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!