwarf.

6) There’s a straight, single man, somewhere in SF, with her name all over him. We just need to find him. And that might take a while.

7) Anyone who can help me find a bra that makes my A cups look like C cups should DEFINITELY live in the same city as me. Tulip, you need to move here and we need to get to work on finding pants that make my Size 8 ass look like a Size 4. Apurate, coñ

8) Tulip took to Afrobrasilian Dance like she’d been doing it for two weeks straight. There are no Afrobrasilian dance classes in Orlando. Only in SF. Well, and Brasil, but they have a way higher crime rate than we do.

9) It just doesn’t seem fitting that such a great trip had a grand finale involving a cramped airplane seat in which space was diminished even further by a gargantuan woman who snored and drooled the entire flight back to Orlando.

10) I miss her already. :(

Oh...and 11) There are waaaaaay more tulips in SF than in Orlando.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Dear San Francisco,

Listen, honey. You know I love you. I love your look (LOVE the hair…AND the shoes), I love what you can whip up in the kitchen on command, I love your cultural diversity, I love that you warm up in October when everyone else starts getting chilly, and perhaps most of all, I love your almost histrionic need to entertain. I have you to thank, afterall, for introducing me to the great MaNdonna. And you know that I not only accept, but embrace, your homosexuality. I hope that someday when you grow up, and when marriage between two gay cities is regarded as a legal union, that you find someone nice to settle down with. Like Marin…he might be good for you. A little uppity, I know, but he’s got a good heart. (And a nice ass, even if it is in khakis.)

Anyway, I just wanted to have a small word with you about something, because, you see, we have a visitor from out of town arriving tonight. Her name is Tulip. She’s a good friend of mine from my high school days in Panama and she’ll be here through Tuesday. The fact that she and I haven’t seen each other in nearly 12 years coupled with the fact that she’s never even met you before makes me eager to be sure that we both leave a good impression. I know I’ll probably do okay because, since high school, I’ve discovered that tweezers exist. So those pesky, unruly eyebrows that she probably found highly offensive back then are now tame and shapely…not too thin, but not meandering up my forehead either. (And I know you helped me with those, so thanks.) But you…well, I have to admit, I’m a little worried about the impression you’ll leave her with.

No, don’t worry. It’s not those cute little bright yellow hotpants you like to wear. Those are fine. (And in fact, if you could keep those on and your Coit Tower tucked in for the duration of the four-day weekend, that’d be great.) It’s actually your foggy security blanket that I want to chat with you about. Listen, I know you’re attached to it. I know it makes you feel secure and safe when you scamper and saché about town. But you’re almost an adult now. I know your mayor doesn’t act like one (and he certainly doesn’t seem to like dating them) but that doesn’t mean that you can’t lead by example. Be a leader, not a follower. That’s what my Mamacusa used to tell me. So, do you think you could do that for me? Lose the foggy blanky? Yeah, I think you can. Besides, how else are we going to see those beautiful bridges, beaches and parks of yours if you’re hiding behind a foggy blanky, huh? Huh? [Squeezing SF’s cheek affectionately.] That a boy.

Oh, and one more thing. At times, you can be quite cold. You don’t need to have your guard up with Tulip, she’s cool with the whole Gay Thing. Afterall, she comes from a place in Florida where Tinkerbell and Cinderella are very highly regarded and dwarfs dressed in rainbow colors parade around in the streets. So, feel free to warm up to her early. And if you’re inclined to put on your yellow hotpants for her and do a few twirls in the living room, that’s fine too. Just be a dear and fix us a few drinks first, ok?

Love & kisses,
La Cubana Gringa

Thursday, March 8, 2007

In which I receive a compliment involving fried swine...

One morning recently I was taming the Tina Turner from my hair with my professional-grade 400 degrees ceramic flat iron, all the while releasing into the air the gentle scent of…well…ironed hair. Which I suppose is not quite like burnt hair, but somewhere in the neighborhood.

Still in his pajamas, Vinja walked past my bathroom door on his way up to the kitchen. He came back a moment later, visibly crestfallen, and surveyed the aromatics with this nose.

[Sniff.] [Sniff.] “Dammit…[Sniff]…I thought someone was cooking bacon.”

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

To the beat of my buns

I’m in a bit of a blubbery state at the moment. I came to this realization after a visit to the airport the other day, where I was seeing The Brit off for yet another trip, this time to South Africa. For reasons that are less than fascinating and verging on the ridiculous, I had to run the entire length of the international airport four whole times to go back and forth to my car twice. In heels. And aside from being really disgruntled that I had to run to get the camera charger in the first place, and then being really pissed off that I’d gotten the charger and somehow left the camera, and then being really whiny about the fact that I was clearly developing a world-class blister…I was terribly out of breath. And the next day, I was sore. SORE!!!

Oh jeez, what has become of me? Well, if what I’ve become is even remotely related to what I’ve been eating lately, well, then, I’m a hunk of triple crème brie and maybe a few slices of extra sharp cheddar. Ok, more than a few slices, but whatever.

I looked back over the last few months and realized that amidst the three work trips to Houston, DC, and San Antonio, the Thanksgiving holiday, the big Christmas dessert party at our house, having the family over for the week of Christmas, the NY trip for New Years, the worst three-week cold of my life, my annual surgery exam in January, the impromptu Japan trip recently, the treintañ
era in San Diego, the Oscars party, and work in general…I’d completely stopped exercising. I hadn’t been to the track to run, nor the indoor climbing gym to climb, nor my usual Tuesday night or Saturday morning Afrobrazilian dance class since at least early November. And now I was sore after a mere jog. A pissed off jog, but a jog nonetheless.

This explains why, rather than just staying home and eating cheese last night, I decided to go to dance class. And I’m glad I did. I’d almost forgotten how much I love the sound of live drums in a dance studio, not to mention how much I love shaking it to the sound of live drums in a dance studio. So, aside from a few old lady groans made by
some of the other dancers yours truly during the warm-up stretches, and aside from the fact that though I managed to keep time with the music my ass consistently lagged one count behind, I’d say it was a wild success.

Operation Blubber Be Gone starts here.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Because achieving world peace is so much easier after you’ve had your morning coffee

When I wake up in the morning, I have mucinous shmutz in the corners of my eyes and hair that could easily rival Tina Turner’s inside the Thunderdome. (Trust me, I could totally take her.) Needless to say, I can barely tolerate myself before I’ve had my first cup of coffee in the morning, much less be bothered to tolerate anyone else. This explains why I find it doubly surprising that the people over at Mirembe Kawomera Cooperative in Uganda have managed look beyond their eye shmutz and even beyond their Muslim, Jewish, and Christian lines of separation to run a successful coffee business together. And all to bring the world coffee that tastes that much sweeter because it represents peace, tolerance and economic justice.

Now I admit…I’ve become a lot less of an idealist since I started residency in a large city where people shoot the pulp out of each other over as little as pocket change or a dirty look. But this has a high Pay It Forward Index and a great Feel Good Potential, both of which appeal to the shrinking idealist inside me. Now, if they threw an Athiest in there and the whole thing didn’t come unhinged, then I might just turn into a weepy mess over the beauty of it all. But until then, I’ll enjoy their coffee, as it does, in whatever small way, make me feel like I’m contributing to their idea of Delicious Peace. I like it. (I also like their slogan: It’s not just a cup, but a just cup.) And the coffee’s pretty good as well! Go check them out. Drink in the delicious peace!

Careful though…if you drink TOO much, we may cause world-wide mania secondary to over-caffienation. And judging by what happens around the office when there’s coffee-induced mania… that might not be the best way to achieve world peace!

Monday, March 5, 2007

At least he smells nice

The Brit and I were rushing recently to make a dinner reservation at a swanky restaurant in town. I’d just picked him up from the airport, as he’d been away on business again, and he was still wearing his company’s logo work shirt. I skillfully found a parking spot a block away from the restaurant, which, in San Francisco is about as difficult as finding a fully clothed man at the annual Gay Pride Parade…finding a naked one that doesn’t have a curiously large inguinal hernia is even more challenging. And sometimes parking can even be that difficult.

So now you’ll understand how we came to be standing by the opened trunk of my car in bustling downtown SF with a shirtless Brit digging through a haphazardly thrown together suitcase for a shirt when another driver pulled up alongside us. The driver, unable to tell if we were coming or going, wanted to know if we were about to vacate the parking spot. At which point my boyfriend, with his pasty white flesh all asunder, sprayed his left armpit with aerosolized deodorant, looked over at her mid-spray and said, “No.”

Ahh yes. That’s my man.

Sunday, March 4, 2007


I’ve never been a particularly superstitious person. I’ve been known to walk under a ladder with reckless abandon (and without adverse outcome). I’ve actually had a black cat for a pet (and aside from the fact that he preferred pissing on the bath mat, nothing bad ever happened to him though, well, that's a different story). And I’ve certainly broken a mirror or two. But the bad luck associated with that only seems to manifest in bad luck for mirrors: I’ve now broken several of them.

My Dochechka, however, is Russian. And Russians, as luck would have it, are a very superstitious people. I learned this when I stayed with Dochechka’s aunt, Mrs. Complainsalot, for one month when I was still in medical school. She lived very close to the county hospital where I was doing a trauma surgery rotation and was gracious enough to let me stay in her extra room. Free of charge. Well, almost free of charge…there were conditions. I had to listen to her complain. Which she did. (A lot.) And, I had to tell her, in explicit detail, about all the operations that I participated in as soon as I came home from each shift.

So one of my first evenings in the house, I came home from a 28-hour shift, over which there’d been several car accidents, shootings and stabbings and thus, several operations.

“Tale me, tale me…I wunt to know about zis operations you do.” She pointed to a seat in her kitchen and I sat down as instructed.

“Well, we had an 18 year old kid come in last night with several gun shot wounds to the abdomen, so we took him to the operating room…” she was still looking on with wonderment. “We did what’s called a exploratory laparotomy where we make an incision straight down the midline from just under the sternum to just above the pubic bone…”

I began to demonstrate the line of the incision on my own abdomen just to be sure she understood. I traced, with my index finger, the path that the scalpel had made the night before. I hadn’t even made it down to my belly button when she smacked my hands. Hard.

“VHAT ARE YOU DOING?!? You do not do zis! Zis show me of incision! You do not show me on your own body!!!” She looked at me with an incredulousness I’m sure she’d used before.

“What?” my hands still stinging from her ring-laden smack.

“You do not draw zis…zis line on your body. It is bad luck. Bad things will happen to you when you draw zis on yourself,” she explained.

Needless to say, it was a tough month. Bad things happened to me, alright…I got smacked a lot. It was just too hard a habit to break, this demonstrating of the incision on my own body. And four years into my surgery residency I still do it. I am happy to report though, that in spite of myself, and despite Mrs. Complainsalot’s warnings, I’ve somehow managed to survive the (non-existent) repercussions of the sternotomy we use for open heart surgery…the laparotomy we use for emergency abdominal operations…the chevron incision we use for pancreatic cancer resection…the inguinal incision we use for hernia repairs…

Friday, March 2, 2007

Don't get me wrong, I love my boss...I just don't LOVE my boss!

This morning, I had a meeting with my boss. And it was high time we had one; it’d been a few weeks. This is not altogether uncommon as she's about as hard to pin down as a greased up pig at a county fair. Five minutes into my shpeal about some of the pathology data from one of the clinical breast cancer trials that we’re running, she interrupted me…

“By the way, thank you SO much for the bouquet,” she said.

“The bouquet?”

And then, wistfully and with her hand placed gently over her heart, “It was beautiful. But I especially loved the quote the most.”

“The quote?” At this point I was thoroughly confused.

“Go on,” she said, indicating that I should proceed with what I’d been discussing before the interruption.

“Uh, right, ok so…” And I continued on. I had a lot to cover, and considering I had no idea what she was talking about, I flippantly disregarded her bizarrely misplaced references to flora and literature.

A short while later, I got back to my desk.
That is when it hit me. And BOY did it hit me. I immediately reached for my cell phone and sent the following text message to The Brit:

“I just had a meeting with my boss. I think I just located the final destination of those elusive Valentine’s Day flowers you attempted to have delivered to me at the office. She said she especially loved the quote. So…what sweet nothing did I just send to my dear boss?”
To which he responded:

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return." -Toulouse

You have taught me so much and given me even more. I love you with everything I have, I am so grateful and am so happy to be with you. Love, The Brit
Oh dear.

I don't stand a chance...

...but still, I made the short list! Woo hoo!

Go check out all the far more interesting things that other people wrote about this week over at...

Post of the Week

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Just wanted to point know, just in case you didn't's cool...

Over at It's not me, It's you, Dochechka (ahem, Innigma) and I joined forces recently and came up with a top ten list of reasons why one should abstain from the well-intended exercise of setting friends up for the perpetual and unavoidable act of awkward social flailing and blundering. A hypothetical list, of course. Even still, though, it should be avoided. And here's why...

Top 10 Reasons NOT to be a Match-Maker for your Friends:

10. Your intention (to simply get him and her some action while they continue their search for “the one”) backfires (and leads to a tumultuous on-again, off-again relationship).

9. In its off-again phase, he and she both call you, repeatedly, and make it abundantly clear how profoundly wrong you were to have EVER thought that they would be compatible. In any way. Well, except for the sex way. In which they are pretty compatible indeed...

8. Ok. So it's on-again. Again. All things are whiskers on kittens and brown paper packages tied up with string and suddenly...for more, see Top 10 Reasons...

* Dear 5 readers of mine, I know you have dating stories to tell. I know it. And yet, only one of you has shared! (Which was hysterical, by the way! Bravo Waspgoddess!) I beg of you, please share. Otherwise, Dochechka and I will be forced to exhaust all of our real stories and move to making stuff up. And trust me, when left to our own devices...well, let's just say it ain't pretty. And besides, there's just too much good stuff out there to justify doing that. Come on! Thanks, LCG