Thursday, June 29, 2006

DMV Porn

Sorry, if anyone has noticed that it is taking me a day or two to post your comments, or that my visits to your websites have been more infrequent. I do not have internet, or cable, or phone service at my house yet, so I'm stuck sporadically checking email at a local coffee shop that features free wireless. Hopefully, once my hospital schedule is a little more regular, I can check it at the library.

Yesterday, the locksmith returned for his second visit to finish up rekeying my locks and installing a new deadbolt on my antiquated side door.

I also went to the bank to change my address and mess around with my accounts. They had some sort of bizarre computer glitch, so I sat there with a woman as she frantically tried to update the computer database with my new info several times. She ended up on the phone with technical support. After 45 minutes, she still was not able to change my info, and I had started drifting off to sleep in my chair (Ru's bus left very early in the am, so we only got about 3 hours of sleep because we were up chatting the night before.). The woman took pity on me, and waived the charge for my new checks. She sent me on my way, and reassured me that sooner or later, she would get my address changed.

Today's plans are to figure out the lawnmower and attempt to mow the grass evenly. I also need to "invite" the Darryl's back to do the second ceiling fan.

Hopefully, either today or tomorrow I'll start shopping for a couch as there's currently absolutely nothing in the living room, other than my small TV that I bought in a pawnshop for $50 eight years ago. Sad, very sad.

I also need to get back into going to the gym, before my schedule starts really picking up.

My first shift is this Saturday. I will be working in the pediatric side of the ED, which means a 10-hour shift, and it's overnight. I'm really nervous about it, particularly as I can't even recall the last time I saw a pediatric patient. I think that the rest of my shifts are on the adult side this month.

On the plus side, yesterday I finally completed the long paperwork trail (they lost about a quarter of my stuff) and received my parking pass ($27/month), ID badge, and my doctor's stamp. Their way of dealing with illegible signatures is to just have us all stamp our names underneath. Pretty cool, eh?

This morning I met up with my insurance agent, and then headed over to the DMV. It actually wasn't that painful of a process, and they even gave me my new license plates in person. Everyone remarked on my old AZ license as it didn't expire until 2043. However, afterwards I was looking through my stuff and realized that I needed to get a vehicle inspection and had no idea where to go.

I looked online and checked the general DMV numbers first. My options were 1-800-DIAL-DMV, 1-800-CALL-DMV, and a local number. DIAL-DMV was disconnected. CALL-DMV gave me another number for "exciting live conversation". I thought that was rather sarcastic of them, and gave it a try. Guess what? It was a phone sex line! As soon as I heard, "Hey there, sexy guy!" I hung up, and since it was an 800-number I don't think they can charge me for calling.

Finally, I called the local number and was told I can just go to any old garage for an inspection. That would have been nice to tell me in person. Arizona doesn't really care about emissions until your vehicle is x-amount of years, and since mine is a 2002, I've never had to do anything about it. Oh well.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

To the Tune of "Dueling Banjos"

Ok, so I am not the most mechanically inclined person. How long would you estimate that it would take a licensed electrician to install a ceiling fan? 1 hour? 2 hours? How about FOUR FREAKING HOURS!!!

I had explained my dilemma with carving into the ceiling over the phone. Apparently, the electrician wasn’t too impressed with my needs, as he sent his bumbling assistant over first to my house. Let’s just call him Darryl. Ru and I had already completely removed the old ceiling fan, so there were just some wires hanging down from a bare plaster ceiling. I explained to Darryl that the new fan was very heavy and would require strong support. Darryl talked to his boss (let’s just call him Darryl, too) over the phone and was told that he would need to put in a new electric box with a bracket to support the weight.

However, Darryl instead decided to just find a stud in the ceiling and really put a lot of screws into it for support. About 45 minutes had passed by and I walked through the living room and noticed that there was only one screw in the ceiling and Darryl was just kind of staring up blankly. I asked him what he was doing, and this is the conversation that ensued:

“I’m trying to find a stud to screw this thing into,” said Darryl #1.

“Do you need any help?”

“No, I’m just having a hard time finding the stud.”

“Would you like a stud finder?” I suggested.

“Do you have one of those?” asked Darryl #1 excitedly, with a look of glee.

“Um, yeah. Here you go.”

“Whoa! I was just going to put in a bunch of screws everywhere until I started hitting stuff!”

“No problem.” I continued to watch Darryl #1 as he placed the short end of the stud finder against the ceiling.

“Here, this thing doesn’t work,” he said perplexedly, and handed the brand-new tool back to me.

“Um, you have to put the long end of it against the surface, so you can see the bulbs light up at you.”

“Oh, right.”

At this point, I was pretty sure Darryl #1 needed to be preoccupied until the real electrician came over. He still looked confused as to how to expand the hole in the ceiling. At this point, he was using my ladder, and my meager collection of tools. I distracted him briefly by showing him the other ceiling fan I’d bought for the master bedroom that had no preexisting light fixture. After a bit of scrunching up his face, he decided that going through the floor of my attic to get into my bedroom ceiling was a little outside his scope of practice, and he headed back towards the living room project.

Oh, crap. I thought, as an hour had passed and the real electrician had yet to show up. Darryl #1 went on his first smoke break. I told him that my doorbell was also not working, so after some complicated unscrewing of the ringer and looks of befuddlement at some basic wiring, he was able to clean it up a bit, and I now have a buzzer that sounds rather like a tired cow bellowing its last breath. Fortunately, Darryl #2 then pulled into the driveway.

Darryl #2 quickly assessed the job, and decided a ceiling medallion was needed to cover up the hole that needed to be enlarged in the ceiling. After being in my house for about 10 minutes, he took off to the hardware store, and set Darryl #1 back to work on the ceiling.

Darryl #2 was gone for over an hour. Poor Ru and I didn’t know what to do with Darryl #1, so we set to screwing brackets onto the fan blades and let him “supervise” our work. He then took a second smoke break, and I was feeling homicidal as there was no cool breeze to be found and I felt imprisoned in my own home with a musky-smelling moron.

Finally, Darryl #2 returned, claiming there had been an accident on the highway that held him up. He briefly got Darryl #1 to return to the project and chatted me up in the kitchen while I unloaded the dishwasher. By that time we were about 3 ½ hours into the project and he explained that he wouldn’t be able to get to the upstairs fan that night. I explained to him that I didn’t want him to come back if there was going to be another $85 service fee involved. He reassured me that there would not be, and also that he would not be charging me for all of the time they’d spent at my house, as much of it had not involved working.

Since I had an actual licensed electrician in my kitchen I decided to get as many free opinions out of him as I could while his idiot savant labored in the living room. I showed him the basement and attic that I want to rewire. He inspected my circuit box, and I think realized that I might be a potential source of revenue in the future, and reassured me that they would come back another day to do the fan in my master bedroom and would drastically reduce the charge. There was quite a bit of winking on his part, especially once he found out that I was an intern and had also surmised that I am single. He wasn’t bad looking, just a bit too old for me, and obviously lazy. Now I’m thinking of asking/begging one of my fellow interns to be a decoy boyfriend on the day that he returns as Ru will be abandoning me to return to the peace and quiet of Seattle.

Darryl #2 took off, and Darryl #1 finally got out of my house. The fan works wonderfully, but I’ve been halfway expecting to find it in a million pieces on the floor every time I return home.

So here it is, the ceiling fan in all of its glory:

I almost forgot: the job also cost me one Phillips screwdriver. I own(ed) four screwdrivers: 2 flatheads, and 2 Phillips, a large and small of each. Darryl #1 started mixing in his tools with mine. I pointed out to him that he had taken my screwdriver, but he insisted that it was his, and kind of growled protectively. Because I know that the treatment for rabies is painful, I decided to just surrender the screwdriver. Whatever. Hopefully, the job on Thursday will be much less eventful, and I will be hiding my toolbox!


These are gargantuan sundaes that Ru and I had treated ourselves to the day before. I got about halfway through mine and felt nauseous. We ended up skipping dinner that night as we were both so full.


This is a flower arrangement and two bottles of sparkling wine given to me by the former owners.

It almost makes up for the huge-ass pile of trash on the curb that they left in their wake. It wouldn’t have been so bad except that they left it on Friday and today finally trash day. The bags were out in the open, so they were pawed through by interested neighbors, trash was artfully spread across the lawn by skunks, and it has rained so much that by today everything was so water-logged that it was twice as heavy.


I really hope that Ru has enjoyed her visit. It certainly was a high-stress drive and move for me. Not to mention that the past two days I’ve been busy at the hospital with boring orientation stuff, so she’s been left to her own resources. I think our friendship has grown a little more, and I’m sad she’s leaving tomorrow.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

A Room of One's Own

On Thursday evening, we arrived in my new hometown. Here's a few more tidbits from the trip.

This was a "fortune" on a bottle cap of Jones soda that we opened during our drive:

I started off the trip trying to cautiously maneuver the rental truck. However, by the last day I no longer cared what anyone else on the road was doing, and ignored all of these helpful suggestions:

Friday was a pretty stressful day. After going to the bank to get a cashier's check for an ambiguous amount of money ("just take your bank's estimate and add $1000"), we went to the house for a quick walk-through. It turned out that the sellers still had a bunch of junk in the basement and random stuff here and there. They were really sweet though in that they also left me a small bouquet of flowers, champagne in the fridge, and a note that named the neighbors and everyone who had done major work on the house.

After that, we raced off to closing. I had expected it to involve discussing fine points of the transaction, but really it was just a convient place for us all to get together (me, the sellers, our respective agents, the bank's lawyer, my lawyer, and the seller's lawyer) to sign paperwork. For an hour. Poor Ru sat in the lobby and got pretty far through a novel!

After closing, we went out for a quick lunch, and then I raced to return the car carrier while Ru held down the fort at the house and made sure that the movers I had hired to help us unload the truck didn't disappear. I don't really own a lot of stuff, but had been given a few family antiques that I thought it would be wiser if the two of us didn't move ourselves.

After unloading the truck, and setting up our respective beds, Ru and I decided to reward ourselves with a movie. We saw "Click", which I think is one of Adam Sandler's better movies. Other than having to make THREE separate trips to Penske to return errant furniture pads, turning in the rental truck went pretty well.

After the movie, I realized that the first time in two years, I have a home to go home to. No more moving around, no more delicately pretending not to hear other people's business as they scream at each other and slam doors, etc. I now have many rooms, all my own--pictures soon to follow.

Today was a good day as well. Being from the desert, I like to feel air moving against my skin. Before I left Arizona, I had purchased a couple of ceiling fans that I felt confident that Ru and I could install. We bought a few small necessities this morning, and set to opening up the first one. There was already a ceiling fan in the living room, but I wanted one with lights, so I thought it would be easy to switch out. However, once we got it down, we realized that the existing electrical box was the wrong shape, so we returned to Home Depot once again. They were not very helpful and insisted that I needed to carve a big hole in my ceiling and install proper support. I looked at him like he was crazy, and walked out of there pretty fast.

I pride myself on being pretty independent, but I caved this time and called an expert. I hate asking for help, but on Monday I not only have a guy coming to rekey all my locks, but now an electrician as well. In the meantime, I guess I'll just have to stare at those bare wires hanging out of the plaster in the living room and avoid the temptation to mess with them.

Thursday, June 22, 2006


I was exhausted at the time of my last post. Here's a couple things I forgot:

1. I had a lot of fun hanging out with Ru's friend, Sarah, and her family. While we were visiting The Garden of the Gods, Their 3 year-old entertained us greatly as when she heard that one of the rock formations was called "The Sleeping Giant" she insisted on us speaking in quiet voices so as not to wake him up. Seriously though, a good time was had by all, and after our walk, we all went out for ice cream cones.

2. Driving in Kansas is like driving in an extremely long wind tunnel. The truck swayed all over the place, and I didn't think too much of it until I saw that the birds that were trying to fly against the wind weren't making any progress.

3. If you want a more detailed description of our trek, you can read about it at Ru's website.

4. It's bedtime! We finally arrived at our destination today, and tomorrow the fun begins with meeting up with all of the lawyers for closing on the house, unloading the truck, etc.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

A Louse-y Time in New Mexico

I have been a little busy lately. The packing continued throughout last week. On Friday, “The Phoenix” and her father came by in the evening and were very kind in helping me organize and secure all of the heavy items into the Penske truck that I had picked up that morning. They were also kind enough to stick around and force me to load all of the boxes that I had packed into the truck.

On Saturday, I met up with family for an early Father’s Day lunch, and said my goodbyes. Then I hurried home to finish up packing my room before Ru came over. We finished loading up the truck, and she “supervised” the hooking up of the car carrier to the truck and attaching my car. I now can add car carrier attachment and detachment to my list of marketable skills!

Here’s a picture of the truck I rented and am driving across the country with my car in tow:

Driving the truck itself is not too hard, as it is not all that much longer than the ambulance I used to race around town. The car carrier adds a whole new level of difficulty, and has lead to some interesting parking situations:

Ru and I left Arizona early Sunday morning, and have been driving like madwomen. The first night we spent in Bernalillo, New Mexico about a half hour north of Albuquerque. We stayed at a cheap motel chain, and I guess poor Ru suffered the consequences. I did an online tutorial for my residency program at the motel, and everything the night before had seemed to go well enough. However, when we were getting ready to leave the next morning, Ru noticed a small, creepy-crawly thing on her comb. Uh-oh. Almost an hour later, after a quick trip to a drugstore and several shampoos for Ru, we were on our way. She told the front desk clerk what had happened, but all they said was, “Hmm, well that’s weird!”

After our late start, we stopped for the night at Colorado Springs, to spend the night with some friends of Ru’s. They took us to Garden of the Gods, and we walked around. It was really pretty, but stupid me, I forgot my camera.

Oh yeah, both New Mexico and Colorado were on fire at different points of our trip:

This morning we headed out early, and managed to log over 700 miles today and have made it to Missouri. We’re tired, and I can’t speak for Ru, but my butt is numb, and I believe adapting a somewhat flatter form from all of the sitting.

Friday is closing day on my house, and so far we’re on track.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Can You Keep a Secret?

Ok, so here's some personal info I'll divulge: I am a cheapskate.

My cheapskatedness is partly the reason why I have not finished packing yet. Here's the deal:
I refuse to pay for boxes. They're just garbage, and I'm going to throw them away myself, so why should I pay for them? A classmate of mine gave me a hot tip on where to score some free cardboard a few weeks ago. She said to check out one of the local hospitals and to try Petsmart.

The hospital turned out to be a good lead. Every day they throw a bunch of boxes in a fenced area in the back to be compressed at the end of the day. I called their Materials Department, and they even were kind enough to tell me to help myself whenever I wanted to. The problem? There's quite a variety in the boxes put out from day to day. Some days there were small boxes with divisions from the pharmacy that were perfect for heavy textbooks. And today I scored some good-sized boxes for clothing and other light items. I now have a variety of sizes to choose from when packing, but it took quite a few trips there to accumulate them.

Petsmart it turns out, is run by teenagers. Depending on whom one talks to, they either have a policy against giving the public boxes, suggest you coming by in the evening, or suggest a specific time and then have a puzzled look on their face when you actually show up to pick up the boxes.

I did finally break down on Tuesday and purchased four boxes and some rope from UHaul, as I needed some wide, but flat boxes for framed posters and a painting. The cost? $31. One can do a lot with $31. That's about the price of a full tank of gas for me, although it was less than $20 when I first bought my car.

Like I said, I think it's a big scam to buy boxes. However, it has taken a good bit of driving around and sweaty cursing on my part when trying to flatten and compact said boxes into my already compact car.


My other act of thriftiness/procrastination has been sorting through my CD collection. I had 3 boxes packed full of CDs and decided that I wouldn't mind parting with about 1/3 of them. To do this, I went to a local chain that trades and pays cash for used CDs and DVDs. The problem here was that the buyback demand lists for all 5 of their locations was not linked, so I had to drive from store to store with my box of wares to see what each location would take. I also went to an independent store as well. Overall, I earned over $200 in store credit, which I spent mainly on movies and television series... as people keep voicing the opinion that I won't have time to watch regular television during my intern year.

However, I still have about 10 CDs left that absolutely no one will take, so I'm unloading half of them on The Phoenix, and the others I'll probably just throw away. I was going to donate them to Goodwill, but even I am not cruel enough to inflict things like the Boyz II Men Holiday Album on the less fortunate!

So perhaps a whole day was spent wandering in and out of used music stores.

In keeping with today's cheapskate theme, here's a recipe from college that I'll share with you:

Kate's 25-Cent Tuna Salad

2 packets mayonaise (preferably you've been refrigerating these and not keeping them in the car!)
1 packet pickle relish
1 can of tuna
4 packets of crackers

To pull off a 25-cent meal requires a lot of forethought, so don't expect to be able to do this in one evening. Throughout the semester, stash away extra packets of relish and mayonaise from convenience stores or fast food chains. (Relish is particularly tricky to find, so when you come across it, GRAB it!) When you eat in the cafeteria or at a buffet, always grab an extra packet of crackers with your salad. When making a beer run to the grocery store, be sure to walk down the canned food aisle, and keep an eye out for 25-cent tuna!

Open tuna can and dump contents in bowl after straining off gross oily stuff. Open packets of pickle relish and mayonnaise and mix with tuna (I like to do this with a plastic knife, also conveniently obtainable from the cafeteria). Open crackers and arrange fashionably on plate surrounding tuna salad on bowl, so you don't look so pathetic. Apply tuna salad to cracker with plastic knife like spackle, and enjoy!


And on a separate note, I was looking at some of the statistics for my blog on, and do you know how some people have been finding my blog?

I was listed by Google for both the words hermaphrodite and Squamish.

So here you go: hermaphrodite, hermaphrodite, Squamish, hermaphrodite, Squamish, Squamish.

I anticipate many more site visits in my future.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Farewell Washington

On the last full day of my visit, Ru and I drove out to Mount Rainier and hiked around. This is the trail on which I found the banana slug.

On the information sheet that the ranger gave us at the entrance, it recommended that all hikers carry the "10 Essentials" which include: a topographic map, compass, extra food, extra clothing/rain gear, emergency shelter, first aid kit, flashlight and extra batteries, sunglasses and sunscreen, pocketknife, and matches. Guess how many we had with us? Um, extra clothing? We did have water and crackers in the car to snack on afterwards.

We got into the park via Carbon River Road, and hiked 3 miles to the Carbon Glacier viewpoint. Being from the desert, I had never seen a glacier before, let alone snow during the month of May!

To get to the glacier, we crossed another suspension bridge. This one seemed a little less sturdy than the one in Canada, but I think maybe that was because it was longer. Also the plank design seems to have a lot more give than having several beams parallel to each other.

After crossing, I spotted this sign:

Of course, we had managed to break rule numbers 1 and 3 on the way over. What's the point in crossing a suspension bridge if you can't try to bounce your friend off of it? When I showed my mom the pictures last weekend, she pointed out that she thinks we broke number 2 as well.

From the viewpoint, we hiked down into the river bed, which is a big "no-no" as well. As we got closer, two other hikers passed us on their way back from the glacier. They recommended actually crawling inside, but "one of you at a time, so the other one can stand on the outside and watch for rocks." As we got closer, you could see and hear small rocks continuously falling down the slope of the glacier.

There were two wide caves at the base of the glacier, and water was dripping down from the mouth of the glacier. Call me a wuss if you want, but I decided that at this point I didn't want to make the 2006 Darwin awards. I could just see the headline: "Medical student dies in avalanche, last photo on camera is sign saying 'Stay away from glacier'." Plus, if I had died 5 days before graduation, that would just suck to not have the title after all this time and money.

Why is it that only famous people get their names in the headline, and everyone else just gets their work title? Wouldn't it be just as dramatic to say "Kate dies in avalanche" and then explain who I am in the article?

Anyway, we took our photos and hiked back out of the river bed. From a distance, the glacier had just looked like a wall of rock, but closer up, you can appreciate the actual shape of the ice. It kind of reminded me of Superman's Ice Palace, but a lot less stable.

On the way out of the park, we stopped at Chenuis Falls, which is only .2 miles off the road. It was pretty, but I didn't think it was near as impressive as Brandywine Falls. On the way onto the trail we passed another hiker in flannel with a beard, and beautiful green eyes. He kind of looked like the Brawny paper towel guy, and I tell you he was HOT! I am not normally attracted to lumberjacks, so at this point we decided we had been in the woods for far too long!

Total hiking distance: 6.4 miles. The park road is very muddy with potholes big enough to bury children in, so if you want to do this hike, I would recommend driving a truck rather than a compact car! Also, there are no "facilities" on the trail. If you have had your morning coffee, you may find yourself peeing in the woods while your buddy keeps a lookout, just 40 feet above the heads of some picnicking lovers. --I'm just saying hypothetically, that could happen.

That night, we stayed up late watching movies. Unfortunately, we had to get up super early to take me to the airport, and poor Ru had a full day of work ahead of her.

Monday, June 12, 2006


After our Canadian adventure, Ru and I decided to lay low a bit. We spent a day roaming around Seattle. First, she took me downtown to Pike Place Market.

These guys are the famous fish-throwers.

Unfortunately, there was not a whole lot of purchasing going on that morning, so I guess they were not in much of a fish-throwing mood. The place was packed though, as we were there during Memorial weekend.

I have no idea how you cook any of this stuff, but I thought that maybe Chris of might be impressed.

The market also featured many homemade crafts by local artisans and there were many beautiful arrangements of fresh flowers at insanely low prices.

After that, we went to Seattle Center, in the area of the Space Needle to check out the Folklife Festival. I managed to distract Ru just long enough for her to lock her keys in the car, but my AAA membership came in handy as unknown to me, they provide FREE locksmith services!

The festival was a lot of fun. There was a good variety of performers and tons of food to try out. I spotted this sign and just had to snap a quick photo-- sorry about the poor quality:

Does the word dingleberry mean the same thing to you as it does to me? It is not exactly the most palate-tempting name.

We played it safe and stuck to funnel cakes with powdered sugar, banana & nutella crepes, and fudge! Ru had been raving about this groovy donut guy, who inconveniently RAN OUT OF DONUTS when we arrived.

These guys were fun to listen to, and I especially found it amusing that the drummer’s setup featured a Safeway shopping cart (where we happened to have parked illegally) and a Starbuck’s umbrella with the logo ripped off. Way to “Stick it to the Man”, dude.

These guys were also amusing, as were their unpictured groupies who were shaking their stuff in tanktops and had their own following of teenage boys hoping for a wardrobe failure.

Other interesting performers:

After the festival, we tried to meet up with Ru’s church group to go on a ferry ride around Puget Sound, but they had left without us, despite our arriving 5 minutes early. Instead, we walked up and down the very cute main street of Ana Cortes. It was there that we had our most extravagant dinner during my trip, dining on some excellent salmon and also some sort of ravioli with a weird name that was stuffed with lobster and crab. Mmmm.

I don’t think my fitness model friend who reviews my workouts would have approved of my diet that day, but whatever. I think the best way to get over a performance plateau at the gym is to screw things up quite a bit!

There are no pictures of the next day as we laid low, and rented semi-obscure movies. We met up with one of Ru’s friends, L, for dinner, who I can best describe as an entertaining bundle of energy in a small package. I highly approve. Ru also pulled her disappearing key act once again, but this time I had her spare in my purse, so there was no delay for a locksmith!


Back on the homefront, I really think that this city is out to get me. I survived my obligatory lunch, but a funny thing happened on the drive home.

My car had been sitting outside the restaurant in the sun for about two hours, with its contortionist silver sunshade in the windshield.

I was wearing shorts and luckily was stopped at a stoplight. All of a sudden, I felt something hot and wet on the top of my right thigh. I looked down, and there was a quarter-sized splotch of dark, red fluid on my thigh that had left small splatter droplets across the inside of my left thigh. Gross!

I looked up at the roof of my car, looking for the source of the blood. I didn’t hurt anywhere and the roof was suspiciously its usual dry beige color. I don’t know what I was expecting to find up there, maybe a small animal tacked to my ceiling by some sort of psychopath vandalizing parked cars? I don’t know.

I looked down at my leg and back up again.

This time I noticed that tucked under the elastic of my driver’s side visor there was a red ink Pilot pen. Apparently, it had gotten too hot when I had the visor folded down with the sunshade and red ink had started slowly leaking out just in time to land right onto my bare leg.

Pretty random, eh? I guess I’m a very lucky girl that it didn’t happen when I was wearing nice clothes and that it didn’t even land on the upholstery of my car! I guess tomorrow I’ll grab some rubbing alcohol and try to get it out of the fabric of the visor as it does look kind of morbid.

I tried to clean up a bit as I was on my way to the mall to look for some new running shoes. I don’t believe I have a pair that’s less than 2-3 years old, and on our hikes I’ve noticed that I can feel the texture of the rocks I’m stepping on.

So there I was, in the bathroom of a very snooty department store scrubbing at the top and inside of my thighs with a wet, soapy paper towel. It smeared around some, but wouldn’t really come off. I probably looked kind of suspicious to the other women in the restroom. If it was blood, it would have been darker and washed off really easily, but perhaps these upscale housewives aren’t as well-rounded as the ones on television.

The shoe salesmen were particularly unhelpful today. I don’t normally shop there, but I had a gift card from my birthday that I have been meaning to use before I leave town. Perhaps the oddly placed streaks of red ink on my thighs had something to do with it.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

The End of an Era?

I think that 28 is a bit too old to be doing things I don't want to do just to please other people. If I had my way right now, I would just disappear with a barely-audible *poof* and perhaps a wisp of smoke for dramatic effect.

You are probably wondering WTF I'm talking about right now.

You are probably also wondering whether or not I actually returned empty-handed from the Canadian pharmacy the other week.

I now have less than a week left in this city, and there's still so much to do. I'm just sick of all of the unneccessary time-killers like lunch today and another lunch tomorrow because so-and-so couldn't make it today. I am not a goodbye person. I would much rather just leave and let everything sort itself out later. I already know which friendships are maintainable and which aren't. The rest is all just fake pleasantries.

So in the meantime, I am cranky. I am saying the things that I'm thinking without a filter even more than normal. At lunch today, when a Jewish friend of mine made a big show of the rosary necklace her husband gave her for graduation (don't ask), I asked her if it burned-- which was not very nice of me.

By the end of the week, I'll probably be so intolerable to be around that poor Ru will end up wearing headphones and bringing some sort of makeshift room divider for the cab of the rental truck!

I know it is naive to think I won't continue to put myself in empty social situations in the future, but hopefully I will be a little more saavy about who I choose to spend time with. I don't know why I am so careful about not wanting to offend others. I dread constantly going to all of these stupid get togethers, but in the end, it is no one else's fault but my own that I'm there.

Saturday, June 10, 2006


I am continuing on with my Washington/Canada vacation. I last left off with Ru and I arriving in Squamish, BC late at night and checking ourselves into an older motel. Things often look entirely different in the morning, and I was thrilled when I opened the dreary motel room curtains to this view:

When vacationing with little disposable income, it becomes necessary to improvise a bit along the way. Since we pretty much came to the conclusion that while Vancouver looked like it had some nice window shopping, there wasn’t really much there in the city that we couldn’t find in Seattle, so we headed on further north towards Whistler.

Along the highway, I spotted a sign that had a silhouette of a hiker and the name Brandywine Falls, so we pulled over. The falls turned out to be less than a kilometer from the highway and were spectacular!

Additionally, there was a 3.5 km trail leading to a suspension bridge so we did that as well, first attempting the unmarked route and then doubling back after losing the way when we came to a wall of loose boulders. We did eventually make it all the way to the bridge, and I think our spontaneous stop turned into a 10 km hike!

Next we continued on to Whistler, which turned out to be a very well-manicured ski resort area. While there was still plenty of snow, I don’t think it was particularly the best time to ski, but we enjoyed walking around the shops and had a nice dinner at a local deli and flirted with a cute coffee barista. It turns out that both Ru and I are suckers for men with accents.

I have only ever attempted skiing once. After feeling that I had mastered snow plowing on a bunny slope, I insisted that I was ready for a “real run” and proceeded to pull every muscle in my legs, taking well over an hour to complete the run. The next time I go out, I’m definitely going for real lessons rather than 5 minutes of guidance from an acquaintance!

After that, we decided to head back to “the States”. The day before, we had “borrowed” a tulip from Stanley Park to take with us on the road. Seeing as how it was the end of the tulip season there, the poor flower continued to drop petals over the course of the two days. It finally gave up the last one just before we crossed back over the Canadian border.


Although our trip wasn’t what we had originally planned, it still turned out to be a lot of fun. I think we did pretty well too, having only offended two Canadians (that we know of) during the course of our stay.

The first was a bank teller in Squamish, who Ru was chatting with about exchange rates. She commented on how she had thought that the British pound and the Canadian dollar should be more similar in value then they are. All of a sudden the teller retorted, “We ARE our OWN country!”


Our next “victim” was a pharmacist close to the Canadian border. I was once again checking prices on some things, When I found out that the cash price of one of medications that I was interested in was only a few dollars more than the co-pay here, I said, “I’ll take two of them!”

The pharmacist kind of paused and gave me a strange look and said that I’d need a Canadian prescription for it.

Without even thinking about it I said, “Really? In Mexico, I can just pay cash for whatever I want.”

At that point, he rather sternly reminded me that I most certainly was not in Mexico.


Oh well, so much for diplomacy…