Sunday, January 29, 2006

 

The Liver is Evil and It Must Be Punished

The title is a quote stolen from a t-shirt seen at Pike's Market this weekend. The other relevant t-shirt read "Seattle Rain Festival - January 1 through December 31." It has been un-fucking-believable how much it is raining. Even by Seattle terms. I would be suffering from a raging case of Seasonal Affective Disorder except I had some most excellent visitors this weekend. Friday night, Ruby and another awesome friend who shall be henceforth known as "Tammi Faye" (please imagine a heart dotting the "i") flew into Seattle for a raging weekend.

I'll tell the whole story - in all it's tacky, white-trash details - over the course of this week. We made many new friends and sacrificed many unnecessary brain cells. We said words that shouldn't come out of the mouths of cultured young women. We drank small vintage wines from Tuscany. We tried to pick up one of the fish-throwers at the market (he was smokin') for me, of course (Ruby and Tammi Faye are happily married) but, unfortunately were pulled away by a wine tasting. We had more fun than anyone should have with a label maker....

So that should stimulate your curiousity. For now, I just want to post a picture of my Xmas gift for Squirrel Nuts (Ruby Jr.).



I couldn't post it earlier because Ruby reads daily. I suppose I could've actually mailed it to Squirrel Nuts on time. But that's just not my style. I'm Aunt Stampy, and she's my little rocker.

Hope all is well with everyone. And thanks for everyone's support for the depression posts. The story isn't over. Oh no, far from it. I'm just taking a break from it while I'm feeling blissfully happy and warmed by friendship. Ruby and Tammi Faye (heart over the "I"), thanks again for the visit. It meant the world...

Monday, January 23, 2006

 

Not In My Backyard...

So, a side story to all of this depression talk is how it affects those around you…and how each individual responds to it. As previously stated, broaching the topic with my parents didn’t go so well. Only just after all time low points – those times when you are actually exhausted enough to rationally talk about how you are feeling – would I talk to my parents. And usually, I’d just say I’d had a hard time, but I was doing much better. Thanks for asking. As they were thousands of miles away, this wasn’t too hard to pull off.

But what about my friends and “family” closer to home? Ruby was (and is) awesome. I could (and can) call at any time – day or night. But Ah-sweep-ay? He was a different story. The very first time I got really sad, he was awesome. He found me crying in his room (can’t remember the trigger), but he just curled up behind me and held me until I calmed down. It was just what I needed. And it was the last best thing he ever did. After that, he told me that depression was just a sign of “mental weakness”. Yeah. He told me I reminded him of his mother (Yeah, again!) and she was weak. So I began to hide from him and avoid him when the blues struck. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, the loneliest place to be is crying yourself to sleep while someone is sleeping soundly beside you. Or sobbing silently in the shower when someone in the next room has no idea. If you’ve been there, you know. If you don’t, TRUST ME. It’s less lonely being alone.

During this time, we had talked of moving in together. We’d been dating for over a year, and we spent every night together. I found a really cool apartment and called him about it. He stalled and stalled and the apartment got rented to another couple. At dinner one night, I broached the topic calmly. I asked if we were ever going to find a place we agreed on. He very calmly stated, “I’m not sure if we can live together if you’re NUTS. I mean, I can’t come home and find you crying in the bathroom all the time.” Thank god for the support of loved ones.

So, back to the drugs. I started Effexor. And it worked well. Ah-sweep-ay and I had our ups and downs. W e broke up, got back together, and I was on my way back to orthopedic training. Things were going well.

Unfortunately, the side effects I’d mentioned before with effexor were there once again. If I missed a dose, even by a few hours, I got light-headed and nauseated (that feeling you get if you take a multivitamin on an empty stomach). If I missed the dose for more than a few hours, I had these feelings like shocks were shooting behind my eyes, in my brain, and in my hands. I couldn’t risk having these kind of side effects if I was going to be on call for 30+ hours at a time. So I decided to taper myself off of the Effexor.

I had jettisoned the cardigan-wearing, passive aggressive, bad facial hair, comfortable lace-up shoe wearing therapist, so I went to the PDR and got the tapering recommendations for effexor. I had been on the max dose – 300 mg daily. I cut myself down to 225mg for a week – OK. Then I tapered myself down to 150 mg daily. Still OK. At about this time, Ruby got married on the East Coast. Good times, and more on that later. I went down to 75 mg daily and started to feel punky. But I was in the wedding and we had a ball. I just couldn’t party like everyone else did, and I fatigued really easily. Ah-sweep-ay complained and went out with everyone else until the wee hours of the morning.

When we got back to San Diego, I decided I was ready for the final taper. I stopped all together. About 24 hours later, all hell broke loose. I was shaking. The electrical shocks were back. I was vomiting and had diarrhea. It was like a hyperdynamic all body response. I was scared to go to sleep. Ah-sweep-ay went out of town. Ruby stayed on the phone with me until all hours. It was a sensation I can only compare (theoretically) to not eating for days, drinking espresso after espresso, and running myself into walls. All the while feeling like I was going crazy. Why didn’t this happen last time? Maybe because I went almost directly onto another antidepressant. Suffice it to say, it sucked ass.

So as not to leave you hanging, I’ll let you know that everything worked out o.k. And I started residency. And, surprisingly, I was happy….

 

A Plea To Cashiers

So, tonight I ran some errands after work and stopped at several commercial establishments. At one, I bought several bottles of my favorite Australian wine (I'd tell you which one, but you might start buying it, thus driving up the price, thus making it necessary for me to hurt you - no offense) and at the second I bought a pack of cigarettes. Yes, I'm a doctor. So sue me. At both stores, I got carded.

While I appreciate the fact that both cashiers thought I had a youthful visage, this was not an altogether happy experience. At the first place, the cashier said (loudly), "Wow, 30-something. You don't look 30-something." Needless to say, he didn't say "something". At the second store, the cashier said "19blah-de-blah? 19blah-de-blah?" O.K. Shut up already. While I'm flattered on some level, it is SO not necessary to point out that I am at least 10 years legal to buy booze and more than that to buy cigarettes. Isn't there some law about announcing how old a Young woman is? Now wonder I can't get a date.

I'm thinking about getting a fake ID to make me younger. How pathetic is that? I would just lie (I'm ok with lying in this case), but if a waitress screams out my real age, there goes my game. And trust me...I need all the game I can get.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

 

Next Step: Fooling the Fool

So, where was I? Oh yeah,, losing my mind. So I had full medical coverage through my job. Why would I go to a psychiatrist for which I had to pay out of pocket? Because the way our system works, we have a single medical record for everything. And they are accessible to everyone from the file clerk to my non-medical boss. So, I chose privacy. Go figure. The psych guy I worked with recommended a big name at the local university. I made an appointment, ,and he offered me a professional discount. Only $125/hour. Thank god for professional courtesy.

We met for the first time. And I took an immediate dislike to him. Couldn’t explain it. There was just something condescending about him. And the office was tacky.

We sat down in some uncomfortable chairs, he crossed his legs at the knee (men, so unattractive), and picked up a pad and paper. All he needed was a large Sherlock Holmes-esque pipe. He asked me to explain my current situation. “Well, I’m training to be a surgeon. I was on track and highly motivated. Now, I’m giving vaccinations, doing psych evals on young men who threaten to hurt each other (SHOCKING), and doing more testicular exams than I care to remember (trust me on this one).” “Doesn’t sound so bad to me,” he stated. “You are a doctor and you’re getting paid.” My response? “Imagine, you’re a licensed psychiatrist. Someone takes away your position and makes you work at an STD clinic for 8 hours a day. Or you can explain to people that there is still no cure for the common cold. Time after time. Or people can come in just to get free Tylenol because they’re too cheap to pay for it.” Smug look. “We’re not talking about me, are we? Do you drink?” Aw, for fucks sake.

So over the next several weeks, I explained how I’d always felt like I was fooling everyone. I’d been in the “gifted” class when I was in school. I went to college two years early. I got into grad school and then med school. Yet I always felt like I didn’t deserve it. I knew I had potential, but I had trouble focusing and doing the work that I needed to do. I’d called my mom from med school one day and told here I had decided to go into publishing. “Honey, you can do anything you set your mind to. You’ll make an excellent doctor. Why publishing?” As I wiped snot onto my sleeve, I sobbed into the payphone at the med school library, “Because I can’t kill anyone in publishing.”

This translated, in this annoying, cardigan-wearing psych guy’s mind into undiagnosed ADD. We stopped the Wellbutrin and started Ritalin. I was awake. I was alert. I didn’t care quite so much about food. I got a lot done. Still, horribly depressed. Still wanted to drive my car into a ditch (only faster). Why was I driving a damnably safe Volvo? So we changed doses, added benzos, sampled some low dose anti-depressants. ALL AT THE SAME TIME. Ah-sweep-ay was totally unsupportive. He pointed out (correctly, as hard as it is to say) how unscientific this all was. In any experiment, you should only change one variable at a time. That’s the only true way to know what effect one variable has. I tried to tell him about our sessions and how frustrating they were. How I would explain how I hated myself when I smoked because I wanted to start running again. While I was pointing out how I indulged in self-destructive behavior, he heard, “I have an addictive personality.” When I explained how I sometimes did my best work exhausted or hungover (I was tired enough to focus), he heard “I’m an alcoholic.” I started telling him what I knew he wanted to hear. Why? Who did it benefit? Not me. Ah-sweep-ay pointed out – “It sucks to be smarter than your therapist, doesn’t it?”

I tracked down the very first doctor I’d seen in med school and explained everything that happened. He expressed his embarrassment for the rest of his field, sent me a recommendation for Effexor dosing, and wished me all the best.

Next installment…coming off effexor sucks ass…

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

 

Tis the Season

I don't know if it's the holidays, the weather, or the fact that someone as moronic as GW is still in power has set reality off its axis, but it seems like many in blogland are in the depths of depression these days. All my best to everyone working their way through it. If you want to commisserate, feel free to call. In the meantime, I'll just pick up my grim fairytale where I left off...

Let's see, I was in my internship and doing o.k. so I took myself off Wellbutrin. And I STOPPED smoking - go figure. (p.s. Do not buy stock in Zyban). I successfully completed a general surgery internship which is the starting point for all budding orthopods. While I like to think that my career didn't define me, it sure as hell fit my personality at the time. I was driven, motivated, and could survive on sleep deprivation provided appropriate doses of caffeine and chocolate were ingested. And no matter how hard you try, it invades every area of your life. While I had started dating Ahsweepay by the end of that year, he was also a surgeon so my schedule and lack of free time wasn't a problem, it merely mirrored his life. I was on a roll.

Then, the powers that be threw in a curveball. At my institution, it was standard practice that, after internship, every young surgeon was sent out (for anywhere from one to three years) to work as a doctor with a military unit. And I had been assigned to be a "general practitioner" for a few good men - about 1400 to be precise. Suddenly, things slowed down. As the head medical officer, my life was filled with clinic, lectures, training, and such. I went to work at 0700 and was usually out by 4pm. Sounds good, right? Not so much. Depression came crashing back in - subtly at first, and then with a vengeance usually reserved for the hounds of hell. To put it simply, I had too much time. Too much time to think, too much time to fill, too much time to do all the things I couldn't seem to get started doing. I was paralyzed. I got another doctor to refill my Wellbutrin (physician, heal thyself) but it didn't work. I cried the whole way into work. I cried the whole way home. While at work, I was the picture of efficiency and the token darling of the command. One night, I was so sad that I drank myself into a stupor. I had the next day off and was so hungover that I got stuck watching an E! special on the guy that played the dumb brother on Blossom. Just couldn't work up the energy to change the channel. I laid on the couch until a friend of mine brought me an In-n-Out burger, a six pack, and a pack of camel lights.

During this time, my Dad came to visit. We were driving to the installation where I worked to go to the gym. I lost it and told him about how low I was and how I thought about driving my car into a ditch just so I didn't have to go to work. Now, at this time, we were driving through Carlsbad, California where they have these far reaching flower fields. At certain times of the year, they're all in bloom and are quite stunning. You just have to pretend that you don't see all the exploited migrant workers hunched over picking weeds and such with no protective gear. My dad looked over, saw them, and said, "Hey, at least you're not out there." I choked on my own tears and laughed so hard I blew snot onto the steering wheel. "That's the best you can come up with? At least I'm not a migrant worker? I made it through high school, college and grad school without dropping out, getting arrested, or getting pregnant. I fought my way into and through med school and slaved through a surgical internship. I am a legal citizen of the US. And I should be glad that I'm not picking flowers for slave wages?" And he laughed.

Don't get me wrong. I made many, many poor choices growing up - hell, I'm still making poor choices. And I'm not saying I'm any better or more deserving than any worker in that field, any junkie in rehab, any prostitute who is doing her best to help her family out. But I was DEPRESSED. This is not a justification or an effort not to get hate mail. What I'm trying to get across is that depression happens to you - you don't go out courting it. Realizing that there were children starving in Africa didn't make that meatloaf taste any better when I was 6 years old, and knowing that there were people worse off than me didn't make depression any tastier either. In fact, I think it made it harder. What was wrong with me? I had a lot of advantages, loving friends and family, a roof over my head and a job that paid the bills and then some. If I couldn't be happy with that, didn't that make me a horrible greedy person? Perhaps I would never be happy.

Depression brings with it a lot of guilt - but just like the guilt of the victim that has been talked about on Amanda B's site recently, I think this guilt is also something those suffering need to let go. I haven't figued out how yet. When I do, I'll let know. In the meantime, I went to see the psychiatrist who worked near me and asked for a recommendation of someone "outside the system". Stay tuned for "It Sucks to Be Smarter Than Your Therapist".

Friday, January 13, 2006

 

Funny Ha Ha

One of my favorite cartoons ever...



The best part is my mom sent this to me and then got upset when I couldn't stop laughing for days.

 

An American Fairytale



Disclaimer: If anyone should take offense to the following story, please remember that it is pure fiction. And I will avow that as long as necessary…

Once upon a time, there was a curly-headed blonde girl who ventured into the land of men. Not only did she choose a male-dominated career (medicine), and a particularly male-dominated specialty (orthopedics), but she chose to purse it in a milieu where her boss might be referred to as POTUS (insofar as her boss might function as “el commandante en jefe”). To not get too specific, let’s just say that at some point in time, she decided to “accelerate her life”.

This may have been a bad decision on several levels. First of all, Curly had a problem with authority. She also, had a problem with laws and regulations that seemed to make no sense. And, most importantly perhaps, she loathed polyester. But she charged on blindly with high hopes (as she so often did). She went through a civilian medical school with some adventures previously mentioned. She went through an internship where, when she was not wearing scrubs, she wore a uniform which automatically added 10 pounds to your ass and, during the summer, included white pumps. Egads! And then she was sent out to run around in camouflage and go on cool camping trips in the desert. More on that to follow... And finally, she returned to the same government institution to study orthopedics.

At first, she was a bit apprehensive about entering the wolf’s home turf. But she was assured, on a regular basis, that the wolf’s teeth were not only dull, but not interested in her. And everyone lived happily ever after for two years. What Mother Goose didn’t know was that Little Blonde Riding Hood (LBRH) was going to break up with one of the Big Bad Wolves and subsequently develop a deep depression. Although most of the Little Pigs (i.e. junior wolves) had experienced some personal emergency (family deaths, childbirth, divorce, sick pets) which LBRH had helped cover, she was hung out to dry. She was confronted publicly and told “you can’t let your personal life interfere with your professional performance”. When she overslept one day, she received a public flogging by no less than 5 people and also received a letter in her file. When she tried to explain that there might be psychiatric extenuating circumstances, she was told “that’s not our problem…that’s your problem. Take care of it on your own time.” So she did. And then, she was told by one of the “good guys” - “I’d like the name of your psychiatrist and your permission for him to open your files to me.” Oh yeah, I’m not kidding.

There is a lot more to this story, and a lot more depression. This little fairy tale is just to set the scene…

Thursday, January 12, 2006

 

So a Guy Walks Into a Bar...

To continue with my depression post followed by humor, I present a joke I heard from my dear old wonderful Dad. In keeping with recent events (and as a tribute to the Texas clan), this will be a USC joke. Please adapt it at will to fit local rivalries...

A guy walks into a bar the day after the Rose Bowl and sits down next to some strangers. He orders a beer. Then he turns to the guy next to him...

"Hey, you wanna hear a joke about USC?"

The rather large gentleman looks obviously upset and says, "Hey, I went to USC and I weigh 220 pounds. The guy next to me went to USC and weighs 240 pounds. And the guy next to him went to USC and weighs 300 pounds. Do you still feel like telling that joke?"
The guy takes a sip of his beer and responds, "Well, no. Not if I have to explain it 3 times!"

Hook 'em horns! Just so long as they aren't playing Auburn.

 

Crazy Is as Crazy Does...

Where was I? Ah yes, the Age of Effexor. Worked like a charm. The only problem was that if I missed a dose, I would get nauseated, feel light headed, and it was as if electrical shocks were shooting off behind my eyes. My hands would shake like a junkies...suboptimal for medicine. Well, just take your meds on time some would say. That's all well and good, unless you've been on call all night and go directly into an emergency surgery at 6am that lasted for 8-10 hours.

Please let me pause right here and assure you I was never physically or mentally compromised any more than any other surgeon who'd been up for 30 hours straight. But then, that's another post. No one noticed these deficits except for me. But I felt like less than myself.

The awesome psych guy I'd been seeing moved and, at his recommendation, I went to back to the original doctor. We had some horrid sessions. I'd tell him how the meds were fucking with my libido. He'd tell me about how he and his wife had gone through a lull in sexual intercourse. Talk about too much information. I'd tell him how I couldn't talk to my parents about what I was going through, and he'd tell me about how he and his wife dealt with their son. Now, granted, I was just a stupid med student. But I'm pretty sure my session weren't for my doctor to work out his family issues. Of course, our trust may have been irreperably compromised by the whole bipolar debacle. We finally decided I'd try Wellbutrin which was a fairly new "hot" ssri at the time. Please note that Wellbutrin is often used to help people quit smoking. I actually started smoking again! But my mood seemed ok and I wasn't having the nasty side effects. Lung cancer be damned.

At the end of my last year of med school, I met Rockin' Ron (ex-boyfriend previously mentioned in this blog) and for a time, I was blissfully happy. I got the internship I wanted in San Diego, and R-n-R and I moved out to SoCal. My hours were crazy, R-n-R continued to party like a rockstar, the relationship crashed and burned, and I moved for the third time in less than a year. Regardless, I felt fine. So I tapered myself off the Wellbutrin. And things went deceptively well for about a year...

In order to the rest of the story, you'll need the fairytale of Little Blonde Sulkyhood and the Big Bad US governement. Please stand by to stand by.

In the meantime, let me welcome James to the comments section. James, don't give up hope. James has a goal of bringing depression into the public eye and making it less of a stigma. This is HUGE! I know lot's of people write about it on the internet. But I'm sure many of those same people would tell you that this is still a very delicate topic with family, friends, and employers. And as Dooce posted recently, it also has an impact on an individuals ability to get appropriate health insurance. So go James, go!

Monday, January 09, 2006

 

Shields Up!

In an effort to make something funny out of a very serious topic (one of my famous defense mechanisms), I give you Hooch in a very attractive Victorian collar. He had a lesion on his face and needed protection from both himself and the outside world...



...he doesn't look very pleased. I know how he feels.

 

Go Sell Crazy Somewhere Else...

...we're all full up here.

I know this is nothing new to read about in blogs, but I've suffered from depression for a long time. I always thought I was a very self-sufficient little only child who really didn't need anybody else. But thinking back now, I realize that I spent an inordinate amount of time when I was younger thinking I wasn't good enough, thin enough, smart enough... I thought alot about ways to make a grand exit. Hell - in that overdramatic manner of a pre-teen, I even knew all the words to "Suicide is Painless." As I got older, I just figured it was a stage that everyone went through.

The first time it really hit me bad was in med school. I was walking to class one day and cut through a park in Philadelphia. About half way through the park, I started crying uncontrollably. It was incredibly embarassing and even more frightening. Trapped. Should I go home? Should I go to class? Should I just sit on a bench and wait until someone found me? Who? I eventually made it home and cried for hours. Eventually I fell asleep. Over the following weeks, it manifested itself as disorganization, indecisiveness, loss of focus, lack of social skills. I'd walk into a deli to get some lunch but the line was too long. So I'd go to the next place, sit down, and couldn't find anything I liked on the menu. This pattern would repeat itself a few more times until I ran out of time and just grabbed something and headed back to lectures. The meal tasted like ash.

Finally, I decided I needed some help. The first psychiatrist I went to talked to me for about 20 minutes and diagnosed me as bipolar. He wanted to prescribe lithium. Being a medical student (a little knowledge is a dangerous thing) I read all about bipolar disorder and lithium. Some stories I already knew from books like "Girl, Interrupted" and Kay Redfield Jamison's books. While I did have highs and lows, it never seemed to be of the magnitude described. And lithium? I thought I was fat in high school when I was skinnier than Barbie. The 40 pound potential weight gain was like a death sentence for a girl whose depression had a large component of body dysmorphic disorder and low self-esteem. I called my Mom crying. She completely lost it. Then, to top it off, my dad called back later and yelled at me for upsetting my mom. It's not quite as bad as it seems - he did offer His support as long as we left my mom out of it.

I asked for a second opinion and met the doctor who just may have saved my career and my fragile psyche. He spent several hours talking to me. He immediately cast aside the bipolar disorder. He diagnosed me with severe depression. Even better than that, he didn't try to psychoanalyze me. I explained that I'd had a wonderful childhood, loving parents, plenty of lucky breaks...he accepted this and felt that I had just become overwhelmed at a time when I was stressed, sleep deprived, and unable to work out regularly (a major stress reliever for me). Thus began my first adventure in anti-depressants - Effexor - and anti-anxietals - clonazepam.

The first few weeks were rough, and my friends were great. I fell asleep sitting up during lectures. I had nausea. My sleep patterns were even crazier than usual. But eventually it all leveled out. I met with the good doctor several more times during my last two years of med school. We were both happy with my progress and agreed that I should probably stay on medications through residency, if not beyond. After all, a rebound after coming off meds is often worse than the initial manifestation and may not be as responsive to meds. Unfortunately, if I took the effexor on an empty stomach I got very ill. If I missed a dose, a hyperdynamic response would start in less than 24 hours...

I guess that's enough for now. I'll finish the story over the next week. For now, the reason I started this post...

I'm feeling like Stepford Stampy. The seasonal affective disorder is under control. I'm fully functional. But when you take away the worst sadness, you sometimes lose the blissful happiness. Tonight I was watching some very funny sitcoms. Did I laugh? Did I snort white wine out my nose? No. I smiled a bit and thought "wow, that's funny". So very not Stampy. I miss Stampy.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

 

I Thought It Was a Joke

Sorry for four posts in one night, but I was watching TV and this unbelievable commercial came on the television. Honest to Jeebus, I thought it was an SNL commercial. No! It's real. You have to check this out...

Doggy Steps

p.s. Thanks to Hanni for the instructions on how to link. If it works, it's all her. If it doesn't, blame me. Everyone else does.

 

Recipes for Ruby

So Ruby is a good cook and a better hostess. If any of you Georgia peaches are reading, I'm sure you're choking on your own tongues right now. I, too, remember the pre-domestic Ruby. The first time I went to her apartment, she offered me a bologna cheese roll-up. Yes - it was a piece of bologna with a slice of Kraft fresh out of the plastic all rolled up. When she was feeling fancy, she might even fry up the bologna. And for dessert? A bag of Hershey's miniatures.

Well, she has bloomed our Ruby has. She throws dinner parties, brings awesome hors d'ouerves to tailgates, and still mixes a mean martini. She does, however, like a recipe. This one's for you Ruby...

2 pounds of mussels
1 leek, thinly sliced (throw the tough top part out)
3 Tbsps of seeded mustard (i.e. Grey Poupon)
1 cup of white wine (something dry)
2 Tbsps of butter
2 Tbsps of whipping cream
1 Tbsp of chopped Italian flatleaf parsley
Salt and Pepper

Clean mussels. Melt butter in heavy bottomed pot. Saute leeks for 1 minute. Add wine, mustard, and mussels. Cook, stirring frequently till mussels open. Add cream and parsley. Stir. Have plenty of bread to sop up the broth.

Enjoy, Ruby.

 

Pure Food Fish Market Rules!

So as I noted in the last post, the mussels I bought today rocked (in as much as a mollusk can rock). There are many awesome seafood stalls at Pike's Market. Today I tried Pure Food Fish Market (check them out at purefoodfish.com - they ship anywhere). I didn't have any cornmeal to soak the mussels but there was no grit. Almost all of them opened. And they were big, meaty, tender and yummy. I'll be shopping there again.

 

Dinner for One - Stampy Style

Let me start by saying that as far as SAD goes, the tanning booth kicks ass. At least it does for me. I woke up this morning without hitting snooze, jammed to AC/DC’s “You Shook Me” (it’s the song I’ve been waking up to on my iPod alarm clock), and breezed through rounds. Got in a good workout at the gym. Then, I pursued my favorite Seattle pastime – browsing at Pike’s Market. Here are the results…

Tomato Salad with Balsamic Vinegar
Leek and Seeded Mustard Mussels
Chateau de la Cantrie Muscadet Sevre et Maine Sur Lie 2004

And here’s the process…

The raw ingredients



Some leeks…



Fresh, flat leaf parsley…



4 pounds of mussels…



Yeah, I know 4 pounds of mussels is a lot. But I’m used to having not so good luck with shellfish survivability. Well, this time I lucked out. Out of over 4 dozen mussels, only 3 were already open or had cracked shells. 2 didn’t open during the cooking process. That left l’il ole me with 4 dozen yummy mollusks to work through.



Rest easy weight watchers – I only made it through 2 dozen and half the tomato salad. I am, however, valiantly working my way through the whole bottle of wine. Waste not…

Friday, January 06, 2006

 

Oh poor pitiful me...

So I just spent a good while composing a big, long whining post about how I'm feeling pale and fat and sad and ugly and flat chested (no, I am not pms-ing) but I just couldn't bear to inflict it on you. Here's the Readers Digest condensed version...

1. Went to the tanning booth today to combat seasonal affective disorder and white girl glow in the dark disorder. Will worry about increased cancer risk later.

2. Am tanning a pattern of two cherries connected by a stem onto my hip just for fun. Have still not decided on a tattoo design. Consider this practice. Can only see a faint outline so far but have 9 more prepaid sessions. Will post photo if it works.

3. Pregnant friend left message saying she had to go buy a DD bra. If bras were batteries, my watch and I could share lingerie. Thoughts of implants are dancing through my flat little head.

4. The problem with medicine is that the more you learn, the stupider you feel. There is always more to learn. While that is exciting on many levels, right now it's terrifying. i just found out that I have a job as an orthopedic surgeon beginning this August in coastal North Carolina (it was my top choice). Unfortunately, I can't enjoy the news because I have to generate a big research project, do a citywide presentation on an as yet undecided topic, and prepare for a huge national licensing exam in July. Oh yeah, and I'm still working crazy hours and pulling overnight call. Yes, I know. I made my own bed. I'd just like to sleep in it sometimes.

End of rant. I have funny Ruby, et al holiday stories to post but needed to vent a little first.

Monday, January 02, 2006

 

Action Hooch!

A friend from San Diego was in the area and she brought me some pictures of my baby dog in action...



And gettin' some action...



Doesn't he look handsome in his new flame collar. His wonderful dog walker got him that for his 2nd Birthday. They grow up so fast.

 

Bring It On!

O.K. My new, all-time favorite show which I will watch and record religiously is Rollergirls on A&E. The season premiere was tonight, and IT ROCKED (or rolled, as the case may be). It has everything - violence, alcohol, rollerskating, and awesome nicknames. My favorites:

Venis Envy
Miss Conduct
General Lee Feisty

This episode featured a rousing battle between the Rhinestone Cowgirls and the PDF (Putas del Fuego). One of the key dramatic moments was when the rookie (Venis) was trying to explain roller derby to her mom. I'm sure my mouth was hanging way open as I snorted for air while trying to imagine telling my mom that I was in the roller derby. Shit, it would be worth trying out just to see her face. Other reasons to watch? There are three quotes in the commercial that I can't wait to see in context...

1. "I don't have a problem with authority. I just have a problem with people telling me what to do."
2. "She has a problem." "Yeah, her problem is she messes with other girls' boyfriends."
3. "Ma'am have you ever been arrested?" "Are you serious?"

And to top it all off - the rookie"s boyfriend said, after her first match, "I don't think I could be any prouder of you." My eyes teared up. No shit. Stay tuned for more fishnets and bruises. I know I'll be watching. And I may just have to get a new pair of skates.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

 

Happy New Year

Happy New Year Everyone!

I was feeling rather lonely and alone. I had no plans for the New Year so I decided to throw myself a dinner party. One of my Christmas presents from my mom was a cookbook from the Willimas Sonoma “Mastering” series – Mastering Soups and Stews. I had chosen a recipe but it called for a heavy bottomed casserole pan. Not only did I not have one of these in Seattle, but I didn’t own one at all. So my New Years gift to myself was a Le Crueset dutch oven in flame orange…



I’ve always wanted one. Then I had an awesome shopping experience at Whole Foods. Just more proof that you should never shop when you’re hungry. This is what I ended up with.

Wine: Jigsaw Pinot Noir (Oregon 2004)
Cheese: Tomme Affine (Goat Cheese)
Pate: Pate (Pate Confit)
Other: Cornichons and Picholine Olives
Bread: Sourdough Baguette



Stew: Beef & Red Wine Stew



Desert: Clementine Oranges and Nutella

Prior to my food shopping extravaganza, I stopped at a large chain bookstore where I bought myself two additional holiday gifts – the new Ralph Steadman book “Untrodden Grapes” and the DVD collection of the first season of Twin Peaks. Steadman is my favorite illustrator as well as a wonderful wine journalist. And as for the Twin Peaks – I had planned on watching it tonight but Ruby has never seen it so I’m saving it for when she comes to visit. So I bought the 40 year old Virgin to watch instead.

Quote of the Night:
“Yeah, you know what? You guys wouldn’t be laughing right now if some girl had just vomited shellfish sandwich into your mouth.”

More tomorrow…

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