Thursday, March 31, 2011

just a couple days

A couple weeks ago I had a rather... surreal few days. It started in clinical. I don't mind telling you now that it's over that my last rotation was on a cardiac unit. For my second-to-last day my preceptor arranged for me to observe open heart surgery. I got to assess the patient beforehand and then go with him down to the PACU and then into the OR.
I got to watch as they prepped the patient and anesthetized and intubated him. I watched the physician assistant harvest the saphenous vein and the doctors saw open the chest. And then they told me to walk around to stand with the anesthesiologist at the patient's head. I peeked over the drapes, and THERE WAS THE MOTHERF*CKING HEART. Pumping away as they worked on and around it.
Mind. Blown.
I have never in my life tried so hard to just NOT TOUCH ANYTHING. I kept having nightmarish thoughts about what if I accidentally touch the sterile equipment? What if I trip and fall over on something important? Or what if I trip and fall on the patient?
I didn't, though.
Everybody was super nice and welcoming to me. One anesthesiology resident even draped me with a warm blanket because the OR is, well, freezing. And the doctor preforming the surgery gave me a running commentary on what he was doing "Now I just attach the vein graft so the blood can flow freely through. I'm basically like a plumber, I suppose." Um. Dude. If you are comparing yourself to a plumber you are seriously the most humble doctor I've met in a great while. Because, no offense to plumbers, but HE HAD THE GUY'S HEART IN HIS HANDS.
I know it is surgery that they do every day but I was impressed at how the doctors and physician assistants and nurses and techs were all steady-handed-chilled-out-ho-hum-just-another-day-at-work meanwhile I'm standing there having an internal existential crisis Is he alive? Is he dead? THE MAN'S HEART IS STOPPED AND HIS BLOOD IS GOING THROUGH A MACHINE. What does this MEAN?
Seriously. Mind. Blown.
The PA had taken me aside before everything got started. "Look," he said. "it's going to be really intense in here. There are going to be sights and smells that you aren't used to so if you need to faint then step away." He explained that I needed to stay loose and comfortable and not lock my knees and meanwhile I was thinking PSHHH I've seen surgery before I'm all over this. Seven hours later I could barely stumble through the front door before I collapsed and passed out on my couch. It was INTENSE.

The next day I had my site visit-- the director of my program came to see me show off my mad history taking and physical examination skillz. It was nervewracking but it went just fine. Apparently they think I'm doing an okay job at this nurse practitioning stuff. I mean, that was my last site visit and they're going to let me graduate, presumably. Anyhow after that stressful couple of days I was in serious need of some R&R.
My friend D invited me to come with her and a group of gals from her program (I won't say what specialty they are but here's a hint: it has a lot to do with lady business and wee, brand new people). Anyhow they were all going to this spa so I tagged along. We headed over to Japantown's Kabuki Springs & Spa which turned out to be JUST what I needed. I paid my $22 bathhouse fee, stripped down, and spent the next couple hours feeling like some kind of goddess.
Bathing in the heated pool, dipping my feet into the cold pool, cooling my face and neck with icy-cucumber cloths, exfoliating my skin with salt in the steam room, lazing on a wooden lounge. It was just lovely. "Wait what?" KC asked me later when I told him about my day, "I was at work all day and you were in a spa full of naked ladies?" YES. And then I went out for drinks with D and the other gals.

And then the next day we had our last palliative care class. The last hour was dedicated to student presentations. People talked about their relatives or friends or patients who had died. Someone read a poem she had written about her father who had died and their tenuous relationship. Someone played a song they had written about a patient. One woman, a pediatric oncology nurse, presented a collage she had made of things that reminded of her of the kids she had taken care of who died. It was basically an hour-long sobfest. It was a nice way to end the quarter (and I mean that sincerely).

I told all my friends in class about the open heart surgery. I'm still telling people. I told my new preceptor yesterday. It STILL blows my mind.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Old Jerusalem Cafe

Why is it that here I am just a few short months away from gradumication, and NOW I finally find a cafe in which I can stand studying?
Woe is me.
I pretty much always study in my apartment (no distractions here, no siree!) with a few rare jaunts down to the lobby with free wifi. I hate studying at Starbucks and Peet's and other similar coffee shops. They're always so damn crowded and the SMELL IS OVERPOWERING. My friend D and I had been trying to study together (or, rather, parallel study since we are in different specialties) but she often goes to Starbucks and I often, well, stay home.
But! We recently met up at the Old Jeruslem Cafe in the Inner Sunset. I almost feel like I should tell you not to go there because then it might not be as spacious and empty but, no, you should go there because I do want their business to thrive.

Things I liked:
Spacious and empty (for me less people = less distraction).
High ceiling that I thought was kind of ridiculous at first (until I noticed there was a bonus second floor nook area).
Bonus second floor nook area.
Yummy vegan lentil soup, hummus, and pita triangles (I'm no vegan but that soup was delish).
When I was there they were playing brain-stimulating classical music.
Wifi (with $5 purchase).
Pleasing atmosphere.
Right off the N, also in an area with less-horrible parking.
Oh, they serve coffee too. If you're into that sort of thing.
That's D in the foreground, playing the part of the smartypants little student. Which she totally is.
Anyhow, I liked the place and I've been back a couple times since then and probably will go back for further study adventures as my career as a student comes to an end.

Oh, and apparently the cafe is also a hookah lounge by night. Huh.

Friday, March 18, 2011

This song is stuck in my head.

Everybody's lookin forward to the weekend.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Partyin' Partyin' Yeah

I keep forgetting that today is Friday. If only there was some sort of catchy song to help me remember that yesterday was Thursday, today is Friday, tomorrow is Saturday, and Sunday comes afterwards.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

White Elephant Sale

So I'm pretty much failing at keeping up my flea market and flea market-related posts in a timely fashion, but I also don't want this to be an entirely flea market-focused blog so I have been attempting to intersperse my flea market posts with other things which means I'm a little behind. Anyhow. A couple weeks ago I went to the Oakland White Elephant Sale. This is an annual event that started in 1959 to raise money for the Oakland Museum.
The sale is held in a gigantic warehouse in the, uh, giant warehouse section of Oakland.

We arrived just before the doors opened on Sunday, ready to rummage. There was already a big line of people.
Just another gorgeous Bay Area day.
That's his game face.
The warehouse was seriously huge but everything was organized and categorized and labeled and there were lots of helpful volunteers available for answering questions.
There was quite a VARIETY of stuff....

There was also checkstand where they would hold your stuff until you were ready to leave.
This was a good thing because we managed to find a few things we liked....
We went on the second day of the sale which meant that nearly everything was half off the marked price, except for the book section where you could buy a grocery bag for $5 and just fill it to the top.

I think we spent the most time in the book section and the bric-a-brac section.
That candy dish was probably the most expensive thing I bought at $5.
We also got some planters.

Now, I believe I have mentioned that KC's family likes to give each other joke gifts? Gifts that eventually get blown to pieces by shotguns out in the desert? Well he bought these for 25 cents (total) specifically for that purpose. He also pointed out that the White Elephant Sale is a good place to look for White Elephant gifts, and I had to agree.

He also bought this which I believe he intends to put up in his apartment.

I found some old classic videos and a game that looks to me like a more fun version of Jenga.

I also picked up this little dollhouse thingy. I'm thinking I'll attach some brackets on the back and hang it up as a shelf (or, rather, I'll get a handy gentleman to do that FOR me).
That little green box? It contains a teensy nativity scene.  One of Joseph's arms needs to be glued back on but it was only 40 cents. I had been wanting a nativity scene to round out my Christmas decorations even though, yes, I do realize that this is March and Christmas is not coming again for many months. The bric-a-brac section had a whole subsection of holiday decor. I don't make the rules, people.

I'm also going to need my handyman to put up this key rack for me. I mean. Not that I can't DO it. I just would rather somebody else did.

For awhile now I had been wanting a set of furoshiki in order to be more eco friendly when I wrap gifties but I hadn't pulled the trigger yet. The sets I've found have all been a bit too pricey for my liking, plus there's going to be that awkward moment of "So can I, uh, have my wrapping sheet back?" So when I saw these pretty (and inexpensive) scarves I decided they would work for that purpose.

Ooh, this is probably my favorite thing that I bought. It is a Christmas decoration box... thing. I think it must have been somebody's Christmas craft. All those little figurines are glued in place and I believe the box itself is also glued together. I don't know why I love it SO MUCH but I do.

And now I have to wait a whole year before the NEXT White Elephant Sale.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Because of an emailing snafu I recently found myself fishing out my old planbook and using it to piece together my clinical experiences from last summer.
I buy my planbooks in the summer for the upcoming academic year because I'm a student and I've been a student for a long, long time and now it's just habit so I do wonder what might happen if I switch to some other planbook-buying pattern. The point here is that I was looking for information from June 2010, which is the last month in that particular planbook. But I confusedly opened the FRONT of the book first and quickly realized I was in the WRONG SECTION-- Summer, 2009.

There are weeks and weeks and weeks with nothing written in them. Weeks when I was in LA or when I was traveling back and forth between LA and SF. Weeks when I was still wrapped up in an emotionally abusive relationship. I vaguely remember feeling like I was waiting for something. Waiting for the Crazy Ex to get his life figured out so that my life could be figured out. Because at the time my life was essentially an extension of his life.
I have jumbled, dim memories from this time. I see that I blogged, there are indeed archives. In July I nebulously talked about being unhappy, in August I avoided any difficult subject altogether. Huh. Nebulously unhappy and avoiding difficult subjects. Yep, I'd say that about sums up the summer of 2009.

There are also some photos from that summer. This is my favorite.
I think it is the most accurate-- no fake smile, no cheerful pose. Just me. Lost and confused.

As I mentioned, the pages of my planbook are largely empty from that time. I started writing in it again around the end of August. The things I wrote then? Oh, just normal things. But my handwriting is big, scrawling, shaky, dark. CALL HEALTH CENTER my planbook seems to scream at me.
4:15 APPT 4761 1431 1414 RESCHEDULE

Regular school stuff but written frantically, chaotically. Deep indentations in the paper where my pen was pressed hard.

What I see now when I read those words?

I'm trapped.

I'm afraid.

I have lost myself.

I was getting organized for school and clinicals but at the same time I was drowning.

I once had an English professor in college who told my class that the literary concept of foreshadowing is basically a load of crap because you only notice it when you look back on it after the big foreshadowed event has already taken place. When I look at that photo and page through my planbook I feel chilled and dizzy and anxious because I know what was about to happen. My tenuously balanced life was about to come crashing down; the masked monster was about to reveal his true form.
And, spoiler alert, we know that I made it out alive and well. But looking back at the things from that time is chilling. It reminds me of just HOW lost and confused and in fathomless denial denial DENIAL I was. And it makes me, for the hundredth, or thousandth, or millionth time grateful for the chain of events that wrenched me away from the dismal path on which my life was set.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Birthday Bo

Well, at the risk of turning this into a Kitteh Blog I'm going to post some photos of my cat. Because, while I DO have lots of other things that I'd like to share with you, today is the Ides of March which is also one Bowie Pants Wolverine's (estimated) seventh birthday.

Permit me to reminisce for just a few moments?

I remember when he was just a wee baby kitten.
Melt my heart, whydontcha?

I remember when he was so little that I used to keep him in a box so he wouldn't get lost in my room.
Only 3 weeks old when I got him, I used to feed him that fake cat milk stuff.

I remember when he was smaller than my shoe.

I remember those hot LA days when my roommates and I would put him in the freezer to cool off (with the door open of course).

He loved snuggling and napping with my roommate's cat, Lucy, when we all lived together. Three girls, two kittens, one iguana, and a whole lot of Smirnoff.

He's always been pretty good with other animals. His friendship with Jasmine was based on their common interest in napping.

He is good with kids, too. Even now when I see my nieces and nephews their first question is usually "Did you bring Bowie?"

He will only drink running water. Sometimes it is frustrating because he'll get up around 6 and start yowling at me from the bathtub until I stumble in and turn on the faucet for him. Even though HE HAS A PERFECTLY FINE WATER DISH. Nope, His Majesty prefers water in motion.

But he's a good kitty. A tolerant kitty.

A BIG kitty.

I love him, in case that wasn't obvious.

Happy Birthday lil Bowiepants. I'm so glad I paid $25 for you at that random East LA animal shelter/pet store (?) that seems to exist in a parallel universe (since I tried to go back there and it had apparently been transformed into an abandoned warehouse). I'm lucky to have you.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Monday, March 7, 2011


"Oh man. That guitar they had at Guitar Center was so sweet. Now my guitar sucks."


"You know what I mean? It's like I just shouldn't have even played that nice guitar. You know?"


"It's like.... Think of it like if you drove a Ferrari and then you went back to driving your car. Your car would feel lame and slow."

"Well. My car just IS lame and slow. But I also don't care."

"But you can IMAGINE if you drove a Ferrari, right? And then your car wouldn't seem as nice?"

"Okay. Can you just try explaining this again? Try and think of something that will make sense to ME."


"Something I can relate to?"

"Okay... Let's see... imagine you rode, like, the best horse ever. Like imagine you rode Seabiscuit. No, wait. Imagine you rode Black Beauty and then you went back and had to ride a regular horse."


"Yeah. You know Black Beauty, right? You're riding through a beautiful forest with long flowing hair-"

"Wait, me or the horse?"

"Uh.... Both! You both have long flowing hair."

"Okay I get it now. Your guitar sucks."

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Shower Power

I hosted a bridal shower last weekend. A friend of mine is getting married in June and I offered waaaaaaaay back when she got engaged about a year and a half ago to host! a! shower! because! I! was! so! excited! I had also recently escaped the clutches of a sociopath so I was excited about pretty much everything life had to offer me at that point in time. I remember noticing how SWEET the air smelled and how AMAZING it was to just... drive my car and listen to music.
So! I offered to host the shower awhile back and then schedules got crazy and the bride traveled to Africa and back and I have classes on some SATURDAYS this quarter so we kind of had to pickadate right quick fast and in a hurry. So! Last weekend was the shower! I probably could have just skipped that whole rambling backstory, I guess.

ANYHOW. Shower! The bride wanted a western/horsey theme so we ran with it (galloped with it?).
Please to be noticing the Breyer horses as table decorations.

I made soap in the shape of little horsies for party favors.

I was a bit worried they would melt since I had to transport them from SF to LA so I also made a backup party favor.
I got the idea for this from the comments on Swistle's post about party favors.

(In case you were wondering what songs are on the CD, here is the list. I made it in a bit of a hurry so it was just made up of songs that I figured people would mostly like and that I mostly like and that have the word love in them.)
Rick Rolled!

We also had bandanas for everybody to wear.
Breyer horse!
We played Rope the Cowboy, which involved attempting to use a lasso in the traditional fashion after a couple glasses of champagne. I can't take credit for that brilliant bit of tomfoolery, it was my co-host's idea. I did bring the Pin the Tail on the Donkey game, though (also fun post-champagne).
The cowboy's face isn't normally empty and creepy like that, it was a photoshopped pic of the groom.

And here we have the prize bags. Now, I don't want to oversell these but they pretty much represent a stroke of GENIUS by yours truly.
You see how they're all labeled with something that horses like? Well if you won a game then you got to pick a bag. Inside the Sugar Lumps bag was a bottle of brown sugar & vanilla bubble bath and one of those shower loofah shmoosh thingies. Inside the Carrots bag was a bottle of Yes to Carrots lotion and some Yes to Carrots lip balm. Inside the Apples bag was a kitchen timer shaped like an apple and a little red veggie scrub brush. GET IT? GET IT? Well. I thought the prize bags were pretty awesome.

I also got to wear my tiered skirt and purple cowboy boots so I'd say the party was a win.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Flea Market- Catching Up

Gah, it looks like I need to tailgate my flea market posts at a closer distance so I don't have a backlog of faux-artsyish photos of my purchases to filter through.

Anyhow, apparently my Breyer horse, erm, hobby (?) is still going strong.
Yes, I think I'll stick with hobby as the word choice here. It's a Breyer-horse-buying HOBBY. Because Breyer horses are COLLECTIBLES, it says so right on their web site.
I feel like flea market shopping in general can be considered a legit hobby. I mean, it's like antiquing but for people with less money.

I also have a glass-buying obsession craze THING hobby.


I didn't get a goodie bag at BlogHer because I didn't spring for the full conference pass. But I DID pilfer from my roomies' reject pile. One of the things I took was a plastic sandwich box thing made by Hillshire Farms. I used it for my PB&J that I pack in my bag for clinical (and usually don't have time to eat until my drive home). It is the perfect size and shape and keeps the sandwich from getting all squished. I kept kicking myself for not taking more of them since that was one of the less popular swag pieces but then I found THESE little sandwichy boxes at the flea market.
And aren't they great?

I also bought this little lady for couple of bucks. She is very wee. I took a picture of my hand so there would be some kind of scale to show you how small she is. But then, my hands are also pretty small so I guess it doesn't give you that much more information.
So, go with me on this-- you're looking at a photo of a smaller-than-average hand holding a weeish matryoshka doll.

And there were more wee dolls nested inside!
Don't they look nice on my shelf?

I bought these trays actually a few months back but I hadn't taken a photo yet so I'll show them to you now. I heart them.
So, basically, now I need to have an awesome retro dinner party so I can use my awesome retro serving trays.