Monday, January 29, 2007

Down with the negative!

The license... IT IS HERE! Here in my sweaty little hands, quivering with its own suppressed fury, beautiful in its supreme unimpressiveness lies the panacea to all my ills. Or at least that's the theory.

So, starting today, I get to throw myself back in the mix. I spent most of today filling out so many forms that I swear I thought my eyes were going to bleed. Frankly, dear reader, I didn't give a flying pootenany. I was at work! And by and large, people were happy to see me.

Meanwhile, the Texas State Medical Board has been attracting negative attention from the press and the healthcare bigwigs about the delays in licensure. Go journalism! Go activitism! Go greedy capitalism! 'Cause really, that's why people are getting so pissed off. The docs can't get paid 'cause they can't practice, the hospitals and clinics are losing money because the docs aren't seeing patients but can't hire someone else because the doc either has 1) a binding contract with the employer or 2) a specific skill set not already available. Texas has one of the lowest per capita densities of doctors, yet we have this HUGE backlog of docs waiting to work in Texas.

Does this make sense?

Oh yeah, this is Texas. I forgot.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

There is no point

Every time I try to get my life fixed, someone gets in the way. At least I'm not alone - go here to find out part of why I'm so screwed.

Another part of why I'm so screwed is my case manager, who seems to be not so good at her job. Given what the article says, that may not be her fault, but at this point I'm not sure I care.

Monday, January 22, 2007

I just saw something horrible.

I'm watching a show about the 9/11 ground zero clean up. And they just showed a pathology slide of a man who died after participating in the original clean up. It was a high resolution microscopic slide of a lung section. (Why do I call it a lung section? Well, when someone dies in a weird/suspicious way, pathology experts take every organ and make small slices from each of them. Those small slices are called sections.) The slides showed a lung section with almost no air/aveolar interaction, a huge proliferation of mesothelial cells, and pretty much nowhere for gas exchange to occur (yeah, I know, the sentace was redundant... but hey, sometimes redundancy helps get the point across.) To anyone who listened during his or hers pathology lectures, the slides shown are horrifying. How can anyone breathe without the natural mesothelial/endothelial interchange? Yeah, that was my answer too. So the slide clearly showed that something impacted lung structure and physiology in a hugely negative way. Which basically meant that the poor guy couldn't breathe. At all. And the problem was caused by a chemical or particle foreign body.

Reportedly this poor man never smoked. Reportedly he never inspected a building that contained high levels of asbestos. So the absence of normal lung structure is logically explained by... yeah, that's right, Ground Zero.

Why did this man die without any help for his family? That's shameful. These men were heroes. I hope we can somehow elect more responsible people who will spend taxpayer money to help these people. I know for certain that I'd pay that extra tax.

Wouldn't you?

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


Our spiffy new plasma TV arrived today - CRACKED! The driver had just left the complex when we unboxed the big beautiful BROKEN beasty.

We're both ready to cry. Hopefully the return process won't be too painful. Although how you return something that weighs ~80 lbs. I don't know.


Sunday, January 14, 2007

Go Pats!

Oh my goodness, I never thought that game would end. My Boys played so sloppy that for a while there I was thinking, "Damn, we don't deserve to win!" Luckily, the team started to look like themselves in the fourth quarter and pulled through to save the day.

At the two minute warning, I asked Hubbie if he wanted a third beer for the end of the game... His answer was so emphatic that I was startled for a second. Then again, I was so nervous that the fabric underneath my butt was actually wet from sweat.

Eww. Yeah, I know, I'm a loser.

I'll admit that the Chargers looked pretty darn good. Even tho I'm a die-hard Pats fan, I thought we were screwed. I'm kinda sad for them, honestly. Especially Tomlinson. He looked upset when he walked off the field. Yikes. If the Chargers could have continued to play through the fourth quarter like they did during the previous three... Well, this post would be very different.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Begone, ye Evil Spirits

So I didn't have a great year in 2006. So I thought, in the name of making the new year start off to a good start, I thought I would list things that I really like. Here goes:

1) Netflix. This wonderful service allows me to watch the first season of MacGyver without annoying my husband or actually buying the discs. Which is just cool. I mean, I love my husband, therefore I won't force him to sit through the first season of MacGyver. What could be more loving that that?

2) My pressure cooker. It's a Fagor, which is one step down from the best brand. Kuhn-Rikon is the best, but hey, have you seen the price tags on these things? Good God! But 15 psi of pressure goes make a lot of difference in cook time for things like stock, bolognese sauce and soups. In the last twenty-four hours, I have made pasta sauce and two batches of chicken stock. Yay me! But more importantly, yay my pressure cooker.

3) Lego Star Wars II. So fun, so simple, so good.

Well, I guess it can't be that simple, since I haven't won it yet. Yargh.

4) My friend Mehul. He's gonna hook us up with a sweet amplifier for a discount. Hubbie figures that with an awesome TV, we should have an awesome amp. We don't have an awesome amp... hence, Mehul!

5) My hubbie. Aww.

Well, enough for now. I've got a birthday party to attend!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Back from STL

So I'm back in Houston... and as I was flying into town, I realized that I don't much like Houston.


But I'm stuck here for a while yet, so I just have to suck it up.

On the plus side, Chris is going to buy a HDMI card to make our new fancy TV even MORE better. Or maybe an amp... we haven't decided.

Then again, there's this Denon receiver that's just the coolest thing. So I think we're going to get the HDMI card and save up for the receiver. Have I mentioned that I'm excited about this TV? Plasma! HDTV! Flat! Huge!

So awesome.

(But I'd still rather have my Mommy. I miss my Mommy.)

Sunday, January 07, 2007

The good and the bad

The good - Mom bought us a new 50" plasma TV, which rocks.

The bad - she walked in on my shower today.

I think I'd rather have a sane mother that didn't walk in on me than a TV.

But I'm enough of a money whore that I'll take what I can get. Ya know...

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Change is good

Welcome to the New Year. To celebrate the fact that I'm still alive and still posting, I decided to change up the blog a little bit.

Well, actually, Karla had the idea first. So yet again, I thieve. (Kinda like I pinch, but not as funny.)

So that's it, folks. Talk to ya later!

Monday, January 01, 2007

Another two-a-day

Well, hubbie said the last post was good. But for some reason, I feel the need to post again. Why? 'Cause I came across a good meme. So I have to do it, 'cause otherwise the time will have passed. Which would be a shame.

1.What did you do in 2006 that you’d never done before?

Went to Sonoma Valley with my husband and mother. One day on the trip we got a driver/guide, which was a very good day. We got to tour some very small, obscure wineries... that had some very excellent wine. Yummy yummy.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

This one is easy - I don't make resolutions. I occasionally set goals, but even those usually refer to the next several months instead of the next year. This year, my goal is to go to the gym three or four times a week consistently for the next month. Hopefully, at the end of the month, I'll be able to set the goal of gym attedence at five times a week for at least a month.

Hubbie and I would like to be skinny again, so gym attendence is necessary. But resolutions are too much pressure. So we'll leave it at goals.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

My favorite kiddos were born more than a year ago, but I really like Brenda and Kevin's baby. Alyssa does this thing with her hands that is just the cutest. I can't describe the motion in words, you'll just have to ask for a demonstration whenever you see me.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Thankfully no. I've had enough of that.

5. What countries did you visit?

The most notable was Guatemala. I'd never been someplace that poor before. I'd been to Hong Kong previously, but most of those folks could read. Not so much in Guatemala. And the folks in Hong Kong had seen different looking people before - different skin color, different language, that kind of thing. The folks in Zacapa would pay to see a doctor (not an insignificant fee, although really cheap by our standards) just to come oogle my red hair. Slightly creepy, but it made me feel bad. Come to think of it, I should've given those kids their money back. I just didn't think of it at the time. Darn.

6. What would you like to have in 2007 that you lacked in 2006?

My job.

7. What date(s) from 2006 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

December 12th and 20th 2006. Both days of really bad news. January 21, 2006 - the first Hosuton Meat and Martini party. Red meat and dry martinis. Aww yeah...

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Graduating from residency.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Yikes. Not getting my license. Changing the subject...

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

No. Fairly suprising, but not. How nice!

11. What was the best thing you bought?

My Zoloft. As my friend Tommy would say, "The big Z keeps me sane." I couldn't do without it, and I don't want to do without it. Yay for health insurance!

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?

My hubbie. He's the greatest. I don't know why he sticks around, but I'm really grateful that he does.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?

The Chimp in Chief. He's so dumb that I can't even find words. Every time he comes on TV I have to turn away because listening to him talk makes my skin crawl. Yuck yuck yuck.

14. Where did most of your money go?

To my debt. Like it always does.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

The Astros. I really thought they would pull out a late season miracle. They didn't, but it was a good ride.

16. What song will always remind you of 2006?

Blue October, Hate Me

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
happier or sadder?


thinner or fatter?

Thinner. Thanks to the gym. Yay Fit!

richer or poorer?

Poorer. See the bit about licensing.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?


19. What do you wish you’d done less of?


20. How will you be spending Christmas?

We spent Christmas with my Aunt. It was cool - I got boots and formal wear and books. How cool is that?

21. Who deleted question 21?


22. Did you fall in love in 2006?

No. I was already in love. But that love continued, which was awesome.

23. How many one-night stands?


24. What was your favourite TV programme?

Dirty Jobs. I love Mike Rowe. I don't know why, I just do.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?


26. What was the best book you read?

Seeing as I read five books a week, this is a hard question. Sorry folks, no answer is forthcoming.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?

The Spankers. They're very silly, and very funny. And they have banjo and clarinet. How can I not like them?

28. What did you want and get?

I got a Mario Batali pot. It's awesome, it's orange and it's mine. I'm rockin' on with my bad self.

29. What did you want and not get?

My license.

30. What was your favorite film of this year?

Casino Royale. Lordly, I love Bond. Yummy yummy yummy.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

Folks threw a regress-to-childhood party celebrating my big 3-0. I had a sippy cup. I drank wine from my sippy cup... and discovered sippy cups are great alcohol pacers, since they don't let you drink fast. So that was good. Frustrating, but good.

32.What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Yet again, a job.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2006?

Bohemian. I decided to be funky, and I was. Yipee!

34. What kept you sane?

My husband. He's too cool for school.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Daniel Craig. Bond is so good. I drool just thinking about 007.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?

Iraq. We were dumb to invade, but dumber to stay. What the hell are we doing, anyway? And the possibility of a draft? Are you fucking kidding me? The Selective Service testing their methods? At least the country isn't going to blame the soldiers this time - we've finally learned that the gubment is at fault, not the poor sods who just wanted to go to college or get out of the hood.

37. Who did you miss?

My dad. Still.

38. Who was the best new person you met?

Mike. 'Cause at least for the moment, he makes the Ween happy.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2006.

The egg comes before the chicken. Don't pay for the chicken when you don't have the egg.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

From Unwritten Law, Save Me

And I'm sick of my sickness

Don't touch me, you'll get this.

I'm useless, lazy, perverted,

And you hate me.

You can't save me,

You can't change me,

Well I'm waiting for my wake-up call,

And everything, everything's my fault.


Last night hubbie and I made a full, formal, sit-down dinner for 22 people. The menu was as follows:

First course / pre-dinner munchies

goat cheese marinated with olive oil, basil and red pepper flakes
homemade bread

Main course

filet mignon
roasted chicken
lamb chops marinated with rosemary and thyme
green beans with carmelized onions
roasted potatoes with garlic, dill and chives
spinach salad with warm red onion, olive oil and garlic dressing


turtle cheesecake (made by my otherwise very manly friend, Rob)

It was amazing. People seemed to really like the food. Hubbie and I did enough prep work before the guests arrived that when they did, we could largely sit back and enjoy ourselves. We made the decision that we would have everyone sit down and we would serve them, instead of letting people choose their portions themselves.

This was a good plan.

Since we hadn't ever cooked for so many people before, we underestimated the amount of food needed. So portioning was very very important. Even with careful portioning, we still pretty much ran out of food. No seconds on most things; if hubbie hadn't had the idea to make four roast chickens 'just in case' we would have been sunk. Note to self: seven pounds of potatoes, two pounds of green beans with about a pound of onion, six pounds of filet mignon (more on that later), one pound of lamb and three chickens just barely feed 22 people. Yikes. Only the last chicken remained standing, as it were.

Back to the filet - we could afford that hunka hunka burning meat because of how and where we bought it. The cut we actually bought was the PSMO, which, according to the USDA, is defined as:

PSMO ("Pismo") - A beef tenderloin from which practically all surface fat has been removed and the side muscle (psoas minor) has been left attached.

The PSMO comes in a large vaccusealed container and can't be bought at the supermarket. To get one, ya gotta go to Costco. It looks much more like something that actually came from a cow than almost anything foud in a grocery store. There are actually rib notches on one side. Once out of its hermetically sealed wrapping, I had to butcher it myself. This poses a problem because, well, I'm not actually a butcher. Luckily, Alton Brown and his show Good Eats rode to my rescue. He did a show called Tender is the Loin and he broke down a PSMO - so I had a general idea what I was doing. After about a half hour of work, I had a nicely butchered loin. The whole reason I could afford to make filet was because I was willing to put in that half hour of work.

Holy crap, it was worth it! Yummy yummy yummy. And I just felt classy serving filet mignon to our guests.

There's something vaguely masturbatory about cooking for others. I do enjoy cooking for its own sake. Hubbie looked over once yesterday as I was wrist deep in raw chicken carcasses (more on that later), olive oil and lemons and grinned. When I asked why, he said, "Because you're having fun. If you know anything by now, you should know that I like watching you having fun, no matter what the cause." But even beyond that, I really like making something that others appreciate. It makes me feel good. But then I feel kinda bad because part of why I cook is to get praise, which seems like cheating. Or something. I'm not supposed to walk up to my friends and say, "Hey, compliment me!" I frequently feel like that is exactly what I'm doing when I cook for anyone other than my husband. On the flip side, one of my goals in life is to be half of 'that couple'. You probably know a couple like the one I mean - when you get the invite to come over for dinner, one of the initial reactions is 'hell yeah, the food's always so good.' I want that reaction. But when the praise comes in, I get embarrassed and feel vaguely guilty. Yeah, I know, I'm conflicted.

Anyway, about the chickens. Like the rest of the meat, we bought them at Costco. They were sold in two-packs labeled 'Young Chicken.' The remarkable thing about these chickens was the sheer quantity of innards that came with each chicken. Usually whole chickens come with the liver and the neck, right? These came with the heart, liver, lung, thymus, kidneys, spleen, neck... pretty much everything except the head, brain, feet and feathers. Anyone have any good recipes for organ meat? Bueller? Bueller?

Overall, the party was a success. I went to bed at about 2am, and hubbie finally found his bed at about 5am. Yeah, I know, the hostess shouldn't go to bed before everyone leaves. But by that time, the only people left were hardcore drinkers and friends. They didn't give a rat's ass. The night wasn't completely free of drama, however. One of my friend's cars got towed. In Boston, I could have relied on the SIGNS to tell me when towing would be enforced. Here in Houston, no such luck. So now she owes us the $200 she used to get her car out of hock. Oh well.

Happy New Year, everyone. Stay safe, stay as sane as necessary and have fun. Love well and often, but use condoms during sex. Vaccinate your children. Be a good person.

May 2007 be better than 2006.