Sunday, November 16, 2008

Let it not snow...please?

I learned early on that mid-November in Wisconsin is the beginning of the snow season, AKA hell. We had some flurries last week, and then last night we had a real shower....nothing out of the ordinary, but when my friend left our house last night there was a definite layer of snow on her car. My heart literally hurt to see it, because it's very beautiful, and yet so utterly ominous.

It was gone by the morning. I was surprised that I felt a little disappointed. That's the thing about snow--to some degree, I absolutely love it, and I love the winter. If winter lasted two months here, maybe even three, I think I could stand it. But after having experienced the euphoria of 'the first snow' last year, I know that what last night really meant was the beginning of four, maybe five, months of freezing, muddy, icy miserableness. In that light, it doesn't seem quite so lovely.

To be fair, the next month will probably not be miserable. Pre-Christmas ice and snow is kind of sweet and charming, and breaking out the boots and parka is kind of fun--for a little while. It's seasonal. People expect it, even look forward to it. But after the joys of the holiday season fade, we begin to grow weary...and then by late January we're all pretty crabby...and by the end of February, we're just pissed off...and by mid-March we've pretty much lost our will to live.

I know I need to live in the moment, to have a less negative outlook. Maybe this winter won't be as bad as the last. Maybe my *3.5 week (WOOHOO!!)* southwest sojourn will revive me and break up the winter just enough to get me through.

I will try to enjoy the winter this year. That's my goal. But I can't guarantee that my next five posts will not be about how much I hate the Wisconsin climate. I mean, seriously--it was 95 in El Cajon today. 95!!! I'm a desert creature. I'm still not entirely sure I'm made for this place.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Well, this country continues to move like a drunk turtle in its convoluted (and confounding) journey toward, presumably, equal opportunity and equal rights for all of its citizens. Last night was unspeakably glorious and yet quietly, bitterly tasteless; the glory, overall, masked the tastelessness, but I'm very, very sad that my home state contributed as much to the latter as to the former. It seems like Americans just always need someone to pick on. Sure, we will elect someone as President who is not lily white--and that's absolutely wonderful--but to compensate, we will literally strip another minority of their right to marry the person they love. It's beyond understanding, it's utterly wrong. The California Supreme Court upheld the legal right of all of its citizens to marry the person of their choosing, and then a bunch of self-righteous, ignorant people with, apparently, nothing better to do on the eve of a truly momentous election, ran a spiteful, wasteful, frighteningly well-organized multi-million dollar campaign that accomplished what? The hurt and humiliation of a minority that had finally been vindicated by their home state? I personally see no other outcome, though so many seem to be celebrating the fact that their version of marriage has been 'protected'--whatever that means.

I guess in some ways, it's not that surprising. A certain fraction of conservatives knew they were going to lose this election. And they didn't really care for John McCain, anyway, since he wasn't basing his entire campaign on achieving 'moral' victories for the religious right, as Bush did. So because he was going to lose, and because he wasn't going to push their moral agenda anyway, they had to find another way to bring bigotry back into this election.

Nation-wide, bigotry lost. I am so profoundly grateful. In January we will have a President who is intelligent, introspective, well-spoken, well-educated, and who utterly exemplifies whatever remains of our ever-touted American dream. Enough Americans finally managed to recognize that those qualities matter, and that race does not.

California, however, is losing so much of the progressiveness that once gave it its sparkle, and its power. In Florida and Arizona, it's equally disappointing but perhaps less critical, because the rest of this country looks to California as a harbinger of social change. I guess I just want to ask 52% of California voters why--honestly, why, how--they feel good about overturning the mandate of their state supreme court, a body that is there to help us legally uphold the constitution and the rights of all people, simply in order to bar their fellow citizens from their personal happiness?

I wish this whole entry could be about singing the praises of Barack Obama, and of our country, which did the right thing and voted him into office. It's hard to be 100% happy, though, because it means forgetting about a group of people who really got screwed yesterday, many of them people I am friends with, people I love and respect. We have made strides, but we have so far to go. I think overall, I'm glad to have time to recover from the stresses of this election. It's bittersweet, however, because here are Matt and I happily planning a wedding, looking forward to the joys and priveleges of a shared, married life, when others perfectly equal to us in love and dedication have just been told, yet again, that they aren't allowed to do the same.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Second annual weekend in Door County, Uncut and Uncensored!!!

Ok, don't get your hopes up, our weekend wasn't that was more relaxing, and lovely. We got up there Thursday night, and commenced the touristing on Friday morning, which was great, because we had an extra day this time. We walked around Fish Creek with the dogs, who got an obscene amount of attention, unsurprisingly, and we ate sandwiches in Peninsula State Park. We then did some wine tasting at Stone's Throw Winery, which we've done before, and which is lots of fun. Bought a few bottles of wine, went home, and played with the dogs outside. The dogs had arguably the best weekend of their short, destructive lives. We had them outside at every opportunity--did a ton of ball-throwing for Charlie, and Vinny spent most of his time growling at other inhabitants of our condo complex or rolling in goose poop (classy, as always). Here are a couple videos of the dogs (and us) having fun:

We also watched the presidential debate, about which I will only make this one itty-bitty innocuous comment: gobama.

Then on Saturday, we took a 10 mile bike ride through Peninsula State Park, which was unequivocally gorgeous and perfect that particular day, and later on bought some souvenir jam and mustard and then ate delicious Italian food at home while watching more of John Adams. Our night was spent mostly indoors due to the weather, which brought light rain and at least a ten degree drop in temperature, but it was actually AWESOME because our condo had a fireplace--oh my god, I love fireplaces.

We were sad to leave today. It was so nice getting away, and once again, beautiful Door County succeeded in reviving us after a stressful couple of weeks. It's so nice to be reminded of the loveliness and diversity of Wisconsin--there's really a lot of wonderful things here, and it's awesome to be able to take advantage of them.

In closing, GO BREW CREW!!!! Our adopted team is going to the playoffs, and we couldn't be more excited.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

"America, we are better than this" Part Two

Ok, to set the record straight, I'm not a Democrat. I'm really not. And hey, I might be worse things, actually! But that's beside the point. Anyway, I don't want this blog to become Obama Fest '08. I like the guy, really I do. He's intelligent, accomplished, inspiring and idealistic, and I can't help but want my country to be headed by someone of that caliber. But in general, I think the two party system is crap, and I live for the day when there are legitimate third and fourth party candidates and we actually have the luxury of 'choice' in this country.

For now, however, I just implore anyone and everyone who ever liked McCain (and I count myself among them) to watch his running mate Sara Palin's ABC interview with Charles Gibson. You can find most of it online. I think it spells out what we are really going to be voting for (or against) in November. Palin's inexperience (ignorance?) speaks volumes for itself in this interview, and I have no desire to delve into the ineptitude of her politics. I will say, though, that as a woman--a woman who truly believes that women are going to change the nature and course of this nation, and ultimately this planet--I am supremely disappointed, and I'm not ashamed to say it. She comes across as ignorant and uninformed, utterly contrived--a 'pitbull', sure! But to what end?? That she tries to fist-pump her way out of every situation in which it's so pathetically obvious she has no idea what she's talking about?? I'm embarrassed. I want Hilary back, and I never even loved Hilary that much to begin with!

Well, sorry. That's the end of the political rant, for the time being. I promise the next entry will be on giving injections, assessing babies, and having no idea what I'm doing in the hospital--perhaps a bit more light-hearted, but multitudes less important.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

"America, we are better than this."

I'm compelled to write, briefly, while watching Obama accept the democratic nomination.

"John McCain voted with President Bush 90% of the time. Do you really want to elect someone as President who thought that Bush was right 90% of the time?!"

Whoever reads this (and I don't blame you if you've given up on me by now), did you watch this speech? Oh my god, might we possibly have an intelligent, articulate, accomplished, inspired person as OUR PRESIDENT??! I still can't even believe it. I really don't want to get my hopes up, but as time goes on, I become more surprised and excited by this man, and more invested in his bid for presidency.

"That is the promise of America. The promise that we not only work and succeed for ourselves, but we work and succeed because we rise and fall as one nation."

WHAT? We should care about EACH OTHER in this country?

Could this possibly happen? Is there even the slightest chance that social security will be available to my generation when we're unable to care for ourselves? That our children and our children's children will always have access to health care? That this country will even survive nuclear attack or environmental defeat long enough for our children's children to care about their health care??

"I've got news for you, John McCain: we ALL put our country first....what has also been lost during these last 8 years is our sense of common purpose. We may not agree on abortion, but surely we must agree that we need to reduce the amount of unwanted pregnancies in this country....I know there are differences on same-sex marriages, but surely we believe that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve to visit their loved ones in the hospital, and to live lives free of discrimination...."

"I stand before you tonight because all across America, something is stirring. What the nay-sayers don't understand is that this election has NEVER been about me. It's about you."

"America, we cannot turn back, we cannot walk alone."

I didn't expect it, but this was a pretty powerful moment in my life. I really do believe that my future rests somewhat on this election, and I'm not really sure we will have a moment like this in American politics for a very long time.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Welcome to the Brickleach Zoo!

Well. Where do I start?

I know I've written about Snoop the devil cat several times, and as a quick update on him, he continues to emulate satan increasingly accurately. That might be a little too harsh--I think my opinion on this subject is slightly skewed due to the fact that I'm realizing I'm just not really a cat person. Devil cat, like most cats, is supremely self-interested. He really has no desire, ever, to be cute and nice and cuddly like a good pet should be. He harasses people and other animals indiscriminately, just for his own amusement. He wakes us up mrrrowwwing at 4:30 in the morning because he's bored and wants Vinny to come play with him. He breaks out of the house and is gone for days, and then I receive phone calls in the middle of the night from people living several blocks away saying that my cat is in their yard, and he seems SO very scared, and he's trying to climb up their screen door and get into their house. Yeah, scared. Right. His entire life revolves around finding new people or animals to mess with, and they are merely pawns in his twisted little game.

So, in conclusion: I do not believe that Snoop deserved to be on kitty death row. He's been rather amusing at times, he's kept Vinny company, and he hasn't scratched the shit out of me in at least three weeks now, so we're on relatively good terms. However, I would not be terribly upset, you see, if he miraculously found a home on a farm somewhere with hundreds of other devil cats and just harassed them for the rest of his life.

Second best option: my teacher friend, for god knows what reason, thinks he's cute, and wants to adopt him. SWEEEEEET!!!!!

Don't feel too bad for her. She's a self proclaimed cat person, and she's had Snoopy at her house several times when we've been out of town, so she pretty much knows what's up. She just has a higher pain tolerance, I guess.

So devil cat is going to Jeanne's house this coming Friday before we go on vacation, and cross your fingers, he will likely end up staying there. Until, of course, he breaks out, and makes it back to our house, and, like the worst nightmare you can imagine, I hear him mrrowwwing out in the yard at 4:30 in the morning. I really don't want to jinx myself, but it wouldn't surprise me in the least.

In anticipation of all of this, Matt and I were talking about how Vinny will be lonely, and how perhaps we should adopt another dog. We were sort of torn on this, but we decided that when we get back from our trip in August we would see if we could find a dog who is a bit older, calmer, house trained, and could be a companion for the Vin. Probably one day after we made this decision, one of the cutest dogs I have ever seen shows up in my neighbor's yard. My neighbors inform me that her owner's father is dying of cancer, and he's lost his job, or some terrible story like that, and they'd really love to keep her but they already have two dogs and two kids so they're hoping they'll be able to find a good home for her.

The next afternoon she's chilling in our house.


Charlie, an aussie/beagle mix. She's younger than we had originally wanted (7 months), but she's the SWEETEST little girl and she's really been very good. The funniest thing is, she loves Snoopy, and now we officially have a trio of terror going on:


Like I said before, if all goes as planned, devil cat will be re-homed in less than a week and we will officially be only a dog family, from here on out, FOREVER. But surprisingly, Charlie's addition has kind of brought some peace to the household. The cat is so excited about her that he's actually kind of shut up for the past few days, and Vinny keeps himself occupied trying to steal her bones and chew toys, and the dogs run themselves half to death in the backyard and are relatively quiet inside. Charlie is an absolute lover and she follows us around constantly, wagging her entire rear end and smiling. It's nice.


So, that's the news here. Otherwise, I'm finished with summer session in four days, we're going home next Saturday, and we are enjoying the sun and clear skies. Having another dog is a great excuse to go on walks, and sit outside chatting and throwing the ball (Charlie is exceptionally good at fetch, and she makes Vinny more excited about the game, although he really just goes after her instead of the ball). Summer continues to be lovely.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Beer Fest.

Ahhhh, summer in Milwaukee. It's like one big frat party. Every weekend there is some sort of 'fest'--Summerfest, Irish Fest, German Fest, Cheese Fest, Polish Fest, etc. And then there are the fests that try to trick you by not having 'fest' as the suffix: River Splash, Storming of the Bastille, Indian Summer, the list goes on and on. While I appreciate that outwardly these are all celebrations of diversity, it's become clear to me that really, every single festival revolves around the same thing: beer. I don't know why we kid ourselves anymore. We went to Cheese Fest yesterday with visions of blocks and blocks of free, wonderful, Wisconsin cheese. In actuality, a few scant bites of cheese were consumed, followed by beer after beer after beer after beer....not that we were disappointed. The weather was absolutely perfect, there was tremendous people watching, the live music was entertaining, and there was even a drag show. You might ask: what do drag queens have to do with cheese?!?! Well, here's the answer: beer. Lots of it.

Matt enjoys these activities because he's constantly hanging out with large groups of future nurses. Life's not bad if your Matt these days. Evidence:


The people I've met through my program are obscenely fun, and hardly a day goes by when there isn't some grand scheme to get a whole bunch of people together and go to a 'fest,' or have a bbq, or storm the public pool. Summer is flying by, though! The mosquitoes and lightning bugs aren't quite as numerous anymore, our second summer session is winding down, and Matt and I are excited about our August plans: home for a week and then to Dallas to visit Chris and Cindy.

Life continues to be action-packed and lovely. We're trying to live it up this summer, knowing now what awaits us around the middle of November...

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Just an update...

Well, a day in the life of me right now may consist of any or all of the following: running tests on fake urine; giving my lab partner a bed bath or looking into her ears or just generally being waaaaay up in her business (and she in mine); learning about genetic diseases or cancer or kidney problems; sticking my own finger to test blood glucose; catheterizing a few headless, limbless dummies, or perhaps dressing one of their many serious looking wounds; writing a nursing care plan; getting mutilated by monstrous mosquitoes while sprinting to and from the car; hyperventilating/getting a fat lip/spraining my ankle in a soccer game. You know, the usual.

Time is FLYING by, and I really love school. It's fun! We are always doing things; this is so key for me. I mean, the book learning can be important, but I really learn best by doing. I cannot wait to get into the hospital. I start clinical rotations in late August; I will be doing med/surg once a week and OB once a week, along with associated classes. I am already sleeping better than I have in years--I come home from school absolutely exhausted and actually, it's a great feeling. Nursing is so much about competency, and becoming competent at a skill can be stressful but is also very rewarding; every day I come home having learned to do something useful, something that I will be good at, something that will help people in some way. It's a very practical, applicable way of learning, and I like that. I never feel like I'm wasting my time or my brain space or my limited attention span on something that I don't need and want to learn.

And on top of all that, I've met some great people in my program and we've been having a blast getting to know each other. It's been a pretty action-packed summer so far, and there's much more to come: trips to Maine and San Diego and Dallas, lots more school, festivals on the weekends, much outdoor activity despite the humidity and the bug problem....although, speaking of bugs, there is one unexpected and fantastic up-side to the heat and humidity: LIGHTNING BUGS. Quite possibly the most awesome insects I've ever in my life seen (I'd never seen them before this summer); our lawn is like a fairy wonderland at twilight. They are absolutely everywhere, and Vinny is fascinated by them!

So, all in all, besides the sprained ankle and numerous mosquito bites, things are great right now. Summer is wonderful. I love being a student again!

Monday, May 26, 2008

And Summer Sprung

Time went so slowly this winter, but now that it's warming up the days seem to fly by. It definitely feels like summer today; hot and humid, and everyone is outside. Matt and I ran down to the track in Hart Park and did some laps, and we later ate dinner out in the yard, which was wonderful. The temperature was perfect, the breeze ever so slight. All of our neighbors were out, too, barbecuing, planting, chatting with each other. I got shot in the head by a nerf machine gun (our 5-year-old neighbor, Sam, has an incredible collection of harmless but ever-present weapons), but managed to get hold of one later and revenge was both close-range and extremely satisfying. Everyone is happy.

We went to Philadelphia this weekend for Claire's wedding. She is the first close friend of mine to get married, and hers was also the first wedding in which I've played the part of bridesmaid. As such, it made me realize just exactly how much work and planning and stress goes into something that is over in the wink of an eye. It was a beautiful wedding. I have known Claire since third grade and it was surreal but also very comforting seeing her marry the man that she is so obviously meant to be with. I know how cliche that sounds, but really, if you know Claire, and if you know Dave, you know that there is absolutely not a better match--it's almost uncanny how perfect, and necessary, they are for each other. I love them both very dearly. The wedding was good for me, too, and for Matt. I think it renewed our excitement about our own--not that we aren't always excited about it, but it's easy to get caught up in the stress of the planning and the details, and it's nice to be reminded that the best part of the whole thing is a) what it actually means, and b) having all the people you love together to celebrate it. I came away from the whole thing with tons of ideas and also with a very real sense of how soon this is going to happen for us--we are so excited. We are so ready.

Here are a few pictures from the wedding:

Other than all that, I am starting school tomorrow. I can't believe it. I'm more nervous than I'd like to admit; I feel like a kindergartener on the first day of school. I have no idea what I'm in for but I'm sure it will be a good thing overall. I can't wait to meet some new people and to gain some insight into what I actually want to do with (some of) my life. We're kind of thrown into the whole patient assessment thing right away, so within a couple of weeks I bet I'll have about 100 funny stories to tell. Check back for updates.

Wow, it suddenly became exceptionally windy outside. I wonder if we're destined for another epic thunderstorm tonight....

Sunday, May 4, 2008


Here is what a winter in the midwest teaches you, first and foremost: spending a couple of hours, even a few minutes, in the backyard or in the park, out of the confines of your small, well-insulated home; feeling the sun on your arms and legs, having the freedom to walk to the grocery store or the coffee shop or even just down the street; watching dogs and children smile and romp and roll around in the grass while your neighbors build a play house and plant new flowers in their front yard--these are by no means our unalienable, god-given rights. We are subject, always, to the whims of a natural force over which we have no control, and while Wisconsin may remind us of that fact (FAR) more often than California, we will always be reminded, nonetheless.

For me personally, this means two things. Firstly, I have never been so acutely aware of how important and invigorating it is to be outside, and now, any opportunity I have to do so has become almost an obligation, a responsibility. Secondly, I am beginning to understand why so many people put up with these horrendous, endless winters, why so many people spend their entire lives here, and never want to leave: it's because when the snow finally melts, and the sun appears, there is revealed, suddenly, alarmingly, the greenest trees, the brightest flowers, and the happiest human beings you will ever in your life see. It is such a hopeful, healthy, determined resurgence that I can't help but feel that we have been granted the opportunity to start over, to really truly make and meet our New Years resolutions, and to re-learn how to appreciate every single precious waking moment that we have.



Tuesday, April 1, 2008


I'm honestly not really sure how to begin this post. I owe you an's been a good long while since I wrote, and it probably seems like I either fell off the face of the planet or just gave up on this whole blog thing altogether. But I assure you it's neither; on the contrary, it's more the fact that my life has been so chalk full of adventures and love and family that whenever I've gotten a spare moment I've been pretty much overwhelmed at the prospect of trying to write about it all. So I put it off, and now I'm even more overwhelmed but also feeling very guilty for neglecting what has turned into one of my most favorite projects. In conclusion, I will try to keep this entry shorter than it could be, and I have a good excuse: almost unbelievably, what lies ahead for us is infinitely more exciting than what has already been, and I promise that I will do a good deal more writing about all that as it comes. So this is just a quick catch-up, so that I'm no longer bogged down and can move on with all the joys that spring is slowly bringing.

In the interest of time, this will be a summary of sorts. I apologize for the formality, but I actually really like roman numerals.


Yeah, I'm aware that everyone and his/her mother already knows. But I still believe it's exciting enough news that the headline warrants caps and numerous exclamation points, and I own this blog and make all initial and final editing decisions, so there.

I sincerely apologize if we haven't gotten around to informing everyone of this fact individually, but hey, that's what the grapevine is for! And by the way, we have had an unbelievably effective grapevine. I think I was the first to inform about, oh, two people. Everyone I talked to after that was pretty much like, "yeah, old news." But in a happy way, of course. :) It's hard to say much more about this whole thing; the story is pretty sweet and involved my birthday, a scavenger hunt, and a ring combining heirlooms from both of our families (it's beautiful and perfect). At the risk of being waaaaay too mushy, I will just say that we are ridiculously in love and terribly excited about, and comfortable with, the prospect of spending our lives together. We've already started planning what I hope will be an intimate, family-oriented wedding, so there may be more details about that to come since I'm admittedly already obsessing about REALLY dumb things like possible wedding cupcake designs.

II. We went on vacation -- TO SOME PLACE WARM!!!!!!!

After careful consideration, I decided that this headline also deserved caps and exclamation points.

We went to Belize for a week with the Leaches, and had an absolutely wonderful time. We stayed in a resort right on the beach and it was gorgeous; here's pretty much the view from Jeff, Pat and Alex's room, and then a look back at our hotel from the water:



Pretty nice, huh? I can't even begin to explain how wonderful it was to feel the sun and the warmth; it was in the 80s most of the time we were there. We saw and did so much cool stuff while we were there, including but not limited to:

-Baking (aka, managing to procure an epic sunburn on day 1. Dumb.)
-Drinking Belikin Beer. A lot. Almost all the time, in fact.
-Visiting the Mayan ruins at Lamanai:


-Floating on inner tubes through lengthy caves with really cool rock formations.
-Petting Tapirs at the Belize Zoo.
-Taking ridiculously tiny airplanes out of the San Pedro airport on what seemed like a daily basis:


-Enjoying spectacular scenery at all times of the day and night:



In conclusion, it was amazing and I owe the Leaches my life for taking me along. No, really, I owe them my life, you know why? Because Milwaukee got 15 INCHES OF SNOW while we were gone. I swear. *Side note: that makes this winter officially the second snowiest on record. Sigh.


Ok, I'm officially a fan of the sensationalist-style headline and I won't apologize for it. Plus, we really did have a fabulous time with my parents last week. They stayed at the Pfister, one of my most favorite old hotels, and I think I managed to show them almost every part of Milwaukee worth seeing. We of course went to the art museum and the Third Ward, had many awesome dinners, took Vinny for some nice walks, and talked a lot about wedding stuff. Thankfully, it was sunny for several of the days they were here (and even made it into the 40s), so I wasn't too mad when, inevitably, it snowed one day; and we tried to make the most of it by acting like snow is really nice and pretty and novel, which I know now is COMPLETELY untrue. I was sad to see them go but very happy that we got to spend a substantial amount of quality time together, especially since I was still on spring break and didn't have to work (yay!).

IV. I'll be damned--SPRING IS COMING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(Knock on wood.)

We had a bit of a thunderstorm the other night and I lay awake (because I never sleep well during thunderstorms) feeling happy, and relieved. Thunderstorms remind me of the end of last summer, when we first arrived, when it was hot and muggy during the days and there was often thunder at night. The whole thing seemed to me to be a marker of some sort; we haven't had a thunderstorm in months and it was a welcome change from the Silent Killer (snow). Then this morning I heard on the radio that this weekend it will be partly sunny and in the 50s. I seriously felt choked up. I could cry from happiness just thinking about it right now.

Yes, this winter has really, truly worn me out. But I'm all the tougher for it, right? I feel like I should get some badge of honor, or a tee shirt: I Survived the Second Snowiest Milwaukee Winter on Record During my First Year as a Midwesterner. It's a little too long to be very catchy, I guess. Anyway, I'll officially put it out there: we are emerging from this seemingly endless, exhausting season in a cautiously joyous way. No doubt, we are still bloody, bruised and beaten; but we're also discreetly optimistic, tentatively eager, just waiting for that final certain sign before we begin an all-out frenzy of barbecuing, frisbee throwing, and uncategorized frolicking, at which point we will likely completely forget (PTSD-like) how shitty Midwest winters are until next Thanksgiving, when the beat-down will begin all over again. I for one am ready to start forgetting. Bring on the blissful ignorance!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Spring? Are you in there???

Welcome to March in Milwaukee: dreary, wet, snowy, gray, and pretty much just as cold as February. Woohoo. Generally, I'm used to the arrival of my birth month signifying some truly lovely weather--in San Diego it warms up a little in March, and it's sunny and green and people are frolicking excessively. In Wisconsin, March might well be the most detested month of the year. After having been pummeled by Jack friggin Frost for four months, we turn the calendar to March and semi-optimistically check the forecast, thinking, how much longer can this dismal season really persist? Isn't this when it's supposed to get better?? And here's what we see in the 10-day forecast: snow, 20-something degrees, mostly cloudy, snow, sleet, 18 degrees, 'wintry mix,' etc etc. It's not uplifting, to put it mildly. And there is absolutely NO frolicking. On the contrary, even *moving* has become difficult here because streets, sidewalks, and driveways alike have turned into ice rinks that appear fairly sturdy until you step on them trying to reach your car, break through, and end up in four inches of water. Just lovely.

I moved to Milwaukee with low expectations. Early on, this city exceeded them. I vaguely remember green parks, a beautiful endless lake, long sunny days, eating out on restaurant patios, and evening walks with Vinny through the Highlands. Now I realize: the midwest seems almost surreally and unnaturally quaint and lovely for exactly half the year. The other half of the year is a frigid, soggy graveyard where all of our hopes and happinesses lay at rest dunno, April? Haven't gotten there yet; I'll let you know when my hopes and happinesses resurrect themselves.

You might think I'm being melodramatic, but everyone else here is, too. This winter has been awful, and no one can seem to complain enough about it. And apparently bad winters come in cycles of three to five years, so if I'm lucky, I'll get three more years of this crap before Matt and I flee to somewhere ridiculously arid, like Arizona, or maybe Texas!! Vinny's voting for Texas, I think. He is absolutely the definition of 'stir crazy' these days.

Here's what currently keeps me going: in a mere two weeks we are going to Belize with Matt's family, and my shrively, grey-ish arms and legs are going to reunite with their old friend: the sun! The anticipation is killing me, but I know it will come quickly. My wildest dreams would come true if, upon our return from the tropical wonderland, we found Milwaukee thawed and green!!!!! I know, I'm destined for disappointment. But at least my parents will be coming to visit us the week after we return, so by the time all the excitement of family and vacations has died down it will be nearly April, and if he weather is still like this in April, I can't guarantee you will be wanting to read this blog anymore.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Proud to be from Wisconsin.

It's not just the cows, folks. Or even the beer. Democrats in this state are awesome, and I'm so happy to be one of them. At least for today--I was officially a California Green Party member until 3:45 pm when Matt and I finally found our polling place (the basement gym of an elementary school, with one scant cardboard sign that read "VoTing" which had clearly been written by an eight-year-old) and re-registered in our new home state, where we're allowed to vote for whichever presidential candidate we choose in either primary (which, incidentally, I think is a totally sensible way of doing things--I'm not really a Democrat or a Republican, I just wanted to vote for Obama). I actually felt GOOD casting my vote, and I am thrilled Obama is probably going to take this state, and I'm genuinely excited to see where this election is headed.

I also just think it's fantastic that there were twice as many democratic votes cast in this state as republican votes, and 1 in 7 voters were new voters. I don't want to get over-excited, but the young people here are so dedicated and involved right now, and it really seems like Obama is a huge part of that. I feel like my demographic matters, and I hope we can contribute to something momentous come November.

Don't get me wrong, I am as disillusioned as anyone about the state of US politics and I don't personally believe that any of these candidates will be able to singlehandedly right our country's wrongs in one or even two terms of office--no way. But lately I've begun to believe again that Americans have the ability to mobilize in a way that is forceful, optimistic, and impassioned--and not arbitrarily, but because we truly DESIRE change. I mean, come on. It was 5 degrees outside today, absolutely miserable, and the turnout was awesome.

I'm hopeful. Check back with me this summer, but for now, I will officially say: Wisconsin has given me hope.

Saturday, February 16, 2008


I watched Blood Diamond last night and was seriously disheartened. I watched Apocolypto tonight and was absolutely disgusted. I got home ten minutes ago and read this article about the guy who opened fire on a college auditorium at Northern Illinois University and am currently thinking about human nature and how it is pretty much the same everywhere, all the time, and it's always this surprising and this horrifying, and even though Mel Gibson is OBVIOUSLY a creep and a sadist he's pretty much just showing us the darker side of what has existed as long as we have inhabited this planet. We're a scary bunch, man. I worry about what we're going to end up doing to each other.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

I love my job.

I wanted to write tonight for a couple reasons. First of all, it is still snowing. You know, I'm getting used to it, I really am. But it's getting OLD. As of now it's Milwaukee's snowiest winter in 25 years, and by the end of winter I'm sure that statistic will be even more impressive. Everybody just seems worn out by it; I was talking to a nurse today who said she was thinking of retiring a year early just so she doesn't have to "drive to work anymore in this crap weather." I would sympathize, except that I now drive a 4x4, and it is absolutely AWESOME in the snow. In fact, it's way better in the snow than in any other kind of weather, when it just seems ridiculous and huge and excessively bumpy. I pretty much don't feel justified driving it unless it's snowing. Lucky for me, that's been every other day for the last three months. So I consider it a good investment as of now.

The other reason I wanted to write is to tell a funny story about work before I forget about it. Today I got a haircut (finally--I don't know if I was beginning to look more like Ringo Starr or Marsha Brady), and my new hairstylist was asking me what I do, and she was absolutely blown away that I work with kids in a psych hospital. Her surprise momentarily surprised me, but then it occurred to me that as a result of this job absolutely nothing fazes me anymore, whereas the general public would probably be completely shocked by even some of the more benign stories I have to tell.

We've had this girl in again, one I wrote about earlier this year. When I see her name on the admit list, I feel, simultaneously, the deepest sense of dread and a little spark of excitement because I know something crazy is going to happen. This girl is utterly, completely out of control. Well, last Friday she put on one of her most wonderful performances. Angry because "nobody likes her" and every other patient we'd had that morning had been discharged except for her, she threw a small cup of water at one of the teachers (out of nowhere) in the middle of a movie. The teacher and I exchanged surprised glances, but didn't really react yet because you can never tell with this particular girl if she's going to de-escalate or just blow. Well, she blew, about 10 seconds later. She got up, walked toward the door, picked up a full pitcher of ice water, and hurled it in my general direction before running screaming into the hall and locking herself in the bathroom.

I stood there for a couple seconds, sopping wet, literally head to toe soaked, speechless. Then I turned to the teacher and when our eyes met, we just cracked up. I couldn't help it, I laughed until I cried, the whole thing was so ludicrous. And at some point I realized I was laughing partially because of the fact that the entire situation didn't even really bother me, that in the scheme of things, it wasn't really even all that ludicrous. In a 'normal' school, if some kid dumped a pitcher of water on a teacher, I imagine the whole place would shut down. I mean, I don't really know what would happen--nothing like that ever really went down at any of the average public schools I attended. But in our situation all we can really do is laugh, and move on, because hey, if it doesn't kill you, you pretty much just come back to work the next day (side note: this was proven true just the other day when a staff person was strangled--almost to death--by a patient hearing voices and was back in the hospital the next day).

So anyway, luckily, one of the teachers had--I kid you not--a hideous Christmas sweater and a pair of black leggings in the office. I could explain the sweater but it's too long a story--suffice it to say I'd borrowed the sweater before purely because it was so incredibly hideous, and she'd never taken it back home after I returned it to her. So I took off my soaking wet clothes and wore the hideous Christmas sweater and leggings for the rest of the afternoon. You better believe I got numerous compliments on my festive attire, but frankly, I don't think anyone even thought it was that strange that I was wearing a Christmas sweater in February. Also, the patient came back to class 20 minutes later, freshly medicated, and apologized to me, explaining that the voices made her do it. I accepted her apology and we watched the rest of the movie and ate popcorn.

In conclusion, when you work in a psych hospital, you can wear whatever the hell you want. I could elaborate on this, but I won't, because I need to get some sleep and I could honestly go on about this for days.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood!

Well, I was hoping for a snow day and I got a bit more than I bargained for:


We're basically in the midst of a blizzard. We've gotten at least a foot of snow in the past 12 hours, maybe more. It seems like the plows have given up on the roads; I wouldn't think of leaving the house, even in the truck, which has basically disappeared under the snow anyway:


Everything was canceled today: my work, Matt's physiology exam, my class, my soccer game. No one is on the roads anymore. I watched a couple people get stuck earlier and someone in a truck came along and dug them out. I dug a path for Vinny in the yard this morning and it's already all covered up again. The winter storm warning was extended until 6 pm, although the weather channel says heavy snows and winds won't taper off until 9 pm. I gotta say, this is definitely the most impressive storm I've experienced here. Wisconsin just continues to amaze me.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

A white groundhog's day, and big news.

Here in Wisconsin, I'm pretty sure the groundhogs don't come out until May.

In general, what I'm realizing is that white holidays are pretty much the norm around here. We had a white Thanksgiving, a white Christmas, a white New Years, a white Martin Luther King Jr. day, and now a white groundhog's day. Not that groundhog's day really qualifies as a holiday, but it happens to be my sister's birthday, which is DEFINITELY worth celebrating. Happy Birthday Marisa!!

Anyway, point being, it never stops snowing here. As of November, snow was the new sun. I've pretty much forgotten what warm weather is. I can't remember the last time I didn't tramp smud into my kitchen (smud=snow/mud). The Subaru is a perpetual swamp. It's getting kind of gross, to tell you the truth.

So I'm trying to adapt. I'm getting pretty good at not acting like a 6 year-old every time it snows (SO much of me just wants to sled all day and have snowball fights and drink hot chocolate; native Wisconsinites generally just appear really inconvenienced and bored). I'm starting to understand that life actually does continue even in 8 inches of fresh snow (I have to go to work?? WHAT???). Part of adapting to that aspect of it meant selling my cute little Hyundai:


And buying this monstrosity:


I have never owned a truck, I never even considered owning one, until I moved here and experienced one of the worst Milwaukee winters in recent history. I have never had so many near-death experiences as I did driving the Hyundai around town on any normal snowy day; my coworkers were genuinely worried about me and even offered to drive me to and from work occasionally in the hopes that I could avoid serious injury. So now, Matt and I are back to two cars, but I'm hoping the 'Splorer won't get too much action--just snow days and days we can't manage to carpool.

In other big news I just found out today that I was accepted into Marquette's direct entry Nurse Practioner program! It is a well-established and very respected program and I'm SO excited to start in May. It's a three year program: the first year is intensive RN training (culminating with the board exam which licenses you as a nurse, assuming you pass), and the second and third years consist of Master's level courses in whatever specialty you choose. At the end of it all you sit for and pass the national Nurse Practitioner licensure exam in your chosen specialty area. I'm not sure what my specialty will be yet; at first I was thinking acute care but since I don't have to choose until the end of my first year, I'm keeping an open mind. I'll definitely keep you updated!

Well, that's about it for today. Supposedly we could get between 10 and 20 inches of snow tonight, which would be absolutely ridiculous. I'm definitely pulling for a snow day tomorrow. :)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

I spoke un petit peu too soon....

Well, see, it's funny--pretty much right after I wrote that monstrous post last Monday in a fit of despair and self-pity I got a call about my car. This is because as soon as I got home from CarMax that fateful day, I reduced the asking price in my online ads by $1000, which might seem like a lot, but hey, I was desperate, and it worked. This lady and her college-aged daughter wanted to come see it the next day, and they did, and then they wanted to buy it, and then they did. So, um, I apologize for putting you through all that, it was apparently unnecessary. But you'll be happy to know (I hope) that I will not come to a gruesome and untimely end on icy Milwaukee roads as a result of that particular vehicle. Unless, of course, something highly unlikely happens, like its new owner happens to find me and run me down while I'm crossing the street.

In other news, my friend Darcy visited us this weekend and we had a lovely time. We took the famous Miller Brewery tour yesterday and it was fairly entertaining (nothing quite like sitting in a theater and being bombarded by subliminal advertising on three large, colorful TV screens while hearing, over and over, "it's MILLER TIME!!!!"). It was free, so that was nice, and we got three samples at the end: Miller Lite, Miller High Life, and Leinie's Honey Weiss (apparently Miller owns at least part or most of Leinenkugel's, a Wisconsin 'craft brewer'). I decided that compared to Miller Lite, Miller High Life really IS the "champagne of beers." Darcy and I also did a little shopping on Brady Street and in the Historic Third Ward, the old warehouse district that has been redeveloped into very nice higher-end shops, popular restaurants, and super awesome loft condos. I have decided that if Matt and I end up staying here through his residency, we should live in a loft condo in the Third Ward. Here's an old picture of the Third Ward that I stole from some internet site:


It was first settled by Irish immigrants in the early 19th century, but a huge fire in 1892 displaced most of the Irish families and the area was resettled by Italians. Highway construction and mass movement to the suburbs broke apart the community by the 1960s, but in the 80s the Third Ward was deemed "Historic" by the National Register of Historical Places; apparently some 70 buildings there are on the register. After that it was redeveloped into the very vibrant and cool mixed-use community it is today and I love it. It's very urban, but friendly. Darcy and I went to the Public Market, an awesome old building housing various independent merchants selling all kinds of artisan and ethnic products, booze, and prepared foods. We bought some beer and pasteries (GREAT combo). Here's a newer picture of some of the riverfront Third Ward buildings:


We also went to Maharaja on Saturday evening and had some YUMMY Indian food before checking out the Hi Hat Lounge on Brady Street for a couple of drinks. Milwaukee, somewhat surprisingly, has a lot of very good ethnic food. Thank god; I might die without good Indian food. Hi Hat Lounge, which I'd never been to, is a pretty happening place, but being there made me really hope indoor smoking will be outlawed soon in this state. Every time I go to a bar here I come out feeling like I have emphysema. Apparently something's on the books, and I'm grateful. Coming from California I just sort of assumed that the law was the same everywhere, but apparently the midwest is a little behind.

Overall, nice weekend and I'm thrilled to be rid of 'the shark.' So now I'm just sitting around dying to hear from Marquette and trying to think up smart back-up plans in the case that I don't get accepted, which would clearly be tragic and spawn many a monstrous blog post, so cross your fingers that doesn't happen.

Monday, January 21, 2008

I feel ya, Wisconsin.

Well, the entire state is currently in mourning due to the Packers' (pathetic) loss last night to the Giants. For my part, I was over the playoffs halfway through yesterday's Chargers game, when it became clear that no amount of field goals would come close to defeating the Patriots, who didn't play a particularly great game but did manage to score some touchdowns, which is pretty key. Matt and I went to our friends' apartment to watch part of the Packers game but we got hungry around half time, so we headed over to Hector's for some Mexican food, knowing the game would be on in the bar area. We didn't really consider that we would be the only two people in the restaurant rather indifferent to the outcome of the game, but of course we were--at first. Within about two minutes we were rooting 100% for the Packers, because we quickly realized that if we didn't we might get beat up or otherwise harassed by the VERY inebriated and impassioned Packers fans in close proximity to our table.

So we did our part, participating in some of the chants and songs ("We love Brett Favre"), giving high-fives when prompted by the bartender, and understanding full well that there would be no way for us to leave the place before the end of the game unless we were feeling particularly brave, or stupid. Meanwhile Brett Favre is looking like an amateur, the teams are tied in the fourth quarter, and I'm thinking to myself, "Please lord, let the Packers just win this one game; I value my life and my sanity, and I'm not sure I can withstand the imminent tantrums, brawls, and angry drunk drivers should this not go Green Bay's way." And of course--OF COURSE--the game almost does go Green Bay's way about, oh, 6 times, and the Packers continue to screw it up, and the customers/fans are getting drunker, and Matt and I are kind of shrinking in our booth, growing more and more terrified of the outcome...

...which, by the way, would have been hilarious to the unaffected onlooker if said onlooker was not slightly worried about getting out of Hector's alive at 9:30 on a Sunday night. I mean, seriously--the Giants' kicker totally shanked two field goal attempts, either one of which would have won the game, but the Packers failed to capitalize on this both times, ultimately leaving the fate of the game AGAIN in the foot of the Giants' kicker, who at this point had become a fan favorite due to his complete and utter ineptitude. In fact, the Packers fans all seemed pretty comfortable and happy jeering at him as he walked onto the field, as if this guy had convinced them all by this point that he couldn't have made a field goal over 20 yards to save his life, so obviously Green Bay would get the ball back and have yet another unearned chance to blow the game. Me, I'm thinking, you just don't get to the NFL if you miss three 30-some-odd-yard field goal attempts in a row (or maybe, you don't stay in the NFL....whatever), so it doesn't surprise me in the least when the guy finally makes the field goal, and the game's over.

Oh my god, I have never seen a sorrier bunch of drunks in my life. Tears in the eyes of grown men with beards, and such. We got out of there as fast as we could, with fake (but I believe very convincing) depressed looks on our faces, and absolutely dissolved into giggles as soon as we reached the car.

Now don't get me wrong--I was kind of pulling for the Packers. But it is a football game, after all. We're not talking about, like, World War III, or something.

So, yeah, Wisconsin is in mourning. I had pretty much forgotten about NFL football altogether by the time I left the house this morning, on a mission to get my car's headlight fixed and get rid of it (the car, not the headlight). Then I got to the Hyundai dealer and was reminded of the tragedy by the sheer number of depressed, hungover people (well, they probably weren't all hungover, but they definitely all appeared to be depressed), and I waited in line listening absentmindedly to all the sadness and all the resentment, and half an hour later my car was fixed and I was ready to go get rid of the damn thing before it kills me one of these days when I'm trying to make a left turn yield in a snowstorm.

Of course, it had kindly begun to snow by the time I got to CarMax, and they kindly appraised my car at a price I'm kind of embarrassed to mention ("no one, uh, really wants this kind of car in Wisconsin, so that definitely affects its value") (me and Kelly Blue Book are so NOT on good terms right now), and I headed home very seriously defeated, and the sky by that time was absolutely DUMPING snow, and I was reminded numerous times on the way home exactly why I need to get rid of this damn car. I got home and couldn't even get the thing into the driveway so I left it on the street, knowing full well that at this rate it might stay there, snowed in, for days, but not really caring because it's useless anyhow.

Let me take a quick break to just apologize for how long this post is getting, and how much of it is just blatant whining/venting. I promise I will end on a positive note, but I'm not sure it will be positive enough to make you not regret having spent half an hour of your life reading it. Furthermore, if you are still reading at this point, and if you finish reading this post, I'm really rather touched, because I very well might have nodded off by now if I were you.

So anyway, I left the car on the street and trudged inside, literally shaking due to a) several near-death experiences, and b) the wrath caused by the CarMax people, who clearly don't realize that "cute" and "red" should be worth more than $6000. I decided that, in order for my anxiety to dissipate before Matt got home, I would paint our bedroom blue. We've had this blue paint sitting in our basement for months because after painting the living room and the kitchen back in August I was so sick of painting that I just quit. Well, I thought today would be a good day to get that done, and it might have been, had I not been in such a bad mood.

See, I have this problem where, when I'm in a bad mood, I become obsessively committed to finishing something, but not in a positive, determined, diligent way; more, a pissed-off, stubborn, wild kind of way. I have been trying to overcome this flaw but it rears its ugly head on days like this. So, as you might guess, by the time Matt gets home I am covered in paint, halfway finished with what has by then occurred to me as a rather monstrously large job, out of tape, sort of wildly and half-heartedly flinging blue at the wall in a desperate attempt to finish something useful today in the hopes that it will improve my outlook on life.

Thank god, Matt helped me instead of running in fear. He is a truly good man. He helped me, and all of a sudden the job didn't seem so monstrous anymore. Afterwards he even convinced me it was worthwhile to try to dig out my car, so we bundled up and went outside with the shovel. It was still snowing, I couldn't believe it. It snowed all day today. As Matt shoveled (we have only one snow shovel, which doesn't usually inconvenience me all that much), I marveled at today's snow, which until that moment had only incited in me the most withering hatred: it was the fluffiest, sparkliest snow I've ever seen. Huge, iridescent flakes, kind of like that dry fish food you can buy at the pet store. I walked out to the street and looked around and it was so, so beautiful, almost as if it was raining sequins. I stood there for a second, taken aback, and I swear it occurred to me, momentarily, inexplicably, that I was really lucky to witness such an event, and that I've never in my life seen anything like it.

Thankfully, we did indeed manage to dig out my car, and Matt somehow got it up the driveway and into the garage, where it will remain, possibly forever, unless some poor soul takes it off my hands for no less than $6001. So, see, this is ending on a positive note. In general though, I'm with the Packers fans on this one: today was a shitty day.

Saturday, January 19, 2008


This will be a brief one but I thought I should write about the lovely weather we're having here in Milwaukee. This morning I awoke to light--actual sunlight (we haven't gotten much of that around here lately)--streaming through our bedroom windows. It's amazing what that does for the psyche of someone who is not a morning person; randomly, I felt like I actually wanted to get out of bed on a Saturday morning in the dead of winter. I looked out the window and it was perfectly clear, blue, and sunny. I was happy.

Until I opened the door half an hour later to let Vinny outside and realized it was all a sick joke, a lie of the most hideous kind: today, quite possibly the prettiest day we've seen in months, the temperature outside was -3 degrees (and that's not including wind chill). I have never seen a more miserable dog in my life than Vinny, hopping through the yard, hunchbacked, ears pinned down; at one point he actually sat on the snow mid-pee because the frozen ground was so cold on his poor little paws.

I didn't fare much better. I had to go out to run a couple errands and firstly, I was shocked at how long it took Matt's car to start. For a few seconds I thought the thing might be completely dead, but as it turns out it was just playing dead in the hopes that I wouldn't force it to transport me anywhere. I let it warm up for probably five minutes, but when I went to back out of the driveway I could hardly even shift into reverse, and I had to literally muscle the car into first, second, third gear, and trust me, it protested noisily. The 10 second walk from the car to the store was torture but I have luckily learned by now that fingers and ears don't last uncovered in this kind of cold, so I had my mittens and my yeti hat and I made it. I haven't figured out the nose problem yet, though. I have definitely seen people wearing full face masks while shoveling the driveway, or taking out the trash, but I'm not sure that would go over too well in the grocery store.

So, that's the news of the day! Apparently the low tonight is -8 with a wind chill of -25. Oh well. At least I've gotten lots of cleaning done, and I'm looking forward to warmer temperatures tomorrow: the projected high is 6 degrees! YAY!!!

P.S. Please note, I'm attempting to add some more interactive-type features to this blog. You might notice there will be new links to the side of the posts, or even a poll now and then since blogger has that feature, so please feel free to participate! And leave comments, too--it encourages me to write more often. Also, you can subscribe to my RSS feed (which puts a little button at the top of your browser that allows you to see my recent posts) just by scrolling to the bottom of this page and clicking on 'Subscribe to: Posts' and clicking 'ok' for anything it asks you thereafter.

P.P.S. I have a three day weekend!! Thanks for being so awesome, Martin Luther King Jr!

Sunday, January 13, 2008


Well, first of all, Matt and his knee are doing great. He's been off crutches for a few days now, and he has very little pain (if any). I think he took a grand total of two oxycodone during his recovery and other than that was fine with just tylenol, which I find absolutely amazing. Overall, I think the surgery was a very good thing, and we're both looking forward to when he's able to play soccer again. As you probably noticed, he never wrote in this blog while he was laid up. I apologize on his behalf; I reminded him a couple times but I think he was too busy watching Simpson's episodes on DVD. Oh well.

Not much else is going on out here. The weather has been fairly predictable, mostly in the 30s, with some flurries or rain now and then. We got a couple inches of good, fresh snow the other day, which was nice because it covered up all the muddy slush that we'd been left with due to the higher temperatures. We may get more snow today or tomorrow, but I'm just thankful it's been so *warm* the past week and a half.

I thought I'd write a little bit about my coworkers since they've been an important source of entertainment for me lately. I think I've mentioned them in previous blogs but never in much detail; it's hard to do them justice in words because they are all so wonderful. I never thought I would become such close friends with four middle-aged women, but for some reason we really click. A typical lunch conversation consists of gossip of the most inappropriate kind, ranging this week from hermaphrodites to the love lives (or lack thereof) of certain administrators. We've developed a weekly habit of visiting Vino 100 on Fridays after school and partaking in one or several glasses of wine, and that's when it tends to get really interesting. This week I was informed by one of the women that a friend of her husband's friend, an anesthesiologist, is married to an x-ray tech who went into that field specifically to land a successful doctor husband (and brags about that fact). All the women remind me frequently to "watch over" Matt and all associated with him, since they consider him quite the catch. The very sweet but surprisingly saucy admin lady even told me a story the other day about a woman who used to hit on her husband during bowling night. Apparently the admin lady, who took self defense, told this poor woman that if she ever hit on her husband again she would break her arm in under four seconds. She showed me how to do it, too. So watch out, ladies.

I guess I shouldn't share too many stories in a public forum, but suffice it to say these women are absolutely hysterical and I adore them. We somehow managed to finagle the principal into sending us to a conference this coming Tuesday and I'm sure that will be a riot. What surprises me the most is how subversive and self-deprecating they are--in a healthy, funny way--and how much they just love to hang out together, and with me. They even (prematurely) INVITED THEMSELVES to my wedding (which, incidentally, they talk about ALL the time in an almost embarrassingly impatient manner), and began planning a combined trip to Mexico and San Diego (they have "always wanted to visit San Diego" and the hotel situation will be "SO inexpensive" if they all share rooms!!!). Well, we'll see about that, but for the time being I'm very much enjoying spending time with these ladies and am kind of sad I will likely only be with them one year.

Anyway, the Chargers just miraculously beat the Colts in the playoffs and Matt has been screaming, pacing, and generally freaking out for the past two hours. I think it's probably time now to do some cleaning and preparing for the coming week, although I've liked having football be an excuse to not accomplish anything for most of this weekend. We did, however, go to a med school sponsored cocktail party on Friday night, which was very nice. I'll post some pictures on my Picasa album (, so check that out if you're interested.

Go Chargers!