Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Cat Chronicles, a new generation: Tora.

So, since settling down in residency, we felt it was high time to get a pet.  After searching wide and low for a dog, we decided that our schedules were too unfair for an outside-loving run-around kind of pet.  Thus, we stumbled upon Melvin, my new orange cat.  He is most likely 2 years old, a pudgy rescue from Fresno. He's quite playful, with many idiosyncrasies, which is so far making for full-fledged blogging fun.
so without further ado, I hope you will enjoy, the more permanent version of the Cat Chronicles.

(9/4/11) After searching high and low from my temporary hotel in PetSmart, I used my Kitty Jedi powers to lure a suitable couple into buying me... and a laser pointer just for fun. The man is Japanese, which means they will have plenty of fish. I will now work on convincing them to name me something better than "Melvin". 

9/5/11) I think they have named me "Tora". They keep saying it over and over again. They might have named me "Hey Fatty" for all I know since they repeat that one often as well. I'm undecided if this is better than Melvin.

(9/6/11) I wonder where the swirling water goes in that big white bowl. I think a fish will emerge at some point if I check every single time, and thus I am quite sincere in my determination.

(9/6/11) They can wake me from sleep and expect me to play, but I can't do the same to them. I think there's a double standard here.

(9/8/11) Mental testing part 1: Making the humans ignore the obvious... They've become frustrated enough with me periodically walking across their computers that they completely ignore my secret laboratory being set up behind the human-couch. I'm thinking of installing a mini-bar tomorrow.

(9/18/11) Mental testing part 2: I have been attempting to confuse the humans by putting my "cat toys" in the closet when they aren't looking. They caught on fairly quickly - this confirms that they have memory and deductive processes. However, this does not mean they are intelligent. The constant repetition of "fatty kitty" shows a major degeneration of vocal processes that I can only suspect is related to brain damage.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Fresno Experience - a beginning among many beginnings

     So, little did I know that my job hunt would make me pass over LA entirely and settle in Fresno.  I start my new job tomorrow, happy about my coworkers and teachers, but still scared to put a foot wrong.  I suspect this is the same in every profession.
     I thought moving to the west coast would be a no-brainer.  More sun in fall and winter = less chance of depression and therefore a better work performance and adaptability to whatever is thrown my way, yes?  Very sensible!  I also have family three hours away near LA in case I need a bit more support, or just somewhere to go on a holiday.  Best of all, I have K here 24/7, since he is now working for the same hospital.  We could even car-pool.
     This place is what the big computer in the sky decided, from all my preferences and possibilities.  (the residency match algorithm)  It's also what fate decided, if I believe in fate, which sometimes I do.  So, I moved to a place with palm trees and overall I'm very happy with how things played out.  The apartment is beautiful, my co-residents are wonderful people and I have only to look out the window to get my full dose of vitamin D!
     However, nothing good comes without consequence.  I still paid a price.
     In exchange of eliminating winters, I gave up morning coffee with mom while watching the Berners frolic in the snow.  For the chance to escape possibly malignant residents and attendings, I can't spend a day off casually studying with O, my non-blood-related sister, venting about the above mentioned unmentionables.  Essentially, I gave up one family for another, geographically.
    Still, over my unwise years I have learned that if you want to keep something, you hold onto it, and if you want it to wash away you simply walk along the shore in another direction.  This time, I will not wander in naive complacency as I am ought to do.  Not making a choice to do something or other is, in actuality, indeed making a choice against that thing... only slightly more passively and unconsciously.  If you want something you have to act on it, or it will pass you by as much as you pass it by - and then who is the branch floating out to sea?  In the age of mobile phones, computers, planes and Skype, I'm sure I can create some sort of active communication with those I love and always want to keep near.  I was never a phone person when it came to obligatory calls for the sake of a relationship.  Somehow now, it no longer feels obligatory.  It feels essential.
    So here's to a new beginning, not forgetting the last chapters - only folding them into the new ones and adding to the well worn creases in the pages.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Headache Blahs Begone~!

My Remedy for headache blahs: a creamy cup of strong coffee and two ibuprofen. Brilliant. 
I ain't feelin' no pain!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Musings over breakfast

     There are a few indisputable truths that I have discovered in my quarter of a century of living: Potatoes, when left too long, will sprout and begin to grow despite the unsurmountable darkness of my alley-way type kitchen.  The dishwasher can only truly be fixed by smacking it a couple of times in pure frustration.  Individuality and weirdness invariably have the same meaning when applied to people.  And hot cocoa is the best end to a long day.  However, there is one more indisputable truth that rises above the others and always amazes me.  Love exists, for everyone and everything, even me.
     My years of living with a Japanese man have brought me quite a few new truths that I have adopted into my original list:  Fried eggs taste even better with a little soy sauce.  Hunger is absolutely an emotion in human males.  And geographical distance can always be conquered with enough air-fare.  But most of all, I have learned that everything is better when sitting across the table from someone that loves you despite the sprouting potatoes in the kitchen, the broken dish-washer, and the many other parts of you that make you an "individual".  At the end of the day, to make hot cocoa and green tea with the same hot water and say goodbye to another day, together, this is love.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Ohayou Ohio! (translation = good morning Ohio)

I had my first interview at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio!  It was the first of a long line of interviews, others of which will include Rainbow children and babies hospital in Cleveland Ohio, Hershey PA, Rochester NY, Buffalo NY, UCLA, UCLA Harbor, Fresno, University of California Irvine... to name a few.  It's going to be a long interview trail...

The high points of Nationwide were numerous, but what struck me the most was the hospital's dedication to teamwork and adaptation to the diverse cultures around them.  Also, ALL, and I mean ALL of the residents said that they were happy.  This is a stark contrast to what I am used to hearing from residents.  I think the difference lies in the fact that the residents have a say in what goes on around them and they feel as though they are heard.  

Other good parts about Nationwide include specialty-run floors, a new building opening up next year, flexible placement for outpatient settings (specialty versus non-specialty), quite a few research opportunities and a high caliber teaching staff.  

Columbus itself is a great city - family oriented, musically diverse, and hip to the younger crowd plus good revitalization of the city near the hospital.  Close places to live include german village, victorian village and the short north (the big arts district).  I would probably choose the short north to live in, as this would encourage me to GO OUTSIDE MORE!  

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Hot Spiced Apple Cider

     There's nothing I like more in an upstate-NY fall than hot spiced apple cider.  It makes the kitchen smell lovely and tastes delicious.  I like to place it in my biggest, fattest, favorite mug and just sit with it warming my hands, it's aroma filling my apartment.  I let the stove-produced comfort wash over my senses, and I become instantly happy.
     Unfortunately, if done wrong the whole production foils your plans for a relaxing evening.  As an example of things that can go wrong - you can put in too much orange peel and end up with cider that tastes like hot orange juice.  Trust me, there's nothing worse than hot orange juice.
     So here it is, the Marie method of Hot Spiced Apple Cider, and afterwards an alternative recipe by Vanessa.

Hot Spiced Apple Cider

- Good Quality Cider, enough to fill a small stove-pot - can be farm bought or grocery-store bought.  I tend to find that higher sugar contents like the store bought make better hot cider and taste worse cold.  (and Vice Versa).
- Two Cinnamon Sticks (can't do too much really!)
- Small amount of Fresh Orange Peel (one finger-length, thick ribbon)
- 1 teaspoon Whole Cloves
- 1 Anise Seed "Flower" - do NOT use extract.  Just delete this ingredient if you can't find it.

Heat it all together on the stove until it steams, but don't let it boil.  If it boils it will still taste good, but not AS good as if you did not boil it.  Once it steams, pour it through a strainer into that favorite mug of yours (So that you're not fighting little bits and pieces of clove while you drink!)  And TAADAA! You now have lovely Hot Spiced Apple Cider.

Now if you're not so wild about that, here's an addition:

Vanessa's Hot Apple Cider.
The theme here is "skip the fancy stuff and bring on the booze!"

- Apple Cider
- Cinnamon Sticks per taste
- Rum

Heat the cinnamon sticks and apple cider together.  Once that is done, strain it into a mug, leaving room for the rum.  If you heated the rum with the cider you would lose a lot of the alcohol content.  So, add the rum after the cider is heated, to taste.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Fun with English

     Being a good little German-American, I of course somehow fell in love with a Japanese man (a heresy of sorts in a family that remained %100 biologically German while living in America for four generations - WHAT?! He's not even WHITE?).  Ko-kun, my samurai/daredevil pilot, came to the states alone when he was 15 to learn to fly helicopters.  Unfortunately he was around too many other Japanese people for many years and only learned very cursory English for a long while.... well, until meeting me two years ago, the big whopping Bavarian-American girl who just happened to be fluent in Japanese... go figure.
     Since then we've had quite a lot of fun with rookie grammatical errors and such.  "Fun with English" will be short snippets of the funnier episodes of "English confusion", as I like to call it.

Fun with English - part 1 - De-mystifying Coffee

Ko-kun: "I'm really tired, so I make some decaf coffee now."
Me: "You don't want it to interrupt you falling asleep?  It's the afternoon."
Ko-kun: "No, I want REALLY strong coffee so it wake me up!!"
Me: "Then why do you want decaf?" *Perplexed*
Ko-kun: "Well, it IS so strong! That's why."

    Ko-kun had been operating under the assumption that decaf coffee was a stronger version of coffee because the "DE" portion of the word just sounded stronger.  No matter that words like de-valued and de-capitated exist; these apparently were not big clues for the last 10 years or so.  Words like de-velop and de-licious must have been the misleading culprits.  I of course immediately put this to right.

Me: "So, let me get this straight.  In the mornings at the helicopter company... when you are REALLY tired... you've been drinking DECAF to wake up?!?!"
Ko-kun: *shakes head yes*