Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Do I Want to Be a Model?

Or just look like one?

Yes, today is my first figure drawing modelling gig. I am going to be clothed for most if not all of it, but holy cow! I have to stay still for 20 minutes in a row! Several times over a period of three hours!

I'm really excited. It's going to be so fun!

And while I won't post pictures, I will tell you about it later.

Cheers my dear artist friends! And if anyone wants to hire me for this kind of work (instead of being the model, and me being the photographer or painter), do let me know. While I have certain restrictions about location and implication, I'm totally into performing, and this is just frozen frame ballet. :)

Sunday, February 25, 2007

I am geeking out on the Oscars

I swear, kids, Mrs. Anderson is really capable of making even the most glamorous of nights into a geek fest.

I LOVE AL GORE! (HA! there, I said it. I do have an opinion. And if yours is different I still love you just as much--just be ready and able to defend it. That's what I'm supposed to teach you. How can I teach you to defend an argument without a real example? Without having one? yeah. I do have feelings about this subject.)

And now I'm worrying and wondering about whether Clint Eastwood just made up a word--best "scorer"? Like person who keeps score? He is talking about a person who writes the score of music for movies. I need to go to the fat dictionary! Will someone please get the PHAT dictionary!

I believe the word is composer. You know, because when you write a score of music you compose a score of music... but Clint knew the writers were not his category... and he forgot to wear his glasses... and because of the glasses I will forgive him for making up a word that isn't even a ghost word--see Do Geese See God to figure that one out.

Yeah. It's a play. I saw it read at The Diversionary Theater last night.

The Platinum Weekend!

More terms from medical school:

The Golden Weekend: Saturday AND Sunday off--consecutively. The Golden Weekend only happens once a month in third year, when officially the students have four days off a month.

It's important to know a particular medical school is having a Golden Weekend if you are a spouse or partner or probably even roommate or acquaintance or bar-buddy of that medical school student, otherwise you stupidly take the time for granted and do things like chores or studying or alone-time and you don't fully appreciate the Golden Weekend phenomenon. This month, I actually missed the Golden Weekend because it was Justin's first weekend in the medicine rotation, and I thought it was just a weekend. You know. Like people get after working Monday through Friday. Duh.

The other days off are known as Saturday and Sunday. These days off do not ever come consecutively, and in fact medical school students often have 11 or 12 or 13 days of work in a row--though sometimes these days come with shorter working hours (like 8) and sometimes they're longer (like 30). But usually a 30 hour "day" is followed by a day off. So there's something to look forward to--a day on call followed by a day out cold.

We have come to the ever so surprising conclusion that in order to keep a marriage happy and healthy it is important that the couple actually spends time together. In fact, before we married, our Pastor told us to spend 15 minutes face-to-face time every day and go on a date once a week (not including with groups at bars or friends' weddings). You can imagine how well this plan has been going lately. We can go days seeing each other in the dark, as one of us is crawling into bed or out of bed and the other is essentially sleeping. There's a kiss, a yawn, an "I love you" and a "good night" or a "have a good day." Conversation, if it happens, is not deep, it's logistical. "When...?" "We need...?" "Can you....?" Soon. OK. OK.

God actually intervened in our lives this weekend. We went Platinum.

The Platinum Weekend: The medical student is allowed to go home early on Friday (before 10 a.m.!) AND is given the weekend off because he's done well and they're switching to a different hospital on Monday, so there's no point in getting new patients and then not actually taking care of them next week.

SO! We got to eat eight meals in a row together. We got to take really really long naps together. We got to go to sleep AT THE SAME TIME and wake up AT THE SAME TIME... OK, well, I woke up a bit early and read, but I was there and so was he, so there. It counts. We also got to go ice skating and get the car washed and hang out with friends and go to the grocery store and go to the reading of a play (Do Geese See God rocks!) and go to church and go to a coffee shop and watch The Academy Awards. Together.

Turns out I'm married.

To this really nice guy I met three days ago.

He was having a Platinum Weekend.

Saturday, February 24, 2007


Having a futon constantly open in the middle of my living room is like having my own quicksand pit.

I tell myself, oh, it's just sand, I can walk here, and then I'm down.




On Ash Wednesday I had every good intention of doing a Day. By 8 a.m. I had even eaten a bowl or two of cereal, showered, dressed in cute and fashionable clothes and done my hair. My hair is getting "long", and so now I'm clipping the front with these tiny little jaw-things and it curls. People like the curls, and I'm thinking of growing it back to curly-wash-and-wear length. Short is cute, but it takes maintenance. And Product.

I think I even had make up on. I did. Eye shadow and Smudge Pot stuff courtesy of my high-power executive friend at Stila. (Such a varied collection of friends one makes, hanging out at a coffee shop all day.)

I was Going Out that day.

And then, I went to my laptop, which is on my futon. I did work--uploading stuff I don't need anymore but can't afford to just give away (we don't own anything, so we don't get tax write offs)--and then I lay down. Just for a minute. Carefully threaded between the camera, the laptop and the sales.

Just one blanket on top.

And pull this other one into the shape of a pillow.

And somehow, over a period of ...oh, maybe five hours, I ended up with another top blanket, a real pillow, and--thanks to the Product--hair that was still cute when my friend Tiffany paid a surprise visit just after 3 p.m. and demanded that I put on some shoes and get some tea with her. So we took a walk and I had a decaf mocha for lunch and felt like I should keep going... you know, to have a Day now that the sun was thinking about setting.

Then Thursday, I had some friends over for breakfast (to make myself eat too) and they were already drunk, (and yes, dressed as monks. In beautiful costumes created by Paul--with very beautifully sewn double-sided hems (is that what they're called?) and quite durable too (yes, I do fit in the sleeves, no hands, "like a papoos" Jareb said, and made out of canvas drop cloths)), so at noon when they left I went to sleep again. No, wait, that was Tuesday. Thursday I actually did have a day. But Friday I woke only for meals. And slept all last night.

And now I think I feel... what is this... rested?

The idea is, if I keep the futon open I will have a comfortable place to sit while I unpack these boxes from when we moved in here.

It'll work.

Maybe next week.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Third-Year Medical Students

A word about the medical student world we are living in now--with Justin and his classmates scheduled to become doctors in one year, three months and six days.

It's like we live with juniors in the high school honors program. Second semester honors juniors want to get perfect grades in all their classes, are studying for the SATs, talking about which colleges they want to apply to, which colleges their parents want them to apply to, which colleges their friends are applying to, and statistic strategies they (falsely) believe will help them get in. ("That Ivy League only takes this many kids from this competitive high school, and that other perfect kid over there is applying and so is her best friend, so I shouldn't even bother because I won't get in, but I heard this other student is not applying to that other school, so my chances are...") Watching those teenagers bounce around each other on a high school campus is like watching a popcorn-popper, the electrical kind from the '80s that had see-through plastic bodies, knowing some of the kernels are going to explode soon, and some of them will be perfect and completely popped and soft and delicious, some of them will still have a hard core, some of them will only open an ever so little bit, and some of them will not burst at all. Only you actually want popcorn to burst, whereas these kids... well you do want them to just grow up and get it over with. But you have to wait anyway. It doesn't just happen the second you decide you want popcorn.

The medical school students are wrapping up their first and only year of mandatory rotations--since June they have all had to do time in hospitals and clinics specializing in surgery, general medicine, ObGyn, psychiatry and family practice (this last one has gone on the whole time, one afternoon a week, while they rest are about one or two months each).

Outsider's favorite question to ask a medical school student is, "What are you going to specialize in?" I suppose they believe they're making polite conversation by engaging the other person in conversation about that other person, just like when they wanted to talk to me about the public education system, or tell me stories about their old high school English teachers. (Universally older than me, crusty in fact, never pretty, though alternately mean and worthless or inspirational.)

For the first two years the medical students either had meaningless answers: (Dad's a surgeon, so they believed they would be too, and said "surgery." Or they watched a lot of ER and wanted to be ER docs. Or they liked kids so they wanted to do pediatrics. Or they wanted a good lifestyle, so they liked dermatology.)

And then this wretched third year began.

They found out surgery was gruelling. They realized the ER is packed with drunks, drug addicts and people without health insurance who have the flu and they don't particularly like having to deal with the people who are all strung out and combative, despite the 4 day weeks and 12 hour days. They realized kids come with parents and parents with kids are annoying. They worry that dermatology might be boring and found out about other specialties where you actually get to go home and don't have to carry a pager.

They have no idea what they want to do. And every one of them that I have spoken to believes that they should know what they want to do. What's more, they believe that everyone else knows what they want to do.

And we "happy marrieds" or "old fogies" (depending on the night) have to listen to it, knowing that where ever our partners end up, so shall we. We can only hope that where they go we can find work, we can be happy, we like the weather. And I really don't want to live in the South. I cannot live in the South. I've been there. My dark skin, my love for all people (including gays! and other non-white-so-called-Christian-right(eous) people!) and my outspokenness about this love would do me in. I'd be in constant Moral Combat. They'd probably drive us out of town. Even in a big city like Atlanta I've been actual witness to the use of the word "nigger" in casual conversation and listened to a tour guide complain about having a woman mayor. I'd rather die than live in the South.

I keep telling the medical students who talk to me that the whole point of this year is figuring out what they want to do--that's why they get to try all those different specialties. It's like a medicine buffet. You take a little of everything the first time around, and then go back for seconds of the stuff you really liked. And then, when we are fortunate enough to get around each other in a social environment (like my art show!) they realize that they are not alone in their insecurities, and we spouses look at each other with "I will survive" in our eyes. The conversation changes every hour. They'll be surgeons, no, maybe public health workers, no, maybe radiologists, no, ER wasn't that bad.

I told Justin, that one day when we got to have dinner together at a restaurant and talk about stuff other than the logisitics of our week, that he should pick something that he really likes. That he should not consider so much the hours, because since we've decided not to have children it's not so important that he's available to do stuff like coach soccer or attend ballet recitals, and I like doing my own thing--as long as he lets me do it without expecting me to rush home if he happens to have some time off when I already have something planned. So of course he likes orthopaedic surgery the best. This is no huge surprise. He likes exacting work. He likes putting stuff back together. He gets to work with power tools. He gets to see results. But then we remembered he can't actually stand for that long because of his own orthopaedic injury--half a foot left behind after a USMC boat propellar chopped it off in 1996 and we can't regularly take walks because of that damn war machine. (Though when would we do that?) But he could be a hand surgeon--they sit because it's so precise (and his eyes light up) and a surgeon has already gone and told him he "has good hands."

So I'm destined for a life alone a lot of the time. Which would be OK if we got a housekeeper. (A woman's version of having a wife is getting hired help.)

These next three months will be fascinating. The kernels will start popping, instead of just jumping around in the oil with anticipation. At least some of the kids have the sense to know they can change their minds (as I always told the high school kids they can transfer colleges, and they're only deciding where they'll spend the next four years of their lives, not their whole entire lives). We'll keep having the same conversation, to which we listen a little and also just let the words roll by as our minds drift away while we attentively, compassionately watch our lovers and friends roll over and over in their minds.

And sometimes we'll say, "Ugh. Will you just let it go. You'll figure it out when you figure it out. Let's talk about something else. Like art. Or Hillary and Barrack Obama. Or the weather. Or how we'll spend your next Golden Weekend." Four days off in a month. One whole weekend, one Saturday, one Sunday. These days need to be fully appreciated or they just disappear and you start to forget who you married. (Not that it's Justin Anderson, but who the heck is in that body that drifts in and out of the house while you sleep.)

Their applications are due September 1. They'll rank their favorite choices and the med schools will rank who they want. And then on Match Day in the spring (March? May?) there will be champagne and revelry and tears, and God willing we will end up in San Diego, San Francisco, or Chicago, Boston, or New York City.

In the mean time, I know I have a summer ahead of me of editing essays and summarizing lives into 400 words or 650 or 6000 characters-not-including-spaces.

I just hope they have the sense to relax once they've sent their applications out. It's out of their hands at that point, so maybe we can just get a drink and chill and enjoy the weather.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


I hate it.

I can't get it.

I do it for three hours in the middle of the day. Justin tries to wake me, but it is impossible.

At night I wake up and check the time.

It doesn't help that the rain gutter on our three story apartment building makes this aggravating S-curve right outside our bedroom window. Even when it's not actually RAINING anymore, just wet, it's like trying to sleep next to someone practicing the snare drums. Erratically. I retreated to the futon in the living room/studio last night. Here, with my futon-resting ear pressed to the floor, I could hear our downstairs neighbor's TV playing. Now, somewhere in the neighborhood there is power tool gardening, street repairing and actual hammering happening.

And I just read a really great description of pizza from Naples, so I'm starving, and I don' t think Bronx Pizza is open until closer to lunchtime.

I could be more miserable, but I don't want to think about it.



They are simple needs.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Success: May I have the definition, please?

Will you please use the word in a sentence?

"Was the art show a success?"
"Were you successful tonight?"
"Do you feel like it was a success?"

These are the questions people asked me toward the end of the night at Claire de Lune's. I know I must have had a dead-empty-tired look in my eyes. Maybe that's why they asked. But people always ask questions like that when someone holds an event, right? I mean, what's it all about? And I know I answered the question with an awkwardness akin to a teenage girl being asked, "Are you going to prom?" And she says "yes" and hopes that the end of the conversation, because she doesn't want to explain that she is going with a group of friends, because she waited for The One to ask her, and The One is going with someone else. She knows she will have fun, but it's not going to be The Night that everyone makes prom night out to be. Is it going to be a success? Yes, if she doesn't walk around with Sad-Heart because she is with her friends instead of some stupid-lover that doesn't even know she exists, yet.

So here's my answer. If you mean, "did I make a lot of money and sell a lot of art?" Not really. I did sell a few cards and a few matted-not-framed photographs, so my work is now in someone else's home instead of in waiting-to-be-shown storage. That is a success.

But it would be foolish to become an artist for the money. Most artists are even poorer than teachers. That's why we have "real jobs" too.



Did she just say the art show was not a success?

No. I did not say that. Think about this, which is what I didn't get to say last night, but what I know to be true:

The first time I went to Claire de Lune's, maybe one year ago, I noticed the paintings on the walls, found out they were for sale, found out the artist actually sold some of them, and decided I wanted to have an art show there one day.

The only thing I needed was a body of work.

I took my first official painting class in late June 2006. Nine months later, I had a one-woman photography and painting show at Claire de Lune's.

Some people grow a baby in nine months; I made an artist.

So was the night successful? I saw friends I hadn't seen in a long time and we got to reconnect with each other. People from Justin's medical school were there, people from my church were there, people from my neighborhood were there--all my new and old friends in one place at one time because I invited them to join me. Someone said my work was full of life and energy (it was late by then--I was finding her words ironic, but taking them in). People said I have a good eye for photography. People thanked me for having the show and I thanked them for coming. People told me Jareb has an amazing voice, a good tone... I just wish technical difficulties hadn't prevented him from starting to play while my friends were still there (I said he'd play at 6:30, but it was 8 before he started...)

I suppose I could talk about what I wish had gone differently: I wish that despite the technical difficulties with the music I had made an announcement about why the music wasn't starting and thanking everyone for coming while they were still there, instead of just cruising around while a baby did the sound check on the mic. I wish I had taken pictures of my friends there, and Jareb playing in front of my art, and my work up. I wish that I had set my table of cards and art up in a more visible and comfortable shopping location, instead of in front of the stage. People might have felt uncomfortable standing in front of the singer or not have noticed it when they just walked into the shop. I wish that I had more energy and felt more secure so that I could project a happy face at an art show that is really a pretty spectacular success just for existing--just for me existing and then making it happen. I wish my face were not so transparent, every emotion painted onto its canvas with such bold colors. I wish that I weren't so easily stricken by one person's attitude or another person's absence or my wish for more conventional economic success through art not actually coming true. I wish that I had made conventional pricing signs, since even though I had my card posted by each piece with prices and titles written down for each piece, people asked if the art was for sale. I wish that even though I intellectually can explain that my art show was a success I could also feel jubilant about it. Or at least pleased or content. I wish I didn't walk around with this feeling of "ehhh..."

But that's what I have. Major Depressive Disorder is a disease and I've been battling it for just over a year now. My art show was a success. Every day that I do anything good at all, I am a success. I just have to more fully accept this new definition of success, and life on my terms, not the American Gold Standard. And like 32 years of codependency, it's not a habit that changes over night.

I am a success because I am a friend and a wife and I make some pretty things and share them with people. Good enough.

And now I have to go get a job at a restaurant, so that I can continue to be a success who lives in an apartment and doesn't have to even think about whether my art will sell so that I can buy another mocha or a tube of paint.

And when people ask me if I had a successful night after waitressing, my answer will be based on the kindness of customers, the fun I had with co-workers and guests, and however much money I carry home in tips--and the money part of the answer hopefully won't feel like a judgement of my success as a person (or an artist--the way it feels when they ask on nights like last night.)

PS. The show goes on through February, so come see! It's successful. :)

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Valentine's Day Gupta-Anderson-Style

No, I'm not hyphenating my name... it has legally been Olaina Careen Anderson since we got married almost five years ago. But we are not average Anderson's, so I'm considering adding it for certain occasions--for flair.

Ages ago (well, a while ago at least--longer in dog years) Justin and I decided we would not celebrate Valentine's Day in any special way. As Eric Dahlgren put it, "It's amateur night out there." Last year, he and Amanda got Chinese take-out and ate at home. They were happy.

Why pay extra to eat a pre-chosen menu at a restaurant where we already have favorite dishes? Why dress up when we prefer jeans? Why flaunt our love when the only people it really matters to are us? Why go out if we'd rather stay in? It's trophy-mate night--"look everyone! I caught one!" It's insecure-rich-hitched people night--"What did you do for Valentine's Day?" which is really only a relatively polite lead into "We [insert synonym for spent way too much money and are now showing off about it even though it didn't compensate for our actual misery]." OK. That last part about misery might actually just be a tad of bitterness about their wealth and our lack thereof.

But we had a rich Valentine's Day, despite promising no presents.

For at least a week, Justin has been dancing in his eyes, telling me, "You're going to love your Valentine's Day present. I only spent about $25. You don't have to get me anything. But I got you something. You're going to love it. I can't wait to give it to you. I saw it and I just had to get it for you."

To which my response has been (silently) "Oh God! I didn't buy anything for him! I have no idea what to give him! I already gave him his favorite painting. I can't think of anything he wants for $25. I don't want to get something for me that's really for him, or is that reversed?"

I finally decided I'd clean the house. It's something he really wants and something I'm having the slightest trouble doing.

So I started working on it.

And then I realized that between the intermittent days of depression, the car accident and further depression, and the solution to depression usually involving leaving the house that it just wasn't going to happen. So I told him, "I'm going to try to have your Valentine's Day present ready for you by the time you get home today, but if I don't, I'm going to be Gentle With Myself." The cognitive behavioral therapy people would be happy. Gentle with myself.

He looked at me gently and said, "OK," and I could tell he really meant it.

Oooo. But I forgot to say that because we have declared a moratorium on Valentine's Day presents, I got to open my gift from him on Monday. To celebrate Monday. He got me the new Norah Jone's CD (which I love and had just heard an interview about on 60 Minutes the night before, and was going to buy) and a book reviewed by Anne Lamott and already so amazing that I'm covering the pages so I don't skip ahead, and even though I'm only on chapter 4, the book is all marked up because I LOVE the writing style of Elizabeth Gilbert. It's called, Eat, Pray, Love. And really what else does a person need?

My Justin knows me. My Justin loves me.

My Justin has lectures on Wednesday nights from 5-7 p.m.

My Justin called at 3:45 p.m. and said, "I have one more present for you."
"Oh no, what?"
"I'm coming home!"
"They cancelled lecture, and my resident said, 'Get out of here. It's Valentine's Day!' and they know I'm married, so I'm coming home."

So he came home, and we got to see each other in day light during the week! This is a truly phenomenal experience. We hugged and cuddled and went to Lei Lounge for Happy Hour appetizers and drinks and Bourbon Street to say hello to my favorite bartender and came home and ate dinner I made (two days ago in a crock pot, which we had yet to eat together), and I made brownies in a round cake dish and cut them into the shape of a heart when they cooled, and it was the best Valentine's Day ever. No pressure. No expectations. Wonderful surprises and togetherness.

Is there really any more to it? We got to spend bonus time loving each other and talking to each other. I got to hear about his medical school experience--people have been dying and are dying, and he's a participant in the news-breaking now (so sad!), but he's also getting to do procedures I ask him not to describe in gory detail. And I got to tell him about my progress in painting, and how Reed Cardwell, my teacher/mentor is now talking to me about this huge piece I'm working on (it's four by three feet) of a couple that is entwined yet pushing apart from each other. He's talking to me about the progress of the piece, choosing colors and what emotion I want to convey and so what the colors say, and how that's more than just talking about the proportions of the bodies, which I'm also trying to figure out. Justin and I also talked about the quality of paint (there is such a difference between brands!) and how I need to buy some more good paint in certain colors. Is there really any more to it? We got to reconnect. And even though we're married and live together, we can sometimes go for days without having a conversation about anything but logistics of life.

I met this really great guy last night, and I think he likes me. It was a perfect Valentine's Day.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Please join me!

I am having my first ever one-woman photography and painting show, and am having an artist's reception to celebrate the occassion. My art is hanging there for the rest of the month (and it's already the 14th!), but I hope to see you all on Sunday evening at Claire de Lune's in North Park on University at Kansas (practically under the North Park sign). I can't believe I can fill up a whole entire coffee lounge--and this one is HUGE--with my photographs and paintings. Upstairs you can see India, coming down check out the ocean, and on the GIANT wall downstairs and all around the room there are acrylic paintings (and a few more photographs) for your viewing pleasure. I plan to be at Claire's earlier on Sunday, but Jareb will start to play at 6:30.

Check out Claire's & get directions!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

It's official...

I'm about to sign the form that requests my unpaid leave of absence from teaching for yet another year.

The first unofficial sheet was easy to sign, but this one has been sitting on my table for a few days, staring at me. Taunting me. Daring me to sign it.

And I'll wait. I'm not ready yet.

I still love them and want to go back.

My doctors will say "no."

It's not official yet. It can't be. I'm not ready. Olaina has never been "after school."

Saturday, February 10, 2007

I'm pretty sure I'm married...

...but has anyone seen my husband?

This medical school thing sucks. Just in case anyone was wondering, it is as bad as they say it is. Only some of it is better and some of it is worse.

Worse. Maybe that's not the right word for it. I think some of it they just don't tell you about, and then you figure it out on your own and you're like, "Wow, this really sucks."

What I mean is, Justin is on the inpatient internal medicine rotation now. I can't remember if this is supposed to be one of the good ones or one of the bad ones; I am not sure what the typical qualifiers are for such labels. But I can tell you what I think of it: it's both. (Now all my English 9 kids are going, "What?!?! You have to pick! And then defend your answer!" Well kids, this is what's called a rough draft. Maybe I'll go back and change my thesis later. Plus I'm a more advanced writer than you, so despite having used "well," "like," and "sucks" in this blog thus far, I have a degree in literature and a writing process.... at least I am writing... so deal.) ;)

So far, as you may recall, Justin has done his surgery, ObGyn, psychiatry, family practice (intermittently) and internal medicine outpatient rotations. Soon, he has to pick a field to specialize in so that he can apply for his residency. As the official recorder of rotation experience, I have this to say about internal medicine:

Coming on the heels of ObGyn and psych, he loves it. He's back in medicine, doing things that actually help people get better (v. the often unhelpable mentally ill--and I obviously say that with all due respect) and seeing tangible results each day. He loves the human anatomy, and I think getting to work with the whole body instead of just the female parts or the brain is stimulating for him (ironically). But, he wakes up at 5 a.m. and leaves the house by 6 a.m. every day. Though they do not have overnight calls, he has this bizarre system of short and long calls. Each day is different and I can't really figure it out. I think it works like this: pre-call day he's supposed to get off work around 5 p.m., then there's short call, where they admit patients in a different way starting at 1 p.m. or something and are supposed to work til 8 p.m.ish (or when they've admitted two patients each, possibly meaning they're later or earlier than 8, depending on people's willingness to be sick in an orderly fashion), then there's a post call day?, then another pre-call day and then a long call day. On these days they work until midnight or 1 a.m., though Justin has a nice resident who miraculously facilitated his return to me at 10:30 last night, so we got to cuddle and watch the last of Law and Order together. But, since it's a weekend, he's got call of some sort today that has him at work as usual in the morning until God knows when, though rumor has it he might be home in the afternoon. He said, "who told you that?" when I told him. So I'm not counting on it.

In case somehow you didn't follow that, the long and short of it is that since Sunday, Justin and I have seen each other in dark-sleepiness exclusively. I come home from whatever activity I've scheduled to keep myself from getting too lonely, and he's already sleeping or not home. One of us is almost always in bed before the other, the sleeping one stirs, the awake one cuddles-up, we sleep, he rises, I stir, he kisses me goodbye and hours later I wake up wondering what day of the week it is. Rewind. Replay.

People were kind enough to get sick quickly on Thursday, so he was able to admit two patients early enough to have DINNER WITH ME! It was amazing. We had a CONVERSATION. And then I went to my art meeting and he was asleep when I got home.

Our Pastor had this advice for us about 15 minutes face to face time each day, for conversation and emotional/spiritual/intellectual closeness, but I can't even find time to remember to tell him the toilet is not flushing properly. At least we still manage date night once a week, by default of not cooking and so having to eat somewhere else if we realize we're together and hungry.

So to the question you've all been asking--what is he going to specialize in?

Definitely not psych. Boring, too close to home, boring, and not "medicine" enough for him. It was making him crazy.

Definitely not ObGyn. Boring, too close to home (all those damn women and their healthy babies being born and some of them not even really needing or wanting more kids), boring, and not interesting enough for him. Plus after surgery all the med students think ObGyn surgeons are butchers with terrible technique.

He loved surgery. Orthopedic surgery. This is not hugely surprising, he likes puzzles, and putting bones back together isn't that different. Plus he gets to use power tools like drills and hammers and nails, so it's like he's working construction or in the garage he doesn't have. And, there's the tangible result of obviously fixing something that is obviously broken. And he likes the orthopedic surgeons--he's liked them as a patient for his foot, his knee (torn ACL clearly connected to amputated half foot and weakening of the left leg), his collar bone... need I go on? They're jock-like and funny and charming and just like him. Sure, the other surgeons make fun of them, but that's just the super-nerds making fun of the jock-nerds. And like a Marine can't handle a little ribbing.

So over that one dinner we shared this week, I told him not to hold back, not to choose another specialty because he thought it would be easier or have better hours. Choosing a career based on those characteristics is relatively stupid. Firstly, the hours aren't that great anyway, and secondly, it's a really bad idea to do something for work you're not actually passionate about if you've got the choice. There's too many people out their who hate their jobs or don't have the educational opportunity or drive to have choices like this to make and so are suffering. Why endure four years of medical school just to choose to be bored like a cashier or clerical worker? (Jobs I find boring, no offense if you do not.) He told me he keeps talking himself out of surgery, and that doctors who are guessing his future keep pegging him as a surgeon. Someone said he "has good hands," plus he's got that organizational-attention-to-detail thing, plus he's spatially adept.

But then last night he said, "But when I was on surgery my foot hurt a lot, didn't it?"

I said I didn't remember, but now that I think about it, I think it did. But I also think they can make it so he can sit down on a bar stool like thing and be able to do surgery. They can accommodate him. For God sake, it's hospitals and handicapped people. Just fix it.

I also felt hugely relieved because if it's his foot, then it's not me that he's using to reject surgery--and we already resent his foot.

But I want him to be able to do what he wants to do while he's working. And I'd also like to see him now and then.

Granted, we start to drive each other crazy when we spend 24/7 together when he's on vacation, but 15 minutes a day doesn't seem like a lot to ask.

The future shall be revealed... I'm going back to my one day at a time, and today I have an Art Show for Ray at Night. :) He might be there, with a medical book in a coffee lounge... studying... and that's fine. I just like it when we smile at each other. He has dimples.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

See me and my art on Saturday!

Ray at Night is this Saturday, February 10, in North Park. I'll be hanging out at Claire de Lune's on University and Utah from about 6 p.m. until 10 or so. (At 2906 University Avenue, San Diego, 92104, to be exact.) I have acrylic paintings and photographs (including my India series, bee series and ocean series) hanging there this month. I am also going to be a bit of an artist in residence; I plan to spend at least part of each day there, painting or working on computer related art (writing or photography).

I hope to see you there!

And if somehow Claire's is too far away for you, but Bee Essential is not, I am the featured artist there for this year's Valentine's Day party. Of course it's at the same time as Claire's shin-dig, but I've learned not to actually try to be in two or three places at one time because it just ends up making everyone feel awkward and me feel overwhelmed. So, if you'd like to go there, go, buy a painting, a card, a candle and give it to your sweetheart. Then, mosey on down the street to Claire's and by your sweetheart something sweet to eat.... and more art from me. :) Plus, there will be live music--check out Claire's entertainment page on the website.

"It was like coming home..."

OK... so it's a cheesy line from Sleepless in Seattle, from when Tom Hanks describes to the crazy talk show lady what he felt was special about being with his wife.

There are several levels of thought running through my mind right now, but they all can somehow connect to this line. If I could do it in a blog entry, a web-style brainstorm graphic would work well here. Instead, you're going to get paragraphs or bullet points.

I just came home from seeing Andrew Greenberg play the lead in the school play at TPHS. He was hilarious. I got to go because Amy Fan e-mailed me about it, and Jen Yang raised her hand for me when she was counting how many tickets to hold. Yeah--they're my kids. Sure, I gave them up for "adoption" by Mia, but I gave them to a good home and we still get to visit each other.

This is the first time going back to TPHS didn't fill me with too much trepidation--of course there's always a little bit of anticipation, and I took my usual route up the back stairs by my classroom and through the quad to the Theatre, but I felt content instead of painfully regretful or nervous. It was more like the way I feel when I visit my actual high school or college campus, the ones from which I graduated--like I did some good there while I was there, and now they're doing just fine without me. Life goes on... but you can still come home and visit, you just can't move in and have everything back the way it was. And you don't really want that either--sure, there might be a certain nostalgia that confuses matters, but for the most part, people need to keep moving forward.

The other thought I had today was about parenting. I talked with a friend of mine who has college-age kids, and I saw all the kids I used to teach, and I talked to my parents. The combination of the three experiences showed me childhood in three perspectives. (My sleep meds are kicking in--this might get a little sloppy, but I want to get it down.) I saw a mother who wanted to shelter her grown children, children who wanted to become independent of their parents' shelters, and a direct interaction between the two. What came to mind to help me be a good daughter, or at least a more understanding one, was that very short experience I had as a mother. All I wanted to do was protect my child. I would have given anything to keep it safe and comfortable and healthy. I think that as children, no matter how old we become, we need to try to remember and respect that our parents' intention is rooted in that desire to nurture their baby--so no matter how annoying or overbearing they may seem, we should be gracious in the way we deal with their offerings. They mean well, and they're the home we can always come home to. (to which we can always return... blah, blah, blah).

OK. I think I'm finally going to get a good night's sleep, so I'm outta here.

Oh, and about the writing group--I just still think it's cool when someone asks me to read a draft or final draft of anything. So send stuff my way, I'll send stuff to you (you who have expressed interest) and there we'll have it. I'm about ready to send something off to a magazine, so that's what got me to missing being in the company of writers...

love and kisses to all! :)

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Life on the ...well, not exactly "run"...

For all you non-Southern Californians out there:
Yesterday made it into the 80s. I started the day in long sleeves and jeans, but was in shorts and a tank top by 10 a.m. I'm walking a black lab puppy (14 mo?) downtown, so we went to the Seaport Village and cooled off in the ocean breeze. Of course, our walk ended up being longer than usual, and she lay down in the elevator when we got home. The one time we had company in the elevator, and I appear to have driven the dog to death. But I think I got the beginnings of this year's tan. In February. Early February.

Saturday I hung my art show at Claire de Lune's. Surprisingly, I was able to fill all the walls--we're talking huge walls. I didn't realize I had such a large collection of work. I'm going to need to work on finding a place for it in March, since there isn't so much wall space here in our lil apartment. I also have some of it (the flower stuff) hanging at Bee Essentials, a candle shop that is having a Valentine's Day chocolate and wine tasting party on Feb. 10. I need to check with Claire, I'd like to do a reception there too--I'll let everyone know when it is.

As far as marketing bands... I'm just sticking with my friends Jareb and David for now... on the down low. I got a little out of control with trying to jump back into "work" and it didn't go so well--I started getting "sick" again. You can't spend a year sitting on the deck with your feet in the water at the shallow end of the pool watching the kids play and then dive into the deep end and think you can swim laps like you used to. *sigh* But the goal wasn't ever to return to what I used to be... I remember grading during the Super Bowl at Deanie's party a few years ago, but this year I was dedicated to the game and the barstool and the chicken strips and onion rings at Urban Mo's. :)

Justin has started this evil internal medicine rotation, which I thought was great this weekend when he had it off--but he left the house at 6 a.m.ish yesterday and worked til sometime around 10:30 p.m. (I was asleep when he got back... I don't know when). And then this morning he woke up at 5 something and is gone now... til I don't know when. I do that plan my own life thing, but it sure is a lot like being single. Anyway, this rotation is supposed to be better than the others because there are no over night calls, but the calls are every other day or third day til 10, so what's the point? I don't think I mind it that much, but I think that's because I'm still doing the one day at a time thing. I find there's no good reason to think too much about the future--and I certainly know I can't really plan for it. The road goes where it will go... Like Anne Lammott says, all you really need is to be able to see right in front of you where the headlights work when you're driving through the fog.

OK. And that's my morning musing.