Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Happy 20th Birthday, Caitlin!!

Yes, my summer nanny extraordinaire is leaving behind her teenage years, tomorrow. The kids and I have been decorating and wrapping all night in anticipation.

Isn't she gorgeous? We've got fall plans to head to Atlanta to visit my brother and sister.

I need to make her another CD, in addition to the multiple gifts sitting on my bar. She deserves riches. My other nanny speaks no English, and although I love her and will be indebted to her forever, it has been an amazing experience being able to text all day long about the kids, while I am at work. I feel like I am in touch like I've never been before.

Caitlin has made me some CD's, and they fit her passion for Baskin Robbin's bubble gum ice cream. My favorite sequence on one of them involves Bananarama, Black Sabbath, Black-Eyed Peas, Charlie Chaplin, and Coolio. Oh yeah, and there's lots of Glee. She really likes Glee.

My best compliment I have received all summer was from my friend Mary this week, who has met Cait briefly. She called to invite me to (two!) parties on Sat. night, and I joyously consented. My kids are leaving for the beach for a week with their dad on Sat., and I am happy to say that my social calendar is already full of dinners, brunches, extended family fourth celebrations, and parties! Mary said, "Yeah, she is really pretty. You could pass for sisters." Ha! Fifteen pounds lighter and fifteen years younger - but I'll take a compliment when I can get it.

Cait is already a family fixture after a few short weeks. I can't wait to have dinner with her mom next week. She takes a lot of heat from my kids (on rare bad days), and shows up the next day ready for a new beginning. Today she texted, "Being a nanny is a good antidote for being a mom. Mom's are truly unsung heroes." She nailed it on the head. I sometimes think I've got the better deal, being a busy pathologist. Still, I am jealous of all the time she gets to spend with Sicily and John. They are enamored. John, understandably, was too shy to let her see him in his underwear for the first week. Girl crushes start so early.

Sicily is hooked, especially after one on one projects involving cute animals. They make bubble gum construction paper notebooks with internet printouts of baby animals. Complete with pastel construction paper and fascinating titles like "Cute Animals!!!" Sicily is in heaven. John, who will finally let her bathe him, is enjoying hikes around Pinnacle with her, including crawling into tree trunks for great opportunistic pics to send to me while I am at work.

Speaking of Pinnacle moments, she is not scared of Spotty D, our king snake, who has graduated from frozen arctic fuzzies (embryonic mice) to small mice. He moved from a 10 to 40 gallon cage this week and Caitlin helped with the transfer. It is so different feeding snakes thawed, genetically engineered mice these days - much safer and easier than the live ones I fed mine in college. Easier on the kids - I can't imagine them seeing what I watched weekly - live mice being attacked and consumed, often prior to death. I can still see the conjunctival hemorrhages when they were caught tail first - bloody, bulging eyeballs threatening to pop from pressure while the mouse was still alive.

Happy Birthday, Caitlin! Welcome to your second decade. I mean third?

Monday, June 28, 2010

In a Bag of Water

I was composing an e-mail to my friend Khrystann, a.k.a DC, one that got (fucking!) lost - I was so sad, it was a great one. Her e-mails are inspirational. I'll try again later in the week. The Internet connection got lost while I was attending to my son. I was oblivious and kept on writing, and all attempts to save it were ultimately in vain.

In the middle of my tome, I heard long, low keening sobs from my son's room. I quickly responded. He was sitting on the floor with a baby picture book in his hands, tears dripping on the hardwoods.

"What's the matter, John?" I enveloped him in my arms.

"I can't find that picture! It is gone."

"Are you sure it is in this book?" I grabbed another off of the shelf. "Which one are you looking for?"

"It had you, me, and Daddy. I was a baby. It had flowers all around it."

I knew the one he was talking about. I found it in one of the books, and he admitted that was it, but he wanted the flower frame surrounding it - the one from my good friend Mellificent. The one that disappeared from his dresser during the massive house overhaul last month. It was probably in a box in the attic. Shit. John spoke my thoughts aloud.

"Is it in a box in the attic? Will we find it in the new house?"

I pulled John toward the bottom bunk to snuggle with him. "Yes, it is probably in the attic. We don't have to wait to find it in the new house, we can find it sooner. But not tonight. It is dark and hot in the attic, and I don't want to look for it now."

"Because there are squirrels and bats up there?"

"No, those are all outside. It's just hot."

His tears subsided, and he had another question.

"Could I breathe? When I was a baby? In that bag of water. Could I?"

I was shocked. We really haven't had the baby talk, he just turned five, and I couldn't imagine where he had heard about the amniotic sac. "Do you remember being in that bag of water, John?"

He answered slowly. "Uhhh Hunhhh. I remember. Could I breathe?"

"Well, you didn't really breathe like you do now, but you didn't have to. I was breathing for you. Then you came out, and we spent two months in my bed - you ate and ate and got so big. Do you remember that?"

By now he had relaxed into my arms, but he got new tears. "I want to be a baby again."

I pulled him closer. "Oh, John, you will always be my baby. Always."

A few minutes later his breathing slowed and became even. He was asleep. I marveled and wondered if he really remembered being in my stomach. I don't remember being in my mother's stomach. I remember John in my stomach - he was opposite his sister - awake and swimming like a fish all night and asleep all day. When he got too big to swim around he would just stretch and push until I gave up my own sleep and hit the tub at 2:00 a.m. to try to relax. It's no wonder, in retrospect, that he had so much trouble giving up the nighttime nursing - he was up three times a night until I finally let him cry it out at eight months.

New mission: Compose another e-mail to DC. Find that picture.

Friday, June 25, 2010


Read it, if you want, over at MiM.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


I've been vacationing with my family in my home town this week, and I've been a bit of a glutton. In addition to laying around by the pool eating homemade pecan toffee (my culinary brother and his wife brought from Ithaca) and homemade peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies (my Aunt Sue - she's got some mad culinary skills herself) we've been introducing my brother and his wife to our favorite local cuisine.

My mom made her stellar spaghetti and meatballs on Saturday night - there's spinach and whole garlic cloves in the sauce. My mother proudly watched my brother-in-law Chris clear three platefuls - and I was amazed that he ate another full plate by the pool for lunch the next day in 100 degree weather (he had been on a forty mile bike ride that morning with a pal he met on the internet - he is a cancer survivor and a friend who is also a cancer survivor drove down from Fayetteville to ride with him). I largely skipped the pasta so I could eat extra meatballs and italian sausage - mom makes these great meatballs with a mixture of pork, burger, and lamb and I soaked up the sauce and garlic cloves with french bread.

Sunday night I treated dad and the family to Sushi Cafe - wok-fired edamame and volcano rolls among many others - everyone picked off the menu and no one was disappointed. I made sure there was - ahem, store bought key lime pie for dessert - Dad's favorite. Then my sister Sara and I stayed at my house with all the kids and had a good old-fashioned sleepover. Kids kept us all up until almost midnight with excitement, but it was worth it. We did cinnamon rolls for breakfast while the kids did spin art on the back porch, jumped on the trampoline, and caught tadpoles from our pond.

Last night was my sister and her husband's last night here - they had to get back to work in Atlanta and drove home today. So we got a sitter and had an early dinner at Ashley's, which, by the way, is where I had those smoked bacon and cheese grits I described a week or so back - I mistakenly said The Peabody. I always get all those fancy downtown hotels mixed up in my head. Also got chastised by my sis for calling my watch Chanel instead of Cartier. Ack. I'm turning into my mother. I could describe everyone's dinner - duck breast, prime rib - but I was pretty happy with my own. We all got the three course prix fix - I started with foie gras and had shrimp, soft shell crab, and maque choux for the main meal. I had never had maque choux (and I hope I'm spelling it right) - the waiter said it was a Native American dish - a creamy spicy chowder with corn and beans. Dessert was incredible - blueberry corn cakes with elderflower sorbet - I also asked for an extra scoop of salted caramel ice cream since bro promised that was the culinary dessert rage right now. After Sara and Chris got their kids and headed back to mom and dad's for bed Mike, Effie and I went to The Afterthought to listen to my partner's jazz trio and chat - it was fun listening to them talk about their courtship, which I never really had time to do before with kids always in tow at weddings, holidays, and vacations.

Tonight we headed to The Pizza Joint to watch Caitlin make pizzas - I skipped my standard Speakeasy and got The Casino - sort of a parallel of U.S. Pizza's Chloroplast Blast - at least in capsaicin quantity. It had grilled chicken, squash, anaheim peppers, jalapeno peppers, onions, mushrooms, red bell peppers, and it was topped with marinated spicy tomatoes. I made the mistake of drenching the first piece in red crushed peppers and although I made it to the end of that piece, I drizzled the next one lightly with leftover ranch dressing from my salad to cool it down a bit.

Now my sinuses are nice and patent. And I'm home without the kids - mom is bravely hosting her own sleepover complete with a tent in her bedroom and Christmas lights strung around the bed, despite my begging for one of them to come home with me and bribing them with going to sleep in my bed and eating popcorn, mom won. I need to get up early and swim so I can prepare for more gluttony for the second leg of the week - My littlest brother and his girlfriend are coming in from Atlanta on Thursday and we've got more plans. All revolving around food. We might slip in a pedicure (the girls). Maybe Toy Story III. Vacation away from the ocean isn't so bad. It's been nice finally enjoying this heat wave I hear everyone talk about while I am huddled next to my space heater shivering in my lab office. As long as you are right by the pool, enjoying the breeze from the Arkansas River, the heat isn't so bad. I hear there is a cold front moving in July 1 - the high will be 90.

I finally got a trial date today - September 21st (didn't he say end of summer? I guess he meant end of Indian summer). Lawyer called me this afternoon for the first time in a month - I've been bugging him incessantly (every other day. Squeaky wheel. Bee in his bonnet). There was a period of time a couple of weeks ago where he didn't return my phone calls for almost two weeks and I got frantic. I am NOT high maintenance - had only called him once a month since I hired him in March. But I started to feel that way, when I said things to his secretary like, "Is he dead, or in the hospital?" and left messages on his answering machine saying, "I'm starting to feel like a jilted teenager!" All in fun, of course. I'm glad I amused him. He's highly respected, works hard, and does all of his own work. I'm lucky to have him. But now I can sit back, cause the wheels are set in motion. It's the lawyer's turn to do the work, to try to bring a settlement by that date. 90 days seems like a long way off, but hopefully it will go quickly so we can all settle down and get our lives on a more even track.

Here's a toast. To vacation, gluttony, and dates.

Rewind. Stop. Play.

I've been using this old-timey transcription machine at the pioneer site, and it reminds me of listening to music in my room when I was in high school. Rewind (hiss). Stop. Play. This was one of my favorites. I liked the idea of it - it pre-dated my dating - I was 14 or 15, I can't remember.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Physician Porn

A German based design firm, Butter, has taken porn to a new level.

Thanks to my escape fantasy, Domestically Challenged, for bringing it to my inbox.

You can see more images and read her blog eloquently about the new soft tissue detail technology bringing radiographic porn possibilities to a whole new level, if you click on that link to her blog above.

Fanciful Friday, indeed!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Infrared Records

It is amazing how you can work alongside someone for almost three years, and have no idea what they are really up to.

I went to this Virgin/Capitol records gig that my partner Rex was putting on last night at the Rev Room, and had a fabulous pre-dinner next door with his wife Jane. We sat down in these furry white chairs to enjoy the show - one of the acts was a 15 year old from Fayetteville and Jane and I were surrounded by her grandma and friends from Clarksville. Grandma had this wonderful guttural Southern accent and described how her mother's musical talent was re-born into her grand daughter - it was evident to the whole family by the age of 2. I asked her about her accent and she proudly replied, "I came over from Germany. When I was little."

So it turns out that Rex is the king of this show, and was chiefly responsible for scouting out the four acts that were auditioning in front of a big exec from Nashville. The acts were all very different - an alternative band, a reggae band (Rex did an amazing keyboard accompaniment on one of their songs), a country singer (Amanda - the 15 year old), and a 16 year old R&B singer/songwriter - Jasmine. I was confused about how this all came about, so I quizzed Jane over the din of the music.

She told me, "They did the Great Arkansas Talent Search, the first one, last year. It has five rounds. The go all over the state to churches and schools. The charge a small entry fee, and donate half back to the church or school. If they like the singing/songwriting, they bring them to the studio to make albums. They are already in the first rounds of 2010, and these acts are the highlights of 2009."

When I walked in earlier and found Rex, he introduced me to Amanda's mom. "This is the mother of the next big country and western superstar. She's going to be really big. Her songwriting is amazing."

I briefly met the slight girl, who was pale and thin, with a ghostly youthful beauty. Unfortunately it was a little loud and crowded so I didn't really get the words to some of the songs, but she was impressive. All the acts were. And they all thanked Rex over the mic for his support.

This morning, Rex came into my office. His studio, I learned from Jane last night, is called Infrared Records. I thought I knew he had a studio, because he recorded some of his jazz piano, but had no idea he was using it to develop local talent. I also remember hearing he has some crazy number of pianos - like 20 or 30 - stored in a warehouse. And that he and his pathologist wife give a lot of $$ to support the local music scene. I said, "You are like the Simon Cowell of Arkansas. Only better, because you are going for songwriting talent and not just singing talent (or mass appeal minus talent). He replied, "Virgin Records loved Amanda. He said the rest of the acts needed a little more work. We are in line to finish her album in the next couple of months - then she is going there to meet the executives and more songwriters, to help her develop her raw talent." He seemed highly pleased with himself, as he should be.

Well, I'm not out scouting talent and mixing and mingling with record bigwigs, but I did swim a mile tonight! I was so happy, cause that 1/2 mile was really rough, and I didn't know if I could do it. But I hit something I remember from last summer - this little endorphin high where I felt like I was gliding above the water. Sure, to the rest of the world (I was especially paranoid cause Sicily's swim coach was there coaching another team), I probably looked like I was struggling, but I felt IT. There's more out there.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Nothing Much to Say

But I'm feeling bloggy, because I managed to get on the Internet with my laptop tonight, which is an anomaly in this household. Laurie's not even here, but she must have teleported her ghost to help me out since the PC decided to call it quits last night, Internet-wise. I'm anticipating Internet-less evenings around here, so I'd better get in my two cents while I have my chance. Tried to download Ramona's Microsoft Live Writer today, but my Mac doesn't like it one single bit.

I'm excited about my new sunglasses. I had to buy a new pair after I accidentally sat on the ones (my first!) that I bought last July while brunching at the Peabody last Sunday. My friend from book club, Kerrie, treated me to smoky bacon, cheese and green onion grits covered in poached eggs and great conversation. Can't wait to return the favor. I loved my glasses so much I tried in vain to get them repaired using multiple avenues (guess my smack-worthy ass can do some damage beyond repair). Luckily I had insurance, and sat on them at the right time - I got $100 toward a new pair. I thought I couldn't top the others but these are amazing. Versace again - I'm addicted to the expensive ones.

I can't wait to hang out with Rex Bell's sidekick in life, Jane - tomorrow night. Hoping to gain much life wisdom, while watching up and coming talent that Rex and Jane support perform in front of Virgin Records. I've never been to such an event, so it should be fun.

John and Sicily are at their dad's this week, but I got to hang out with them at dinner tonight and learned all about Cowboy Camp and Sleepover Camp - the ones they are attending this week. They are having a blast, so life is good on the kid front.

I'm off next week. We originally planned a trip to the Redneck Riviera but the oil spill has ruined it, and frankly I don't have enough dough right now to fly to the Carolinas (or the energy or inclination to drive). So we'll be enjoying summer vacay at Mom and Dad's on the Arkansas Riviera. Got brother and wife flying in from Ithaca this weekend. Sis, bro-in-law and kids coming from Atlanta Sat. thru Tue. and youngest bro coming in later in the week. Lots of family events planned. Looking forward to it.

Swam tonight - for the first time since last year. I had lofty goals of doing a mile, but was proud to just do half, and exhausted from the effort. I remember this being tough going in the beginning last year. Can't wait to hit more 50 meter pools this summer, and try out my dad's swim treadmill (yes, they have those - flow of water to swim against. Haven't tried it yet, but dad says it works).

Finally getting caught up at work with normal duties plus getting diagnoses on the charts at new pioneer clinic. I can't describe to you how crazy it is to have cases pending for almost a month - the disorganization and clutter is so overwhelming, especially for us pathologists who are used to having system in place and turning around cases in 24 hours. But we are finally in line to please the Health Dept. at the end of next week. There's a light at the end of the tunnel.

House will be on the cover of the Real Estate section next Sunday - I spent all evening/night Sunday night getting it in top shape for the newspaper photographers on Monday. My amazing decorator found some wholesale flowers to spruce the place up Monday morning. Hoping someone will fall in love and make a great offer so I can start looking - Sicily and John's favorite thing right now is to plan their new rooms. Sicily's ideas - Rock n Roll, iCarly, tigers, baby animals, and crocodiles. She's all over the map - can't wait to see where she lands. John wants snakes and outer space. What an incredible combo.

Wish I had something more exciting to blog about. But maybe it's OK that life isn't very exciting, right now.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


Ramona, Brett and I headed to the Morgan McDonald's for coffee and breakfast, excited about our well planned day. We were going to hit Greenwood at 11:00 to see the medical exhibit at the Old Jail Museum, then lunch at wineries in nearby Altus, with time for flea markets before heading back - I had to get the kids to an Irish Catholic wedding extravaganza by 7:00 p.m.

It was tough to listen to the music - we were all excitedly telling stories and getting to know each other. We were congratulating ourselves by making it to Greenwood early - around 10:38 a.m. - but were a little confused that Google Maps was leading us down dirt roads with small farmhouses - there was nary a medical museum in sight. Brett, king of navigation, said, "Why don't we head back to that fire station and ask for directions?"

Ramona said, "Where did you see a fire station?"

I rushed in, "Maybe it wasn't a fire station? But there was definitely someone that looked like a firefighter. I saw him."

We eventually ran across what looked like a farm equipment supply warehouse and Brett went in for directions. He came out laughing.

"We are in the Greenwood Community. Greenwood, AR is another 45 minutes or so toward Fort Smith."

We all commiserated in the flaws of Google Maps, and Brett pulled out a good old atlas to help him navigate the back roads to get to Greenwood. At one point we thought we were close, but we came to an impasse at the Mulberry River. We stopped to ask some fishermen for directions, and despite the fact that the man drunkenly staggered to the window with fire-red eyes that suggested we would get no help at all, he was able to listen and give advice.

"You're on the wrong side of the River. Yes, Greenwood is right over there, but you need to go to Ozark or Fort Smith to cross the Arkansas River."

Brett pulled out his redneck drawl - his ancestors were in the Civil War and he is a big Civil War history buff - and answered, "Oh! So this isn't just a fold in the map, it is the Arkansas River. Well, I guess this truck can do a lot of things but it won't float us across."

As we headed toward Fort Smith, I joked that we were going to Greenwood by way of Oklahoma. I loved the fact that even though Ramona was in charge of Google Maps (and that failed), and Brett was in charge of the atlas (and that wasn't perfect, either), both were entirely supportive of each other - there were no blame games or tense moments, just easy jokes. It reinforced the stories they told on the trip and the sentences that they completed for each other. Setting stories straight without judgement or correction. Rushing in to reassure at any sign of insecurity. This was a great marriage.

When we did end up in Oklahoma briefly, due to the lack of a sign going one direction on the highway, Brett laughed. "You are a prophecy, Gizabeth. You should buy a lottery ticket."

I said, "Ya'll were doomed, inviting me on this trip. I am the queen of getting lost. My mere presence has derailed your perfect navigational skills (Ramona had been bragging). I take all the blame."

We finally entered Greenwood close to 1:00 p.m., starving. I bought corn nuts, almonds, and pretzels at a gas station so we would be able to enjoy the museum before lunch without our stomachs growling too much. We had long given up the idea of winery lunches and flea markets.
The Old Jail Museum was enchanting - rich Southern history. But Ramona and I were a little confused when we had seen almost all of the inside and the only medical history consisted of a few old books in glass bookcases. Brett asked the two 80 plus year old female tour guides, "Don't you have a medical display?" He had to talk loud, they were both hard of hearing.

They looked at each other, confused. "Wasn't that last year? Or was it the year before?"

It was time limited, and we missed it. I said, "Don't worry Ramona! We'll just get the rest of the tour. The history is fascinating. We'll call ahead, next time." She worried, "It didn't give a time frame, in the research I did at UAMS. I hope no one has read my blog and tried to find it." I smiled. "Do you really think anyone who reads your blog (she has many international followers) has tried to find this place in the last two months? You can correct it tomorrow."

I got enthralled with two headstones in the backyard and took many pics. One was the oldest known headstone in Sebastian County - the two year old died on August 22, 1859. The engravings were difficult to read - they had been mostly worn away by time. I sat there for a long time getting lost looking at it and reading the article next to it, and finally woke up hearing Ramona say, "She's over here, Brett! I found her. She found something she really likes. She's by the gravestones."
We toured the dog-trot log cabin, the old Redwine Schoolhouse, and the shed full of farm equipment. I listened to a story told by the guide.

"My daddy was the night policeman. He'd round up the troublesome drunks at the bars, and haul them into the jail. Then he'd stop by their houses and tell their wives he was holding them overnight, so they wouldn't expect them until the morning. There was this one vagrant who decided to stay - a lot of the local women traded cooking for the prisoners and the food was mighty good. My daddy got real mad and went to the county, but he couldn't get anyone to help him get rid of the guy. Finally, he had an idea. My daddy was a big guy. He disguised himself as a prisoner one night, and I never heard exactly what he did, but he did something to that man, that night. Or acted like he was gonna do something. And that man ran away from our jail all the way to Booneville. We never saw him again."

We asked the women guides the best place to eat in Greenwood, and they pointed us in the right direction toward The Bulldog, where they use local meat and cut it themselves for their burgers. The atmosphere was comical, but the meat and the chocolate peanut butter pie, homemade by the matriarch who was enjoying weekend-long festivities for her 75th birthday, were amazing.

On the way back I asked them to pop in Lucinda Williams' Little Honey and laid down in the back seat while Ramona read books on her iphone and Brett navigated us safely home. I had to rest up - was headed to a big Irish Catholic wedding downtown with the kids where we danced with nurses, doctors, and Caitlin until 11:00 p.m., despite my friend Katie and I's plan to rally the kids by 9:30. When they dropped me off at mom and dad's, I hugged them and Brett talked about our next trip. "Should we do Crowley's Ridge and Forrest City?" Ramona and I looked at each other and smiled. I said, "Maybe we should head to Benton, next. Call ahead, first, make sure we aren't 6 months late. Make it a half day trip." Ramona agreed. Baby steps. We've got lots of time to make our rounds around the state. It might take a few months, but I'm determined to see some good medical artifacts (and I think they are, too). Despite our complete bust, we had an amazing time. I can't wait to plan the next one. You can see Ramona's version of the experience - Egg On My Face. She also has lots of cool photos. I am exhausted of uploading the few I have managed to insert between the text I wrote last night and have to get to work. More computer voodoo above. Crazy kids burning up the dance floor below.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Life Sucks, And That's Good

My mind is untangling. Detangling. I feel like I've got Sicily's best detangling spray in my nose, and it's huffing its way to my brain. Good stuff.

Due to a fortunate misunderstanding, I've got the kids for the next three weekends in a row. I'm ecstatic. Cloud 9. And mom is taking them so I can still enjoy my day trip Saturday with my friend Ramona and her husband. We're headed to a medical museum in Greenwood - it used to be a jail. Ramona took over the planning since I'm incredibly busy at work this week - and it's nice to relinquish control to a fantastic planner. There's wineries for lunch. Flea markets for shopping. Can't wait to blog about the experience.

Divorce process takes you to incredible highs and lows. Still bugging lawyer for a trial date. I feel like I'm on a slow conveyer belt that is uncontrollable and going nowhere. Must be common, but feels unique.

I've been watching a miniseries this week - Breaking Bad. One of the cytotechs, Tony, brought it to my office last week and told me I would like it. I scoffed. "The last three miniseries I've been introduced to - one carnie, one polygamist, one vampire, have bored me immediately." He replied, "I think you're gonna like this one. I know you. I can tell." Finished my book at the beginning of the week, and gave it a shot. I'm hooked - into 5th episode. Go figure. Someone at work pegged me.

My partner Michelle has been huge emotional support this week, both personally and professionally. This morning we bumped into each other in the doctor's lounge. Sharing stories. One of the radiologists walked in. "Look! It's the dynamic duo." I smiled. Yes, we are a dynamic duo. Almost as much as me and John. I've been wearing a googly-eyed ring all week, and have got tons of compliments. "It's my son - he turned five this week, and made me promise to wear it. Because we are Super Buddies."

Michelle came into my office this afternoon, returning a consult. She is so perceptive. "Do you know how you are different, now? I mean, you've always been great, but you were so neutral. You are finally showing emotion. It's all over the place. It's great." I wondered if she was thinking of the moment I walked into her office, angry as hell on Wed. afternoon, and shut the door. Screamed "FUCK!" at the top of my (whispered - it's a hospital) lungs, fists clenched, spittle flying from my mouth, head spinning around and knees buckling. Then we laughed.

"Do you mean anger?"

"Well, that's nice to see, but no. I mean happiness. You seem happy, overall."

I guess that's good. Life sucks right now, but I'm happy. I'm making plans going to meet my partner Rex's wife for a date at the Rev Room next Wed. to discuss life. We've discussed work a lot, watching Rex play jazz piano, but never life. I think she divorced at a similar time in her life as me, when she was at the end of her residency, with three small boys. I can't wait to pick her brain next week. I've been wanting to talk to her about it for two years. When Rex invited me to the audition/showcase he said, "You need to talk to Jane. She can help, I'll bet."

Looking forward to help. And medical museums. And kid weekends. Detangling. Unwinding. Living.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Could I Smack You On the Ass?

This blog is for all those happily (or not so) married female readers out there. To show you what you aren't missing.

When my friend Jessica e-mailed me a few weeks ago to invite me to see some guy called Todd Snyder play at the Rev Room with her brother and sister-in-law, I decided to try to do it, if it wasn't a kid weekend. So that's what I did last night. Met them around 8:30 or so, when they were finishing up Mexican food at The Rumba Room. We joked at how we wouldn't know anyone - her being from out of town and me not being much into the bar scene. The last time I was at the Rev Room was when I saw my brother's old band, Cooper's Orbit, win the Arkansas Times Battle of the Bands. That was over three years ago.

We were having fun, drinking wine and listening to the intro band - American Taxi. Suddenly a guy walked up to me, "Hey, Liz!" I turned around and recognized him from college - Skip. I gave him a hug and met his wife. My friend was at the bar getting a drink, so I sat down in an empty seat near a guy that was sitting with them. They guy introduced himself, and it turns out we were at Hendrix pursuing the same major - one that he now possesses a doctorate in. He acted like he remembered me, but despite trying to imagine him 30 pounds lighter and with hair, I couldn't place him. He was three years ahead of me. After we had established all that, and I noticed him checking out my ring-less left hand, he said something so crazy I was temporarily vaulted into an alternate reality.

"Before I realized I knew you, my friend and I were watching you. He isn't here now, but he told me that he would buy my drinks for the rest of the night if I went over and smacked you on the ass."

I didn't know what to say, so I laughed perfunctorily. Did he suppose I would be flattered by this statement, and not horribly offended? I was so thrown off I didn't know what to do. I certainly wasn't prepared for his next statement.

"So can I? Smack you on the ass?"

Seriously? He wanted a real response to this question? This guy who had a Ph.D.?

"Um, no."

"Why not?"

"I don't know you very well at all."

"Aw, come on, we've known each other since college. That's almost 20 years."

Still completely derailed, I tried to make this whole conversation seem normal.

"I'm happy to lie. I'll corroborate for you, and tell your friend you did it, so you can get free drinks all night."

I was actually trying to help this guy who had horribly offended me. I shook my head in disgust, got up and walked away, and avoided that corner of the bar for the rest of the night.

The music, with which I was unfamiliar, was actually pretty good. I learned something else, during the course of the evening. The change in men's fashions has thrown off my gay-dar. A group of guys started talking to my friend and I - they were obviously much younger - in their twenties. I looked at two of them - one had on an aqua v-neck and white jeans, and the other wore a tight plaid shirt and a hat that looked like he had stolen it from Oliver Twist. Certainly gay, so safe to converse with. My friend was responding to requests to take their pictures for them on the dance floor, and I just closed my eyes and got lost in my buzz from the music and the wine.

I noticed the way a couple of them were looking at my friend, she is achingly beautiful - and it wasn't jiving with my impression of their sexual tendencies. But I ignored it, until I felt arms around my waist - one of them had pulled me close to him. Definitely not gay. I quickly wiggled my way out of the embrace, turned around, looked up, and flashed a smile at Oliver Twist before I disappeared.

"Jessica, it's almost 1:30 a.m. Where is your brother?"

"I think he and his wife went back to the hotel."

Suddenly, I felt vulnerable. The lead act showed no signs of stopping.

"I'm tired. Ready to go?"

"Sure, but I'm hungry. Can we stop and get food?"

We headed to Fernau for the best late night bar food in town - hummus, fried pickles, and buttermilk battered chicken tenders. I won't even get into the guy that followed us to another table after he mangled conversation drunkenly and dumped ice water all over our laps. It was unbelievable. I was so impressed with Jessica - I thought she was the only person on the planet kinder that me. She turned to him and said, "Um, this is my good friend, and we want to talk. It is time for you to go now." Magically, with a flip of her wrist, he was gone.

So I was happy for my guy-less plans this evening to see Sex and The City 2 with Laurie and Padma - my new kid-less weekend crew - followed by a late (that's the best kind) dinner from 8:30 -10:00 at Cantina Laredo. The movie was predictable but fun and fashionable. I cried, during one part. I was embarrassed, and tried to apologize and explain to my friends over dinner.

"You know when Charlotte (I always identify with the horribly naive ones, but I'm getting more life experience every day and becoming less so) was opening up in front of Miranda, with much cajoling, about how hard it is to actually be a mom? How it sucks sometimes? I can totally empathize with trying to make everything look so perfect on the outside, when really you are drowning on the inside. Feeling so alone, and so guilty for struggling with something you have dreamed about your whole life. Having kids. Trying to be a happy family."

Padma seemed surprised, but I didn't fool Laurie. "I could tell you were crying, and I felt bad. I wanted to hug you, but decided to just ignore it because I thought drawing attention to it would make you uncomfortable."

Women are so intuitive. That's why I like hanging around them so much. Neither Padma nor Laurie have kids, but they get it.

Yes, my ass is smack-worthy. And although I still have an asshole magnet, my experiences in life have helped me to recognize it and create new, firewall boundaries. Need to work on the gay-dar - heterosexual guys in my old bar days wore jeans and black t-shirts - they didn't look like they had just walked off the set of Miami Vice or a gay version of a Dickens musical. I'm learning, though. And I'm certainly not in a rush. I'm still young.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

He's Five!

I know Ramona. This would be a lot easier if I just used your program - I've still got it on my e-mail - LiveWriter, right? In the meantime, My pics will be all jumbly (not a word, but I'm using it anyway) and I'll be too lazy to fix it because I'm hungry and it's time to leave work. But before I go to my laptop internet depraved house (except, magically, when Laurie shows up once a month) I've got to wish my son a Happy 5th Birthday on my blog. Well, I already hugged him and helped him pick out a present at the gift shop - no, he was responsible for the rainbow plaster cow figurine - thank goodness store manager and good friend Vicki was there with the Krazy Glue when he promptly dropped it on the floor and it lost an ear.

Thanks to my amazingly empathic and stunningly gorgeous summer nanny Caitlin for making sure I was a part of his big day. She'll get her own blog down the road - and in a couple of short weeks I am already so indebted to her I owe her books.

Happy 5th birthday John. Whether he's dressing up like a cowboy, cutting up with his cousins, or being a frog in his school program (is that an angelic or devilish smile? Both, I think) - he is sweet and wonderful. Sweetly wonderful.

How did the focally colored font happen? That is called voodoo. And since I accidentally erased two pictures and had to find them again I'm not going to try to fix it.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Mothers in Medicine turns two this week, and although I've only been on board since November, I'm reveling in the festivities. I re-posted a blog I wrote last November called The Sleepover, it is the one I e-mailed to KC the day before she invited me to join. I haven't done any back reading, but the incredible talent I have been a part of over the past few months - good ole doctor/mom advice from experts around the country, along with amazing reader comments - makes me so proud to be a member. My post is scheduled for tomorrow morning - just click on the link on the blog roll if you are interested.

I'm incredibly manic right now. Today is day 1 of my ex's first summer week with the kids - that means 6 nights in a row of kid deprivation - including the all important 5th birthday of my son on Thursday. Oh well - he will get two birthdays - I am planning a big family event at the beginning of next week for my side after a Jump Zone party for him and his classmates on Sunday.

So what am I doing without kids in the house? Eating sushi with my friend Laurie. Taking a nighttime jaunt to Party City to work on gift bags for the party Sunday. Planning day tours of Medical Museums of Arkansas with my friend Ramona. Bitching on the phone to my mom - if you can't bitch to your mom about your life, who can you bitch to? Who else wants to listen to that crap?

Had an incredibly busy day on EV (with oh so ugly personal highlights), but here is the epiphany. I discovered Dark Chocolate Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. Was a little hesitant, after finding out a few months ago that the White Chocolate ones were a red-headed bastard cousin of the original - nothing special. So when I put one in my mouth - I was pleasantly, no shockingly surprised. The dark chocolate and peanut butter took on synergistic effects that vaulted both individual parts to light years beyond the milk chocolate version. Whenever I find something that amazing, I have to share, so I was a ridiculous television commercial all day long. I peddled it to my partner Brent (I was delighted he showed the proper amount of awe without any prompting), my cheery sanitary assistant, and my next door neighbor. I love what my neighbor said. He was a little reserved, when he popped his head in my door. He had already taken a Willy Wonka Scrumdiddlyumptious (sp?) from my chocolate dish - a yummy concoction of milk chocolate, cookie bits, toffee, and peanuts, so he was stretching a little to accept a second piece from me.

"This is going to blow my diet, but it has been that kind of a day."

"Amen. It's like we are paying for missing Monday, on this terrible Tuesday. I can't wait for Friday. If it's any consolation, I've already had three chocolates - I normally only have two."

"Oh my God. This is amazing. It's like an oral-gasm."

I laughed, "I've never heard that term. When I find a great oral combo - like my dried cherry cranberries and almonds - I call it 'Music in My Mouth.' You beat me out, with oral-gasm."

Happy Wednesday Eve. May you have your own oral-gasm. Many of them, I hope.