Monday, November 9, 2009

Girl's Weekend

I hadn't been on one in a couple of years. My best friend from med school, Alyssa the ophthalmologist, and I hit the town of Hot Springs on Friday and didn't leave until Sunday morning. We were pretty exhausted from being up with sick kids all week, so we ate dinner and retired to the room early Friday night, using up all the juice on my computer showing off kid pics, songs, and favorite YouTube videos.

After a full day of shopping and massages on Saturday, we went back to the hotel room to rest and get some coffee before hitting the lobby for drinks, after being rendered somnolent by a mud and steam massage. Unexpectedly, we received a cup of mud tea to drink afterwards, touted as an "internal cleansing, like the Native Americans used to do." Being pretty relaxed, I agreed and as I tossed the cup back there was a startling amount of silt at the bottom. I worried about receiving a diagnosis of pica.

Unfortunately, the mud was not agreeing with Alyssa. I figured out the single cup coffee machine, and brewed the two cups successfully. Alyssa was pacing uncomfortably and trying to decide whether or not to lay down for a few minutes. In the meantime, I added sweetener to my cup and was in the process of adding half and half. As I stirred, large white curds rose to the top of the liquid. This did not agree with Alyssa's already upset stomach.

"Oh my god. That is disgusting. I am going to go lay down now."

I stirred, still perplexed. I had not seen chunks come out of the half and half. Maybe if I stirred a little more it would go away. I smelled the coffee, then the residual half and half. No sour milk smell. I asked Alyssa, "Are you sure it was the half and half?" I was reluctant to pour my one cup of coffee down the sink. I was also finding it rather amusing that Alyssa, who operates on eyeballs, was about to hurl over a little sour milk. I guess the mud tea was to blame.

I studied the half and half, and looked at the other three containers. "Alyssa, is there even an expiration date on these things? Can they go bad? I can't find one."

Alyssa moaned from the bedroom. "Trust me. It's bad. Just take my coffee. I don't think I can drink it anymore. Pour yours out."

I was feeling bad for her, but excited to get her coffee. I poured mine down the sink, and was determined not to make the same error with this last cup. I poured in the sweetener first and stirred. No chunks. Then I decided to test the last three containers of half and half individually, in the sink. I wasn't convinced of my ability to discover a half and half that wouldn't curd up in my coffee, since I was unable to detect anything wrong with the first one. So I poured each out slowly into the sink, sniffing and testing. Finally, I got brave on the last one, and dumped it in. "Hooray!" I announced to the green Alyssa. "No chunks!"

Alyssa rallied, and we had a fabulous dinner Saturday night at a new fusion restaurant in town.

After we ordered, she said, "I am so laughing about what a dork you are. Not that I am any better."

"What do you mean? Me dorky?"

"I am referring to your store purchases."

Earlier in the day while shopping, we were wandering around an upscale rock shop, with eclectic jewelry and rocks. Alyssa was trying on necklaces, and I was picking out gifts for the kids - soapstone dinosaur for John, and a beautiful piece of lab grown bismuth for Sicily. The bismuth looked like a miniature M.C. Escher bizarre stair step, metallic and shimmering with pastel rainbow colors. I looked at all the jewelry in the store and decided there was nothing there for me. Then I noticed a back room. It was amazing - full of fossils, teeth, all kinds of unusual museum relics. I immediately fell in love with the Crinoid fossils. I jumped back and forth, trying to decide which one to get. I grabbed Alyssa.

"See, this one looks like Aspergillus Niger! With the medusa head! It's amazing! But the colors on this other one look much better, even though I don't like the morphology of this animal quite so much." Crinoids have been around since the Paleozoic Era, and these fossils were from Morocco. They are also known as sea lilies or feather stars. Upon googling Crinoids, I learned that their mouth was located directly adjacent to their anus. Ha! A new secret name for those I consider to be talking shit. But that might be an insult to the Crinoid - it is such a beautiful marine creature.

I agreed with Alyssa. I was not very cool. But it is so much cooler to be a nerd in your thirties than in your teens. Suddenly, you just quit caring what anyone else thinks, anymore.

Alyssa texted her husband in the middle of dinner, who was busy working a night shift in the ICU. "We are going to bars to pick up twenty-five year old guys." Alyssa could do it. She looks about eighteen, and upon reluctantly admitting that she is a doctor to anyone who inquires she often gets incredulous looks and exclamations. By the end of dinner, we were glowing from our shared bottle of wine, and I was beginning to distrust our already challenged iphone navigational skills to get us bar-hopping in Hot Springs. Plus, I didn't want to drive on much more than I had in my system. I said, "Why don't we just go back to the hotel bar and pick up some forty-five year olds?" She agreed, and we headed back to have another glass of wine. In the meantime, we did manage to bump into a group of youngsters who were trying to entice us to go out with them. They were stylish and infectious, but we had to go home in the morning.

I looked at Alyssa, "Wanna go out? It's up to you. My computer is dead, and I forgot the charger. No more YouTubing Les Mis show tunes in French."

She looked at me and smiled. "We can always use our iphones for that."

Now who's the dork? Well, me again, for not thinking of that. We headed back to the room, full of mud and wine and yummy food. A great girl's weekend. By the way, that's my fossil in the picture. My Crinoid. It's in my office. I own it. Aren't you jealous?


Michael said...

Nice fossil.

christie said...

I can't wait to call someone a crinoid now!

Anonymous said...

Just read your blog about our weekend. Wanted to let you know again, that under no circumstances should half and half be chunky. And, it was your scientific approach to evaluating all the half and half that made me think you were just as much of a dork as I am. By the way, I still have my rock collection that I started sometime under the age of 10 =)

Gizabeth Shyder said...

I love our dorkiness! Can't wait for the next weekend. By the way, that Christmas light glass block has lost all its decorations and looks really cool and artsy now.