Saturday, November 28, 2009

best quote ever

Over a pre-Thanksgiving dinner:

Joey, do you know what cousin Yen does for her job?  She delivers babies.

Joey (9 years old)
[looks a little puzzled, cocks his head to the side]
In a box?

[looks a little puzzled, cocks her head to the side, and bursts out laughing]
Yeah, just like the mailman.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Strange maladies

So, breaking out in hives several times a week for several months now has not been fun.  Let me rephrase that.  It's been hell.  I finally gave in and made an appointment with an allergist, which was both helpful and not. 

The allergist, who was very nice, and her nurse, who was just as nice, both kindly explained to me that I was there to answer a bunch of questions and have some (as in ten tubes full) blood work, and, in the end, they may never find out why I am breaking out in hives and that I will still need my antihistamines.

I guess I should know by now that medicine is not the cure all that everyone thinks it should be.  But I have to admit that I hope that after ten tubes of blood testing for everything from kidney disease to lupus to thyroid dysfunction to allergies to everything from nuts to latex to plums and everything in between, that they would find something.  So far, all they've found is that I'm deficient in Vitamin D.  I could have told you that... no milk + no sun = Vitamin D deficiency.  Duh.  Somehow, I don't think that Vitamin D deficiency --> hives.... unless I slept through that lecture in medical school (which is a good possibility).

Oh well, until the day I can be off of Atarax or Benadryl, I will take my Vitamin D supplements.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Late night projects

Why is it that I decide to reface a clock at midnight?!  And that explains why I'm still up an hour and a half later and why I am so grumpy in the mornings. At least I don't have work tomorrow.  Yay!

Friday, November 6, 2009


I saw pictures of my a cruise trip my aunt and uncle took and my 5 year-old cousin is wearing a surgical mask in all his pictures because he was afraid of catching the flu.  At first, I thought it was hilarious.  After further thought, I think he may be onto something.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Catching up on sleep

So you know, I don't get much sleep.  I was really good my intern year, where I went to bed religiously at around 9, sometimes 10, so that I could at least get 7 hours of sleep.  Now, I'm lucky if I get 7 and it's more like 6 hours.  Granted, I feel like I'm doing well, but it's always bad news when someone tells you that you can't really catch up on sleep.  I mean, am I destined to be cognitively slower for the next 2 years and 8 months AND for however long it takes me to recover from being sleep deprived.  I mean, really, who can "bank" 10 hours of sleep a night? 

This is my favorite quote from the article:
"The scientists found that the "recovery" sleep did not fully reverse declines in performance on a test of reaction times and other psychomotor tasks, especially for subjects who had been forced to sleep only three or five hours a night."

What does that say when you sleep zero hours a night, like last night?

Sunday, November 1, 2009


I got my H1N1 vaccine last week... really, I was secretly hoping that I would get H1N1 before I got the vaccine because it would mean a mandatory time off until I was asymptomatic.  And yes, residency is bad enough that I would rather have the flu than come into work.  I have dreams of being forced to stay at home and sleep. 

Calling home

Today, I went to the farmer's market and was so excited to be enjoying the beautiful weather and to get there early enough to get some beautiful orchids (albeit, I was post-call, but that's another issue altogether).  However, in the excitement of picking through broccoli rabe or no name pluots, I somehow lost my phone. For a moment, I was delighted because it meant that I could finally get a new phone... then it hit me that I would somehow need to get everyone's phone number again.  EVERYONE'S PHONE NUMBER.  The anxiety hit me and I walked around the farmer's market, asking the vendors from which I had bought produce if they saw a phone.  No luck. 

Long story short, a woman found it and when my friend called my phone for me, she answered and said she would leave it at Starbucks.  I am now reunited with my phone. And delighted. But I will still get a new phone. 

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Oatmeal cookies

I love oatmeal cookies.  Love.  I don't even like cookies very much, but I love oatmeal cookies.  Leave it to me to have a favorite cookie that is made of oatmeal, I mean, how old and boring can I get before I reach 30? 

So, I finally gave in and bought oatmeal to make oatmeal cookies (I have never bought oatmeal before - I love oatmeal cookies, but loathe actual oatmeal) and a free issue of Cooks Illustrated came with the recipe for the perfect oatmeal cookies. 

A side note on Cooks Illustrated and America's Test Kitchen.  I'm in love with them.  Love.  If anyone out there wants to get me a birthday, Christmas, or everyday gift, get me a subscription to that magazine.  It's the perfect thing to satisfy the nerd and cook in me.  They test and retest all their recipes until they find the "perfect" whatever-it-may-be. 

Needless to say, I was excited to try their oatmeal cookie recipe.  Alas, I did make some changes to it (they called for lots more chocolate chips than I would like and I omitted the nuts since I thought two additions to my beloved oatmeal cookies would be enough).

Here's the recipe:

Perfect Oatmeal Cookies
(adapted from Cooks Illustrated)

  • 1 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats (I used baby oats, if you can find them)
  • 1 cup dried cranberries (their recipe called for sour cherries)
  • 3/4 cup semi-sweet or bittersweet (depending on whether you like sweet or not) chocolate chunks (or chips)
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter, softened but not soft
  • 1 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
  3. In another medium bowl, mix oats, cranberries, and chocolate
  4. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar at medium speed until combined, about a minute.
  5. Add egg and vanilla, beat on medium-low until combined.
  6. Add flour mixture a little at a time, mix until combined at low speed.
  7. Gradually add oat/cranberry/chocolate mixture until incorporated.
  8. Use a spatula to make sure all flour is incorporated.  Be careful, the mixture will be thick, so use a sturdy spatula (I broke mine in the process of making these cookies).
  9. Roll the flour into 2 inch balls, press into 1inch thick and place onto cookie sheet. 
  10. Bake for 12 minutes, then rotate pan front to back to ensure even cooking.  Bake for another 8-10 minutes.
  11. Cookies are done when the edges are brown and the middle is soft.  They will look undercooked.  Take them out now.  Otherwise, you end up with hard, inedible cookies and no one likes that. 


Anyone who knows me well knows that I am obsessed with birds.  Not the actual animal (I actually can't stand birds as pets), but more bird motifs.  My daily bag has birds on it. . My daily necklace has a bird.  There are little birds all over my apartment.  But no real birds allowed.  Alas, no one told that to the bird that decided to pay my apartment a visit and leave its mark on my scrabble box.  I have no idea how long this bird has been in my apartment, all I know is that I just noticed it (and it's possible that it's been there for at least a few hours). 

After screaming little "eeks!" to myself, I gently guided the bird to the door (not without it hitting the mirrored closet doors once or twice, though). 

Monday, October 5, 2009


So, my neighbor is oh so wonderful and plays World of Warcraft on his computer day and night. I could care less about what my neighbor does in his free time (which apparently is any time of day). However, what I care about deeply is my sleep. And my sleep gets interrupted and delayed because of sounds of grenades and tanks and guns. Ah, yes, the exact sounds I want to hear when I fall asleep.

Being the nice person that I am, I go and knock on his door, thinking I'm going to nicely tell him to keep it down after a certain time at night, you know, like around 10pm - you know, cause I have to be at work at 6am. As I'm standing in the cold night, shivering my ass off in my pajamas, he answers the door, with not a hello, but "If you have a problem, just call the *bleeping* cops" and proceeds to shut it on me.

Now, I'm afraid that I will have to deal with the noise even louder, just to spite me. And he's kind of shocked me into anger, which I don't like feeling.

Alas, this is why I'm looking into buying a house (if I can come down with the down payment). No pesky neighbors playing computer games because they don't have a life.

Forgive me, I just had to vent.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


Second year of residency is definitely tougher than first year.  People ask you questions and you're expected to know the answer.  People ask you to do things and you're expected to know how to do it. 

The trade-off is that yeah, I get to do a lot of stuff, which, for the most part, is fun.  (Yeah, I realize that sentence has an overwhelming number of commas.)

However, that trade-off is that when you do a lot of stuff, some stuff is bound to go wrong.  And that's the stressful part.

Now I'm scared to do another c-section.  I'm sure I will get over this.  But either way, it's not a great feeling, to go from doing something that you love so much to being afraid of it.  I understand that this is all a part of the training process, learning to deal with complications and surgeries that don't go as planned, but nonetheless, it adds piles upon piles of stress. 

I just had to get that off my chest.  It's been a tough going, but it will pass soon, I suppose.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Toe in the water

I went on a date today.  It was my first date in longer-than-I'd-like-to-admit.  And it was one of the worst dates I have ever been on.  It lasted only an hour and a half and I thought it lasted an eternity.  I didn't know how to end it.  It was terrible.  To make it weirder, I think he was the gayest straight man I have ever met.  Not that there's anything wrong with being gay (channeling that Seinfeld episode now).  Just that I would prefer not to date a gay man. 

All's well though.  I got some Sam Adams Summer Ale on my way home. 

Monday, August 31, 2009


I hate dictating charts.  It's the bane of my existence.  I am still at the hospital as I am typing this and still dictating charts.  My lips are becoming chapped.  My neck hurts.  I hate dictating charts. Have I mentioned that yet?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Liberal Lion

The Senate has lost an icon. 

And to imagine, I almost worked for him (through a contact I made selling my furniture on Craigslist... but that's another story for another time). 

Sunday, August 23, 2009

I {heart} Julia

Some quotes from Julia Child while watching the chicken episode:
"You can tell that this chicken is of legal age" - talking about how to tell a roasting chicken from an old hen.
"Now's the time for a butter massage!" - how everything is better with butter.
Just had to share.

Watching Julia

So, I have nothing else to do on a Sunday night other than watch public television (no, I do not have cable).  Alas, who is on public television except Ms. Julia Child herself.  As I'm mesmerized by watching her make omelettes (without a cooking utensil, to boot), I realize that she's cooking on an electric stove.  Electric!  Now I can't give the excuse of a poor electric stove to explain away my cooking.

Getting outside

Point Reyes 042

Last weekend, I eagerly stepped out of the flourescent lights of the hospital and into the bright sun. My friend, C, organized an outing to Point Reyes, to hike the Alamere Falls trail. I have to admit that at first, I wasn't very eager because I knew it would be my only day off in over 2 weeks and all that I really wanted to do was sit at home and veg. However, given my new resolution, I jumped right at it.

As a side note, as I looked at this description of the trail, I realized that it was a trail that I had been searching for since college. Back story is that when I was going out with this one guy, we went hiking with some friends to this beautiful trail. I had no idea where it was other than in Marin County. I had no idea what the name was. All I knew was that it had a waterfall on the beach at the end. And alas, I found it!

Point Reyes 026

Point Reyes 009

Swept away

30 - Thunder Hole

When I was in Maine, I had the chance to go to Thunder Hole several times, enjoying the non-thunderous sound of the waves. Apparently, I should have waited until a hurricane was called. Kinda sad.

Sunday, August 9, 2009


To be truthful, I have been neglectful of nearly every aspect of my life in the last month or so besides work.  Life as a second year is tough and when I get home, I'm lucky if I don't collapse on my sofa and watch tv for the rest of the night.  I haven't been cooking.  I haven't been swimming.  My apartment was such a mess that I was stressed out when I thought about it.  I hadn't done laundry in a month.  My mail was stacking up.  My "garden" is a mess and in desperate need of repotting (but the lemons are doing wonderfully). 

So, tonight, to get myself out, my friend T and I went to see Julie and Julia.  It was a good movie, kind of light entertainment and upbeat.  What I didn't expect, and maybe should have, was to be inspired.  I was inspired to branch out in my life.  To keep on pursuing those outside interests that keep me, well, me

I know that it seems silly, especially to those who haven't gone through residency, but it is hard to maintain a sense of self when you spend 80 hours a week serving others and bending to the will of others. 

My new resolutions: to work out more (which would mean working out at all), to cook more (no more CSA = no more veggies to force me to cook), to get back to exploring the south bay, and last, but not least, to go back to updating the blog. 

Also, to learn how to poach an egg. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Dear blog,

I am so sorry that I have neglected you.  You are probably starving for attention, and posts.  I did not mean to totally neglect you.  You see, I have been busy - but I know that that's no excuse.  But I feel as though I need to explain myself.
First of all, I went on vacation.  That's what started the whole thing.  I forgot to have someone tend to you while I was gone, as I had someone water the forest of plants in my apartment, I should have done the same for you.  My apologies.   I went to Morocco in June, which isn't the best time to visit as it gets very hot in Morocco (who would ever guess that the summers would be hot?!).  But I have plenty of pictures - but please don't ask me for them as I haven't had time to sleep let alone edit and upload pictures.  However, as a preview, you can see my pictures from Casablanca, which was definitely the least exciting of the cities I visited.   
Secondly, when I came back, I came full steam ahead into second year of residency - literally (I landed at 10PM and went to work at 6AM).  It's been busy, to say the least.  However, it's definitely been fun. I get to do c-sections nearly everyday.  I get to supervise people and feel as though I actually know something (whether I do or not is another question).  And, I got to deliver my first set of twins (via c-section, unfortunately)! 
And yes, lack of sleep.  Because I have been so busy (and yet to unpack completely from my trip), I am suffering from lack of sleep.  Because of this, I have prioritized sleep over you, dear blog. However, things look up and I am hoping to nurture you back to health.  Just give me a few more days, please. 

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I'm back!

And have to get up in 5 hours for work.  Yay!! 

Details to follow.

Friday, June 26, 2009

I'm still here

Yeah, yeah, I've been MIA.  I know that that's one of the worst things you could do in blogger world.  Whatever. I have a good excuse.  Will explain later.
And when did Michael Jackson die?  Dude, do I live in a cave? 

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Long time, no see

My dear, it's been a long time since I have posted here. My apologies to my loyal reader, as I just haven't been inspired. That's not to say that I haven't been busy. I started back on my obstetrics rotation, which means that I have been infinitely busy. Hence, I am enjoying my first day off in two weeks by doing none other than cleaning my apartment. It was so messy that it was making me stressed out just looking at it. Now, with it spic and span (sort of), I feel much much better.

Also, I'm planning my trip to Morocco. I'm usually a much better trip planner and not so last-minute, but here I am less than two weeks away from my trip and I have to still plan the itinerary, book hotels, book trains, figure out what to see, when. Ah! Who knew travel could be so stressful?

Alas, I have also been cooking. My pasta maker finally came and I put it to good use the other night making herbed pasta (use a simple pasta dough recipe and run it through the pasta machine several times on the lowest setting, then out to around "7" and then place various herbs (I used thyme and mint) on the pasta and fold it over once. Run it through the machine again several times until it's as thin as you desire).

Here is my apartment after my pasta making frenzy:
06.01.09 001

And it was all worth it for these gals:
06.02.09 022

Just look at this spread:
06.02.09 002

Monday, May 18, 2009


05.17.09 005-1

It's really a pity that yesterday was my first time making sushi - ever! Serious? Someone who loves fish and rice and all food as much as myself has never made sushi?

Well, it took a trip to the Japanese grocery store near my house to inspire me. Put together some fabulous tuna, some homemade sushi rice (2 cups rice cooked, mix with 3-4 tbsp rice vinegar, tsp salt, 4 tsp sugar), and some rolling skills and you have tuna rolls. I will have to try it with other ingredients and fancier next time.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Spaghetti and meatballs

05.15.09 016-1

To use up some of my vegetables, and to continue my resolution to use something out of my freezer, I decided to make the spaghetti and meatballs with a dash of spring vegetables. I have to admit that my weekly CSA is rather challenging - before I can use one week's vegetables, another week has come! So, to use up the vegetables that I have accumulated through the CSA (spring garlic, fresh shallots, chard, and summer squash) and in my garden (fresh basil, thyme, and oregano), I decided to cook up some spaghetti and vegetables. However, I was craving something meatier and remembered that I had a bag of Trader Joe's turkey meatballs in my freezer. Put it all together and you have spaghetti and meatballs (and spring vegetables!).


  • Any vegetables you'd like to add - squash works particularly well
  • Garlic & shallots - I used spring garlic and fresh shallots because that's what I had. You can use regular garlic and shallots, or only one of them, if that's what you have.

05.15.09 005

  • Fresh herbs (I had basil, oregano, and thyme - but any herbs of your choice would make do)
  • Tomato sauce (I would make my own usually out of fresh tomatoes and tomato paste, but I didn't have any on hand)
  • Trader Joe's turkey meatballs (or any other meatballs)

  • Boil and prepare pasta.
  • Saute the garlic and shallots in a pan with olive oil until fragrant.
    05.15.09 007

  • If you want, you can add the other vegetables now and saute until brown.
    An alternative I used this time was to broil the squash for about 12 minutes (stirring in between) until brown and caramelized. I am convinced that nothing tastes as good as grilled/broiled/barbecued zucchini. If you broil it (with salt, pepper, and oil), add the zucchini last minute to the sauce.
    05.15.09 013
  • Add tomato sauce and meatballs (optional). Cook until heated through.
  • Sprinkle with fresh herbs and parmesan prior to serving.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Foodie indulgence

One day about 5 months ago, I bought a pasta maker on a whim.  Definitely not a huge machine by any means, but more of the type that you clamp onto the corner of your counter and hand crank the pasta through.  However, my spur-of-the-moment buy was back ordered and I just got an email that it's coming in the mail - talk about delayed gratification.  Now, as I'm craving pasta (with some broiled zucchinis and turkey meatballs), I turn on the tv to my nightly public television cooking show marathon and am greeted by none other than homemade pasta recipes.  Now, I'm really craving pasta. 

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Spring Summer Fall Winter

I forget how much I love summer.  It's almost 8pm and the sun is still out, the weather is beautiful, and my lemons are growing.  What else could a girl ask for?

Talking about time, it's funny that I suddenly have so much of it on my hands.  I'm on an "easy" rotation right now (really, what's easy in intern year?) and I have so much time, I don't know what to do with it.  Right now, I'm working on a presentation (obviously not working too hard), but I haven't done much of anything this month - and it's almost over!

Here was my to do list:
  • Make jewelry (which I did some of - I made a few necklaces and earrings, some of which were worn to a friend's recent wedding)
  • Deal with my finances (which I did halfway. I successfully deferred my loans yet another time, but haven't figured out whether I can pull together enough money to buy a house)
  • Plan my trip to Morocco (now, on this, I have been slacking.  You'd think that this would be easy - I mean, it's vacation!)
  • Read academic stuff (lots of studies, studies, and more studies.  Oh yeah, and textbooks. Don't get my started on those.  Oh, wait, I haven't started on those.)
  • Deal with my garden (I'm nurturing it, but it needs to be cleaned up - argh.)
  • Begin biking to work again (I pumped my tires.  That's a start, right?)
  • Read for fun (I'm still working on a book I started 3 months ago - of short stories.)
  • Update my blog (Ironically, I think I updated more when I had less time.  Maybe it's because my life is so dull without anything to do?)
Yeah, I'm not so successful in getting things off my to do list.  I still have one more waste.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


One of my favorite ways to totally geek out is by playing scrabble. The thing about scrabble is that it's hard to find someone to play with. I've even gone to scrabble clubs, where I promptly get my butt kicked because I don't know every two letter word or "q" without a "u" word in the dictionary. However, tonight, I found a formidable and yet not too formidable player in my friend, C (who I happen to share my weekly CSA goodies with).

Here is our board at the end of the night:
05.13.09 002-1

You can't make out the score card too well, but I won by only 2 points. 2. And that's after starting out with a zinger such as "ripened" (though the "n" was a blank).

I think that nicely sets it up for a rematch. We're playing for best 2 out of 3.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Flash from the past

I paid a visit to the San Francisco Antique Market over the weekend and hit on a jackpot of bird cages! I have been trying to find a birdcage for several months now. One that's not too large, not too small. One that's wood (though if it's a beautiful antique brass, I would love it too). And a stand would be a huge bonus. So, imagine my surprise when I found this:
05.02.09 111

Look at this beautiful kimono. It was stunning in person, about 6 feet tall and in exquisite condition. If only I had use for a kimono.
05.02.09 113

And I just have to post this picture, illustrative of the various "living rooms" they have set up to display the furniture. I just love it. Of course, I didn't buy anything (I love the look of antiques, but somehow the idea of it sitting in a closet collecting dust, and germs, for decades doesn't appeal to me).
05.02.09 110

Sunday, May 3, 2009


05.03.09 003

My newest foodie discovery is agretti. I love agretti. What is agretti? Well, I had no idea it even existed up until 2 weeks ago, when it made a debut in my weekly CSA (this week's: agretti, lettuce, carrots, shallots, sugar snap peas, parsley). I had no idea what to do with it and it kind of scared me since I hadn't even heard of it, let alone cooked with it.

Alas, last week, I was at a loss and decided to make an omelet with agretti, parmesan, and tomatoes. It was beyond awesome.

So, just when I was lamenting the fact that you cannot find agretti at any market around (including the gourmet ones), what do I get in this week's CSA?

Agretti, of course. Today, I made a quick stir fry with the sugar snap peas, agretti, sesame oil, chile flakes, and soy sauce. Yummy.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

One Fish, Two Fish

I went swimming today for the first time in forever... and fortunately, I didn't drown.  Actually, the opposite happened, I hit my groove.  It took me a few laps of holding onto the edge and breathing for my life, but after that, I was able to do a few hundred meters continuously several times. 

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Beyond exhausted

These last few weeks have been beyond exhausting (which explains my lack of blog updates), to say the least. 

Signs that you know you're way too tired:
  • You put your underwear on inside out and don't realize it until 3 in the morning. 
  • You leave the stove on twice in one night.  
No need to worry, though!  I am in a better place (and on a better rotation) now. 

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Veggies galore

04.22.09 002
Chard, strawberries, sugar snap peas, carrots, leeks, bok choy.

I got my third CSA box this week and immediately washed everything. Everything. It took me about an hour, but totally worth it if it gets me to actually use all my veggies within a week (I'm still working on the shallots, agretti, etc from last week).

To get rid of some stuff, and to wean myself off of carbs (at least for a day), I made some baked salmon and stir fried veggies.

Started off with this:
04.22.09 005
(garlic and red chile flakes sauteed in oil until it smells yummy)

... and I end up with this:
04.22.09 006
Broccoli and bok choy stir fry.

Post-call bliss

04.22.09 019-1

Yesterday, I gave up the opportunity to sleep all day for a day at the beach. Can you blame me?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Weekly groceries

This week's CSA box brought a treasure trove of goodies:

04.15.09 003

Includes beets, shallots, carrots, bok choy, agretti, squash (for which I gave up my mint for), broccoli, and those wonderful dream-like strawberries.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Drink of the moment

It's nice to have a good drink at the end of the day.  Here's my favorite drink for the moment (mostly because I have all the ingredients handy).

1 shot vodka
2 ounces Pomegranate juice
Tonic water
Splash of lemon



Today was a long, hard day at work, so it was nice to be greeted by my brand spanking new CSA box! I'm sharing a CSA (community shared agriculture, courtesy of Two Small Farms) with my friend, C. Fortunately, since I was working til 9PM tonight, she picked up the CSA box and I picked up my share from her apartment.

She was so kind as to take a picture:

This is delightful gift, especially after my very bad day (gross understatement). I plan on using the turnips and parsley roots in a roasted root vegetable side dish. The celery in a fish head soup (with tomatoes and lemon). The dill in roasted salmon. The orach (purple spinach) sauteed. I already ate the baby carrots. The leeks, I'm not sure of. And the broccoli is easy - so many options!

That's it for tonight. Another long day tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Cleaning up

04.06.09 003
Tiny grape hyacinth blossoms.

Since I was post call and not feeling in the mood to read, I decided to do some cleaning up of my balcony garden. It had grown a little out of control as of late because I have about 3 cubic feet of soil/compost/other, bird netting that was haphazardly put up (to protect my poppies, thyme, and basil from the hungry critters), and random debris everywhere. Now, it's a little more organized and makes me feel better that it's cleaner.

Since I haven't updated with pics of my garden as of late, here you go:

04.06.09 006
My overstuffed vegetable container with zucchini, crookneck, tomato, okra, and beans.

04.06.09 007
Updated herb garden. Mint now has its own pot. Added a basil plant, that I had to cut down because of an aphid invasion (which explains the homemade yellow sticky trap). The wine bottle is there as a self-watering mechanism. I'm experimenting, trying to figure out how to keep my plants alive when I go to Morocco for 2 weeks in June.

04.06.09 005
Of course, I cannot forget my first love - my dwarf meyer lemon tree. There are buds everywhere, but these are the first blossoms. So delightfully fragrant.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

So happy

I went to the De Anza College Flea Market yesterday and the first thing that caught my eye was this:
04.04.09 003-1

At first, I tried to bargain, then walked away and walked around. After all, I had been at the flea market for a whole minute at that point. The whole time I was walking around, I kept on thinking of the cabinet. Then, I went back to look for it again and nearly went into a panic when I couldn't find it. Eventually, found the vendor and promptly bought it.

How I got it home, you may ask. Well, with some creatively tied rope (surgical skills come in handy in a real world situation!) and very slowly. Perhaps the slowest I have ever driven.

Now, I have a wonderful cabinet for a relative bargain. I had looked at IKEA in hopes of finding a cabinet with doors and the cheapest combo would cost me at least twice the price I paid. And not nearly as beautiful or one-of-a-kind.


I just read that the Tonga Room, in the beautiful Fairmont Hotel (where I spotted my first Rolls Royce), is in danger of being shut down.  My one and only memory of the room is for Junior or Senior Prom (I forget which one), we ate dinner there.  It was beautiful.  And kitschy.  And the rainstorm.  And the band in the middle of a pool.  Who can forget? 

It will be interesting to see if this is something San Franciscans can save.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Road trip

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On Friday, I took a half day road trip down to Monterey/Carmel and had a blast. We ate wonderful sandwiches at a place in Carmel. We took lots of funny photos. It was a beautiful, sun-shiny day. Who knew I could enjoy intern year so much?

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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Strangers no longer

As I sat in a Peet's waiting for a friend to meet me for dinner last night, an old gentleman sat down next to me.  We started chatting and then he offered to sing me a song.  So, here I was, on a Friday afternoon in Berkeley, being serenaded by a 70 year old man.  It was the first time I was serenaded, and it was sweet. 

Now, if only I could get someone my own age to serenade me.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Yummy to the nth degree

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Special birthday cookies

It was my mom's birthday over the weekend and to celebrate, we went to the Ritz Carlton for their Sunday brunch. Needless to say, it was yummy and decadent and did I mention that it was great?

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Lobster scramble for my mom

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Steak and eggs for my brother and dad (I love how my dad's fork is ready to dive in)

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Loin of lamb for me

I have to admit that the steak was the best. Perfectly cooked, fork tender, and juicy.

Oh, and there were desserts, desserts, and desserts. And a buffet bar with crepes, omelets, sausage, frittata, pastries, smoke salmon, and fresh fruit. I couldn't even look at food for another 8 hours.

Green eggs and purple brococoli

Well, no green eggs, but you start out with this:
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And you get this:
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I have to admit that the purple thing was interesting at first, but after looking at the purple broccoli juice, which is also bright purple, it became less interesting and more of a challenge.

Just because

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I went to the farmer's market to buy flowers for my mom's birthday and walked out with 3 pots of orchids and 3 bouquets of ranunculus. I guess I never do anything just halfheartedly.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Many uses for mint

Here is what I did last night, in hopes of getting rid of the ants:

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Turns out that it works! When I went to work today, there were a handful of ants, trying to make their way through my mint maze, but now, there are none! None!

I don't know if it was my traps or the mint and salt concoction (literally a handful of freshly picked mint leaves, a handful of salt, ground together into a paste) spread over my entire countertop and cupboards.

Yes, it's a mess to clean up, but it may be worth it for a simple, easy, nontoxic ant deterrent! I'm kind of tempted to keep it up for one more day so that it's there for good measure.

And I'm too lazy to clean it up tonight.

Ants, again!

After spread mint all over my cabinets (what a way to first use my mint from my garden - ground up into a paste and plastered over my cabinets, like I'm protecting my hosue from the plague) last night - pictures to come - the ants are back this morning. 
Is it bad that I couldn't bother to get rid of them this morning?  So, they're probably having a field day. 

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Ah, ants!!!  I got home today to a trail of ants. Took my half an hour to clean it up.  Now, as I'm going to bed, I go into my kitchen, and, gasp! another trail of ants - in the same exact place.  How to get rid of them?  I'm going to the hardware store tomorrow and buying all the anti-ants stuff I can. 

Match Day!

Today is Match Day!  Boy, am I glad that it's not me this time around.  On the other hand, it's hard to imagine that it was a year ago that I was sitting in Vietnam, at a hotel computer, with my crutches by my side, and wondering where I was going to spend the next four years of my life. 

Vegetable gardens for everyone!

So, as an extension of my herb garden, I have decided to try my hand at a vegetable garden.  No, I do not actually have any land.  But yes, I have a wonderful south-facing balcony.  Yesterday, after work, I ran to Osh before it closed and got the following: tomato, bush bean, and zucchini plant  I also got some compost, some soil addition, and a tomato cage.  All for $11 buckaroos. 

Now, I just have to get some soil to put into the giant container I got at Target and be on my way.  I'm afraid that my container may be too shallow, but we'll see if it works.  If not, not a big deal. 

On a related note, the First Family has also decided to grow a vegetable garden.  Albeit, they have 1,000 square feet to do so (compared to my 20 square foot balcony).  I will post pictures as soon as I get going.

Just another day... the ED with one guy screaming his head off the the drunk guy next to him complaining, "that guy is crazy."

Sunday, March 15, 2009


My friends and I took a day trip down to Santa Cruz/Capitola yesterday and got inspired by all the beautiful jewelry. We promptly stopped by the bead store on our way back and started beading (after eating, of course).

Here is our pre-beading mania meal:
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And here is our bounty!

Made by Miss K:
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Made by myself:
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Friday, March 13, 2009


And why am I still up?

Must be a realization that I don't have to go to bed early tonight!  (And that I'm working a night shift tomorrow...)

At least I was productive - I cleaned my apartment in preparation for a gold ole fashioned sleepover I'm having on Saturday night.  All that's left to do is vacuum - I figured it wouldn't be very neighborly of myself to do it at 3am.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Broken hearted

My beautiful Meyer Lemon Tree, which is fortunately thriving and not losing any of its leaves (which apparently, if you Google "Meyer Lemon Tree help", you'll find that's a common problem), is going to break my heart.  After losing the last 3 blossoms today (due to the lightest touch of me moving the container), I was broken hearted.  When am I going to get lemons?  After much web (and soul) searching, I found out it might not be for a few years.  Years?!  No one told me that when I bought that tree! 

The good news is that it's growing new shoots, leaves, and even flowers.  That means I'm doing something right, right?

On another heartbreaking note, I realized that my ranunculus needs more water than I previously thought.  I came back from my test today around 3 and my plant was all wilted.  Completely wilted.  Flowers fallen to the side, leaves unable to stand upright.  Sad.  Then I watered it.  And now it's back to life.  Whew, close call.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


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As procrastination (I'm studying for my boards, which I take TOMORROW), I made a big dinner last night. It involved marinating chicken overnight, some quick soba noodles, and some asparagus.

Chicken with Herb Marinade
Serves 3-4
Prep time: 15 minutes
Marinade: hours to days
Cook time: 30 minutes
  • About 1-1 1/2 pounds chicken thighs (my default meat, though if you'd like to use chicken breasts, that would work too - marinades always make the breast turn out really juicy instead of dry).
  • Herbs of your picking. I had fresh rosemary (from my apt complex), fresh oregano (from my herb garden!), and fresh thyme (also from my garden!). Not very much of it, since fresh goes a long way, and I knew that the chicken was going to sit in the marinade for over a day. If you're short on time, go more on the herbs. Or, if you have dry herbs, add more than just a little. In the end, I had only about a teaspoon or two of chopped herbs.
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Teaspoon or two of vinegar.
  • Shallots (or garlic, if you'd like).
  1. Toss all the ingredients, place into a plastic bag. Mix thoroughly and place in refridgerator. Marinade for at least a few hours, up to a day or two.
  2. Line baking pan with foil. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, flip over at the 10 minute mark.
  3. If you'd like, you can put under broiler for a minute or two, to get a char to it.
While the chicken was baking, I washed and prepped some asparagus, sprinkled some season salt and fresh pepper on top, placed in a foil wrapper and placed in the oven to bake along with the chicken.

Soba Noodles with sesame
Prep time and cook time: 5 minutes

  1. Boil soba noodles according to instructions, usually around 3-4 minutes.
  2. Rinse and drain thoroughly.
  3. Toss with a generous amount of sesame oil and sesame seeds (I liked the contrast of the black ones with the white noodles).
In the end, it took me the time of one episode of ER to cook and eat everything. Not too shabby. Now I have some leftover chicken that I can chop up and eat with a quinoa and raisin "salad" that I'm planning on bringing to my boards (no fridge, no microwave required).

Monday, March 9, 2009

Lacking leaders

I'm really sad that the Obama administration, although it is moving ahead with healthcare reform efforts, still hasn't not filled top posts in the Department of Health and Human Services, including a secretary.  Yeah yeah, there were issues of taxes and fame, but hey, we're four months after the election already.

On the other hand, I'm still available (hint, hint).

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Someone stop me

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As motivation for myself to get up earlier today, I said that I would get to the Farmer's Market at 9am (even with the time change!) and give myself an hour to shop, then back to studying for the boards. Albeit, I was a little delayed (got to the market at 9:20), but it was still worth it. I ended up buying not one, but two (yes, two!) new plants. Not just cut flowers. Actually plants. One orchid (which I really shouldn't have bought since my mom just gave me a new orchid last week, but I couldn't help it - how often does one find a beautiful pot of orchids with two strong, beautiful stems?) and one pot of ranunculus (ranunculi?). I need to stop. My balcony is starting to look like one of those crazy lady balconies with plants and plants and plants.

Tall, Dork, and Handsome

I hate to admit it, but I really dig Ugly Betty's boyfriends of late (minus the touchy feely loser musician).  From nerdy Henry (who was on that WB show awhile back and still cute now) to magazine dork Matt.  Where can I find myself one of those?  I guess not sitting on my couch on a Saturday night.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Eating at home, and on the cheap

With our not-so-robust economy and record high unemployment rates, there has been a lot of commentary on how to live on a limited budget.  Speaking from experience (this year being the first year I have ever made enough money to even file for taxes), it is possible (but of course not ideal).

While in college, I lived on $800 a month, to pay my rent (which was more than half that) and everything else except my tuition (thanks Mom and Dad!).  In medical school, I lived on around $13,000 a year (thanks, U.S. Government!) to pay for my rent (which, again, was more than half my monthly "income') and everything else. Even though my budget was limited (and admittedly, not as low as many other students), I managed to live in a major metropolitan area, go shopping on a (more than) regular basis, go out a few times a month, and eat good food. 

The way I was able to do the latter was because I cooked my own meals and shopped either at Berkeley Bowl (in college) or Asian markets (in medical school) - both of which provided fresh produce at great prices.  Because I saved money on eating out less, I was able to splurge a little on what I bought at the grocery store (splurges include being the second cheapest cheese or buying a fresh loaf of bread at the farmer's market).  In the end, I was able to pull together great meals (and dinner parties to boot) on a shoestring budget. 

Of course, one of the biggest hurdles that people identify as to why they don't cook at home is that they don't have time.  I argue that we always have time.  How much time do people spend sitting on the couch watching tv a night (some reports up to 3 hours a night)?  How much time do you spend on the internet, reading the New York Times front page 5 times over?  In the time that it takes for one rerun of Friends, I can put together tonight's dinner (or lunch - I had salmon with miso ginger sauce and rice) and marinate meat for tomorrow's meal (which will cook in another half hour tomorrow night). In the end, I eat cheap and healthy.  I admit, I still go out to eat with friends and such, but you won't catch me getting fast food (at least not more than a handful of times a year, mostly when I'm on a roadtrip).  Granted, it takes a lot of practice and planning, but my point is that it's not impossible. 

Maybe this recession will be good to people's psyche in a sense (the NY Times also has this great article on how recessions can affect a generation), if it encourages people to reflect upon their eating habits and revert back to homecooked, healthier meals. A reporter on CNN just did a report on how he lived on food stamps for a month and not until his last week did he realize that buying fresh vegetables and other ingredients and preparing meals at home would be infinitely cheaper than buying processed and prepared foods. 

I guess this is my little rant on how we all should look on our eating habits and how to improve upon them.  It will be better for our bodies, and our wallets, in the end. 

[Note that this does not mean that I am perfect by any means - I admit to having Lean Cuisines and canned soup in my cupboard.  It's all a matter of proportions, I guess.]


I was watching Ugly Betty today and was hit by a scene between Mark (the gay assistant) and Betty (the main character) that went something like this:

           Mark: Hey, what about that guy?  He's your type - he's tall, dork, and handsome. 

I thought it was brilliant and so succinctly describes my "type."  Hilarious.  Maybe the wine helped in my thinking it was hilarious, but I still think it's funny (and not a drop of wine in me).

To feed my belly and  my need to see a cute boy, I went to have Korean food today at this restaurant where the food is good, but the service is better.  And yes, one of the waiters is tall, dork, and handsome.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Midnight snack

My snack tonight:
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No, I don't usually eat this healthy, but I came upon a bounty of fresh fruit and veggies that I can't help but eat it (sugar snap peas from Costco, strawberries courtesy of my parents, and pineapple I bought at the Chinese market).

The reason why I can eat this as a snack and it not be an involved ordeal: I cut up the pineapple yesterday, I washed and cut the stems off the strawberries two days ago, and the peas are already washed and stringless. And, when I'm looking for something to eat, I open my fridge and see this bounty, instead of opening my cupboard and seeing chips and soda (which I admit I have, but mostly to serve to guests).

Why frozen food isn't all bad

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I'm a big fan of freezing and using my freezer for some great frozen foods. I read this article today and was reminded as to why freezers aren't all bad (they get a bad rap because of frozen processed foods - but if you keep good foods in your freezer, then it's a good freezer!).

While I admit to having a few containers of ice cream and a few Lean Cuisines in there, most of my freezer is good stuff. It's frozen vegetables, chicken stock, homemade wontons, ground turkey, marinated chicken, salmon, minced lemongrass, chiles, pine nuts, and butter. Yeah, I keep all that in my freezer. I'm almost embarassed to put up a picture of my freezer, because it's so not organized as the one in the article. But it's mine. I've come to the realization that it's ok if I don't use everything out of my freezer, as long as I use something out of it (I was running out of room - which is a scary realization when I don't share the freezer with anyone).

Unfortunately, the picture I took was without any reorganization or staging, so all you really see is frozen meat, ice cream, lean cuisines, and butter. I swear, I have healthy food in there!

Ah, too bad

Dr. Sanjay Gupta has decided not to pursue the surgeon general post.  Ah, too bad.  We all know how I felt about it.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Repetition is key

I just realized, as I finish my glass of Bailey's, that I tend to
drink Bailey's when I'm studying for the boards. When I was studying
for step 2 of my boards in medical school, I finished a whole bottle
of Bailey's (granted, it was over a month). I hope I don't repeat
that this time (especially given that I take my boards in a week).

Cocktail time

A patient of mine gave me a cocktail recipe today. When I asked him
about his alcohol use, he responded, "Well, a beer every night and
every now and then, I make myself a bloody Mary. Have you ever had a
Bloody Mary? Well, they're great and easy to make. You know V8
tomato juice? Well, they make a spicy one. Mix that with some vodka
and you have a great drink."

It's sad that I get drink recipes from my alcoholic patients, but I
admit, I'm curious to try it out.

In lieu of a Bloody Mary, I poured myself a glass of Bailey's on the
rocks. I haven't had a drink in awhile and was craving it. And yes,
every now and then, I like to pretend I'm an old white man.