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It’s a funny thing, to be in love with a city. I’ve been in love with New York City for years. I still remember how I met her and that instant that I knew I wanted to return and stay. I was seventeen years old, in high school, and visiting Columbia University for a second-look. I had walked in from 116th street, not in the center of College Walk, but on the north side. It was night, and campus was lit like it always was. Looking up, I saw the stone and brick rising around me and I knew.
Sometimes I wonder what my life would be like, if I had chosen New York over everything else. What if I had turned down UCSD to stay on the East Coast? It seemed like such a brainless reflex decision back then, as I stood in my baby blue gown on May 16th, telling the Dean of the Medical School that I’d go- I’d come! Only afterwards, when the gravity of those flippant excited works sunk in, did I realize what I had done. I booked a one-way ticket and spent a few last days with my then boyfriend. The morning of my flight, he made me a Nutella sandwich and as my plane lifted off from JFK, I cried. Holding on to everything from then, I kept the leftovers from that Nutella sandwich in its Ziploc back in my room until my mom, completely grossed out, threw it out for me. My memories of the City then became a series of short 30-second scenes: walking off the elevator on the 16th floor of my dorm and seeing the Empire State Building at night; curling up on my windowsill in the daylight and watching students come back from class; standing on subway platforms with my practiced unfocused stares; a few steps on dirty cracked sidewalk on a sunny day.
Promises were made that I never kept- that I’d go back, that I’d always go back.
I’m always being told that making plans is always the best way to ensure that your life doesn’t turn out the way you had planned. I don’t regret leaving. How could I, when I met Husband in California? On days that I especially miss being in the City, I remind myself that I’d rather be married and in Salt Lake City than single in New York. Cities are cold creatures who will never love you back.
All the same, I’ve never forgotten about New York; she will always be the one who’s gotten away.
Working at the Veteran’s Administration is akin to working in a different world, and anybody in the medical profession who has ever worked or trained in a VA system knows what I mean. At the VA Spa, the parking lot doesn’t fill up until 7:30am and the halls begin emptying out beginning at 3:30pm- even earlier on Friday afternoon. At the Salt Lake City VA, radiology is not in house nights and weekends, and ordering a right upper quadrant ultrasound for acute cholecystitis during these times is akin to committing a deadly sin. It’s a place where things happen a little slower, where everyone whispers that the staff is a little duller, and where OR turnover is at least an hour (although they claim it averages 36 minutes).
As such, all of the residents call it the VA Spa because this slower pace trickles down to us to some degree. The surgery residents take home call, which has been painful to some extent. For instance, because our new second year resident was coming off nights this week, I had been on call from Friday night all the way through the Wednesday morning. That was moderately painful and we were hurt badly by a CT scan that took 5 hours to complete after being ordered. (No joke. We were… put off.) However, we do get to go home earlier than most of the residents at the U. Beside this, the best part of being at the VA is that on Tuesdays, in the middle of our clinic day, we always have a lunch potluck.
It’s no small secret that I love to cook. More than that, I love to bake. So, when my chief approached me on Monday afternoon and asked me if I wanted to bring dessert or rice, I promptly replied, “Dessert!” I made toffee pecan bars that night. For the next week, I pulled out the bundt cake pan that we had received as a wedding gift and tried a recipe that had been gnawing on me since I had seen it on Joy the Baker. It wasn’t an entire success, but was thoroughly devoured. This past week, I made my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe (which also happens to be smitten kitchen‘s favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe as well).
And then last week, I had promised another resident a trip to Costco, so despite my heavy eyes from having lost sleep thanks to a middle of the night admit, we went. She needed toilet paper, so I pointed her to the very back corner of the Costco while I made the mistake of perusing the recipe book section. This resulted in my purchasing what seems to be the most promising cookbook in my collection so far: The Slow Cooker Revolution. So far, I’ve made the beginner pulled pork, which is now this household’s go-to recipe for pulled pork. Easy and absolutely delicious and flavorful.
I can’t think of a way to end this blog entry other than to wonder where these two divergent interests will lead me. Sometimes I feel like I was really actually destined to a life of housewifery. Some weeks, I spend more time reading my cookbooks than reading papers and textbooks. And then, Husband reminds me that once we have children, that he has dibs on staying at home with them while I bring home the bacon. I wonder if I will become one of those women my mom used to scoff at: women who could afford every luxury in their kitchen, but never actually got to use any of it.
The first week we were in our new place, I spent a good two solid days in the kitchen. One whole day lining all of the damn cabinets, another day emptying our boxes into said cabinets, followed by cooking meals for the two of us in our marginally un-chaos-ified kitchen.
I sat down on the couch with Husband at the end of those two days, and stared out of the window while we ate dinner. The couch had been sitting for a week exactly where the movers had left it as we slowly removed boxes from around it. Fortunately, they had left the couch in the middle of the living room facing the window instead of the wall.
“This is so stereotypical,” I complained. “I’ve spent two whole days in the kitchen. What a blow to the modern woman.”
“What?! I’ve spent two whole days putting in sinks, drilling holes into the walls to build our closet, putting up curtain rods, putting in new bathroom fixtures- HOW STEREOTYPICAL!”
Yeah, I most definitely prefer my own gender role to his. I’m real happy I married a man who knows how to do things around the house– and I’m sure he’s happy he married a woman who knows how to cook. Screw the modern woman. We’re happy in here.
Right now, Husband and I are sitting in bed, which right now is a mattress on the floor. We have no headboard, so our pillows are propped up against the wall and both of us are quite uncomfortably slumped in bed with our laptops on our laps. Power cords are going off to either side and we are surrounded by boxes. Ah, moving.
This has been a period of rapid home improvement as well- we’ve taken so many trips to Home Depot it’s ridiculous. And then, we took a monster trip to Bed Bath and Beyond yesterday because there was a registry completion event and we were able to get everything 20% off! Score! We’ve been (or maybe I should say, Husband has been) replacing sinks, replacing towel racks and toilet paper holders… and plans are to also replace light fixtures, curtain rods, and curtains. Tomorrow we’re going to paint the closet (in which Husband has already ripped out the old shelf and closet rod) and then install a new closet unit. And I spent all of today unpacking our kitchen. It’s sort of ridiculous in there. I think I’m going to need another cabinet solely for my baking stuff. Yeah. It’s bad, man. And to place at least some blame on Husband, there is an awful lot of drinking paraphernalia. There are at least 4 sake sets, a whole load of shot glasses, and then some martini glasses, old-fashioneds… but then to be fair, my baking stuff takes up a lot more space.
Anyways, so I waver between being excited for our new projects, but at the same time I feel like we’re spending all this money for purely aesthetic purposes and I just feel like such a wasteful consumer. At least we both know that we’ll be here to enjoy our home for six years. (Or not home, and in the hospital.)
Okay, quick post over!
Before my wedding, I knew that I was going to sell my wedding dress after the wedding. After all, it was a $125 dress from China- made to fit but then altered again in the States for the same amount again. Add a $20 petticoat from craigslist and that’s why I didn’t feel bad dragging it through the sand the day of the wedding. But my attachment to the dress began after the wedding. It had been hanging, covered by a large white garment bag that still left the train hanging out from underneath, for months waiting for our much belated trash-the-dress session. Then, a friend who was getting married asked me if they could maybe buy the dress and his fiancée came over to try it on. Seeing it on another woman created in me a feeling of envy and possessiveness that I thought I would never feel about a garment. She decided not to buy it. I was glad.
I wavered on whether or not I’d sell the dress even until after the trash session- I was standing at the dry cleaner’s counter with sopping chlorine-y dress in hand, debating if I was willing to pay $50 to clean my $245 investment. Nah. I rinsed it a few times in a friend’s tub and called it a day. It ended up surprisingly clean! And smelled fresh too.
It hung drying off the curtain railing for a few days before I took it down and folded it up nicely. I had been looking at preserving my dress online- it would cost me about $50 to get a kit with acid-free tissue paper and an acid-free box to store the dress in. But $50? For what purpose?
As a kid, my mom’s wedding dress lived in a bag within my closet, and I would take it out time and again to try it on. When I was eleven years old, the dress’s waist sat on my hips. I’d put the veil on my head and stand on top of my bed in front of the mirror to see how it looked. But when it came time for me to get married, I would have never dreamed of wearing my mother’s dress; I’m sure that any daughter of mine will feel the same. And were we really going to move the dress to Utah?
So I posted the dress on craigslist, thinking that hey- maybe nobody will want it and I’ll get to keep it. A few days passed, and I had no replies- and then a girl emailed me asking that I keep it for her to pick up in 2 weeks. I agreed. After all, if it fell through, I would get to keep the dress. Alas, she came over today and has just left with the dress. Meeting her was one of the weirder circumstances I’ve ever been in- she was almost exactly my height and build- her breasts, her waist, her hips were all in the same places- maybe a little larger in the bust and hips, but standing in front of her I felt like we were twins. So she will be walking down the aisle in July in what used to be my wedding dress, and I am left here feeling a little sad and empty. I know that the feeling will pass and I will forget that I don’t have my wedding dress hidden away under a bed (–maybe better than forgetting that I do have my wedding dress hidden under a bed). But right now I’m sad that my beautiful cheap white dress is gone… and all I have left are photos and memories. (And shoes. Kept those!)
When new Husband and I went to Utah for our honeymoon, we discovered the mecca of outdoor gear that Salt Lake City is. First stop was the Patagonia outlet, where I got these cute “workout underclothes” that I had been ogling at REI for the past season and Husband picked up a red micropuff jacket. Let me tell you about moving to a cold place- it gives you that excuse you’ve been waiting for to buy more cold weather clothing that you never had a reason to buy while living in California. I went through the same thing when I moved to New York, except instead of snowboard gear and trendy outdoor clothing, (read: Patagonia, Outdoor Research, Mountain Hardwear, Columbia, etc.) I was picking up cute sweaters, long-sleeved shirts, scarves, and gloves.
While we were in Utah, it started dumping snow like nobody’s business. We actually even ended up getting “stuck” (oh boo-hoo) and having to do our drive back to LA in one day because of chain/4WD restrictions on the canyon road. On one of the sunny days between snow dumps, we headed into Salt Lake City to view a resident’s house. We were running early, so we stopped by Target… and the Black Diamond store. Ah, the Black Diamond store. We kept them there after closing so Husband could decide on which skis to buy- the Black Diamond Megawatts? Or the Black Diamond Verdicts? The salesperson kept selling him on the Megawatts, but they seemed a little long for Husband and a bit too specific for only big pow. The Verdicts sounded like a decent all-around ski, better on pow than his other skis, and the correct length for Husband. To give you an idea, the Megawatts were 178s, and Husband usually skis a 163. Salesperson told him that the Megawatts ski about 10cm shorter because of the huge ridiculous rocker tip, but I was skeptical. I mean seriously, these things were ridiculous. Monstrous. Huge! (Also, such a good deal!)
So Husband entered into paroxysms of indecision and asked for my advice, which I gave: the Verdicts. So we bought them and returned back to the hotel, where Husband commenced extensive online research on both skis. The online community of tele skiers convinced him that the Megawatts were definitely the way to go; they were amazing! Life changing! Best pow ski ever! My favorite review was titled: “MEGA-WHAAAAAAAAAT?!?!?!”
So when we went back down into Salt Lake City the next day to see some more property, we brought the rejected Verdicts with us and picked up the MEGA-WHAAAATs. And it continued to dump snow like nobody’s business, and after 2 feet in 48 hours, Husband was floating above the pow to liftie comments like, “Whoa. Great skis for a day like today.” And I was getting stuck here and there, insisting that because I had a snowboard, I was better off than a skier on a huge pow day.
And this story is getting very long, so to cut to the chase, Husband went hunting on eBay after we got back home and picked up a Burton Fish 150 for me. It’s a hell of a lot of board for a tiny person like me, but hey- I’ll get more float, right? And besides, who needs to turn in powder? Puahahahaah!
If I don’t make lists, nothing ever gets done. And if I don’t make this list, I’m sure that I’ll forget all the places I want to visit and then when Husband and I are trying to plan a vacation and he asks where I’d like to go, I’ll reply, as always, “I dunno.”
- Glacier National Park, Montana
- Yosemite – my family used to go there every summer, but we haven’t been there since the big fires in the ’90s.
- Oak Ridge, Tennessee (Nashville too!)
- Austin – there’s some indie music festival there? (This one’s Husband’s request)
- Whistler, BC – Yes, I know this is in Canada, but it’s not reeeeally a ridiculous flight to get there.
- Costa Brava
- Tahiti – Husband really wants to check out those over-water bungalows. =P
- Australia – Husband’s never been
- Peru and Argentina
- The Caribbean
- The Galapagos
- Taiwan – husband’s never been!
To be continued! Husband and I have a lot of time together (God willing!) ahead of us.
Some day, I would like to have an awesome kitchen. I want a huge commercial stainless steel hood so I can grill ridiculous things in the dead of winter and not have to worry about setting off my fire alarm or having my home smell like dinner for the next few days. And I want a gas range. And a double oven. And a sink with step pedals- with a separate control for temperature so you don’t have to fuss with getting the right balance between the hot and the cold pedals. (That was Husband’s request. Maybe bad experiences with the OR sinks here? In my experience, I always use the hot and it’s not even tepid by the time I’m done scrubbing…) And I think it’d be awesome to have an integrated sound system hooked up to a touch screen computer from which I can look up recipes, play music, catch up on Project Runway, or maybe even teleconference into meetings while I’m stirring my risotto for 30 minutes. Ah-maaahhh-zing!
Husband is a huge fan of granite countertops and dark woods, but I’m a sucker for light and bamboo. If and when we ever have the resources and time to build our own kitchen, I’m not sure who will win. And if and when that ever happens, I wonder if we will even be doing any cooking at all. My mom laughs at the somewhat lack of functionality that the kitchen in our new house has. It has beautiful granite finishes, a vegetable sink, and a mind-boggling amount of counter space, but it lacks a hood, or any way to contain cooking smells, grease, or smoke. The previous owner’s idea of a hood is this slick thing that rises out of the countertop- it’s real snazzy– you press this button and then it rises out from behind the range– but it’s completely useless. She told me, “You see, people who have money build these beautiful expensive kitchens, but they always eat out and never use them. And then people who actually cook at home can’t afford things like that.” Irony. Everybody tells me that will be me someday- someday soon.
I can’t wait to prove them wrong- to build myself a gorgeous hyperfunctional kitchen (covered outlets underneath the cabinets! skillful use of the kitchen work triangle principles!) and then cook in it. Entertain in it. Have friends over for dinner parties that I haven’t catered. I wonder. Will this ever happen for me?