Happy Pho-king Birthday!

N’s birthday was the day after Thanksgiving this year. As per the usual, I asked him what he wanted to eat for his special day. His response was quick and decisive: Pho.

Hm. Given that it’s not a part of our usual repertoire, I felt we had to come up with a strategy. Well, that, along with the fact that our parents would be here for the weekend. It’s one thing to make a dish and have it be sub-par (aka: nastay) for just the two of us and another (aka: not acceptable) for us to turn our parents into our culinary guinea pigs. I guess it’s not surprising then, that we had a Pho test run the week before.

So the strategy: we planned on making Pho Ga  (hey, it’s basically Asian chicken noodle soup–even our picky eaters wouldn’t object). We’d need some chicken carcasses for the broth so we decided to forget the turkey and go all white trash for Thanksgiving and make beer can chicken. I’m serious. And it was seriously delicious.

How did we end up making this pho-king soup? Easy.

Chicken broth made from cut-up beer can chicken carcasses and tasty spices (star anise, cloves, ginger, coriander, fish sauce) simmered for several hours.

Rice noodles (8 minutes and you are good to go)

Sliced cooked chicken breast

Veggies: bean sprouts, jalapeno slices, red onion slices, celery and red bell pepper slices (ok, this is not traditional…but so good I had to put them in)

Fresh herbs: tons of cilantro, some basil and parsley

Sriracha to taste

Hoison  to taste

N's very precisely made birthday bowl of goodness.

N’s very precisely made birthday bowl of goodness.

Put your face close to the bowl and commence slurping. Everyone went for seconds so we must have done something right.

Happy Pho-king Birthday N!

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In the Words of My Mother

(Not to be mistaken with word to yo mutha’)

Holy Hannah.

Snow?!?! Where is our November rain? Axl: sing to the weather gods for us!

At least it waited until after Halloween. Right Bert and Ernie?

Pumpkin down.

 

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Pop Up Birthday Trip

Every year for the last 15 years I’ve asked N what he’d like to do for his birthday. I don’t usually get a whole lot of feedback or requests. A few years I even tried to plan things on my own. Don’t get me wrong. They turned out ok. We had fun in San Fran. But I blew the surprise over dinner before the trip was even finalized. To make matters more difficult, the guy’s birthday always falls right around Thanksgiving.

This year is different though. After coming home from a work trip to Vegas a month ago, N said, “I know what I want to do for my birthday.” After I got done choking on my tea, I asked him what he had in mind. It turned out to be a spur-of-the-moment (for us this is spur) trip out to the desert to see this band. Or should I say this man who claims this band as his.

That’s right. G N’ R. More specifically, Mr. W. Axl Rose’s updated iteration of the band. This would be our third time seeing him (them) in concert over the years. Given my propensity to jump around like a crazy jack-ass to Paradise City (dating back to 6th grade–now I’m dated), how could I refuse this birthday wish?

We turned it into a trip to Palm Springs for 4 nights and then Vegas for a crazy night of 3 hours of Axl going ape-shit, playing every tune in his book and then some (all I’ll say about this is, I love me some Pink Floyd. Seriously.). I gotta say, it was pretty spectacular. All of it. The sun, tennis and dinners outside and the marathon concert. All of this and his real birthday is still 3 weeks away. I’m still convinced, by the way, that I’m already at retirement age. I totally fit in in Palm Springs. I just need to purchase a golf cart and I’ll be all set….

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Halloween: Fun with Gourds

The new table….finally.

Ok. So the new table has nothing to do with Halloween. But this does:

K carving his masterpiece pumpkin.

N with his almost finished pumpkin.

B checking out N’s carve-job.

This pumpkin’s a lush.

It’s Bert and Ernie! And: hooray for nori wrapper hair!

B, K, N and me. Happy Halloween!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Bandwagon

I finally jumped on.

Although at first it seemed like my toes could not separate properly to fill each toe hole (my toes are NOT cute), once I sat down, read the directions and actually put them on correctly, I honestly did not want to take them off. A shocking and delightful experience.

Happy to finally be a member of this band.

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Deutschland 2012–Fotos

 

Skulptur. Kuehl.

Roseskulptur. Ganz nett.

Koreanisch Abendsessen. Zu viel Huhn.

Aber toll.

Abendsbrot mit frisch Naan und Salat.

Vielen spass.

Das Spiel in unseres Zimmer.

St. Goar am Rhein.

Dasselbe nach zehn Jahren spaeter.

Mit mehr Kuche.

Auch dasselbe zehn Jahren spaeter. Knab’s Muehlenschenke.

Abbendsessen am Rhein. Ich liebe wein.

Joghurt mit eine lustige Name.

Die Ende der Reise. Schade.

Nach Funfzehn Tagen, die Ende. Tschus! Bis spaeter!

Die Fotos sind nicht Korrekt, veil WordPress ist schlecht. Aber mehr Fotos:

 

 

Neugnadenfeld mit N’s Vater, Tante Hildegard und Cousin Dieter.

 

N’s Vater mit Dieter. Sie hatten vielen zu sprechen.

Cousin Uwe’s Fleischerei mit vielen Wurst.

Und so….Die Familia nach Mittagsessen. Wir hatten vielen zu essen und trinken.

Tante Mellie sitzt mit N’s Vater. Sie sprechen uber die suss Nachtisch.

Neugnadenfeld Feuerfest. Es war sehr heiss. Aber vielen spass.

Fleischerei Rex nach Nordhorn Farmersmarkt.

Nordhorn Farmersmarkt mit Tante Rita und Onkel Helmut. Schoen.

Nach Berlin besuchen das Reichstag.

Auf ein Gebirge.

N auf sein Gebirge. Sein war grosser als mein.

Sussigkeiten. Mmm.

Alte Kirche.

Museum und himmelblau.

Radioturm.

Skulptur.

Unsere Berlin Wohnung.

Mein Deutsch ist nicht fantastich. Aber es ist gut genug. Gut genug.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

It’s been just about a year since I broke up with my prior home in L.A. and moved back to Michigan. And although there are still times that I pine for L.A. like a tween with a crush on a boy band, all in all, the new relationship is ok. Even good sometimes with a few sexy moments in there as well (hello first row seat to the thunderstorms!).

It’s not just L.A. that I ditched. I also broke up with the job that brought me to Michigan and resumed my own practice. That happened in March and for some reason it didn’t provide all of the relief I had been hoping it would. I made one more break last week and somehow, it made all the difference. I drove home from work on Wednesday drunk with happiness.

I know you are dying to know—what breakup? Unfortunately, I had to let my receptionist of 3 months go last week. She was a sweet woman. Really, she was. But she was not a good match for me and what I didn’t realize is that she was more like another patient than a work ally for me. She’d send multiple emails to me throughout the day with subjects that read, Help?!?!? And URGENT!!! This despite me telling her repeatedly that if there is an urgent need or something that is very concerning, please tell me in-between patients—I cannot check my email in-between.

Throughout the day she’d get this deer in the headlights look to her and I could just tell that she was not listening to a word I was saying. So 2 weekends ago I spent an entire day coming up with a priority list for her admin duties. I thought surely this will help with her organization of her day and hence lessen her anxiety. I was all excited to give it to her that Monday.

She looked at it with this strange, dubious grimace and said, “oh, ok.” Ugh. This was not the response I had imagined. The top of the list mentioned how I’d like my messages given to me (in the form of 2 emails—one with messages from the morning and one with messages from the afternoon). I just couldn’t take the 20+ emails she’d send me each day. I was getting anxious and feeling bogged down.

Despite the new, and dare I say brilliant, list I wrote for her, the barrage of emails continued on Monday into Tuesday. What the hell, I thought? She came to me clutching the list and said, “Jill (she owns the office) told me I should not answer the phone if there are patients to help.” I said, yes, exactly. The sentence read, “In an ideal world, the phone would be picked up every time it rang.” The next sentence said, “This is not realistic.” My point was, and I actually spelled it out, that she could let the phone go to voicemail if she was busy and she could even pick chunks of time to let it go directly to voicemail so she could get her work done.

I explained all of this and she just said, “I guess I’ll talk to Jill about it.”

That Tuesday I was to take her out to tea after work so we could discuss her duties and I wanted to get to know her a little more. We decided on 4:30 at the food co-op’s café. I saw her at 3:00pm when she checked in my last patient who was booked until 4:00pm. For some reason, she thought I would be to the cafe at 4:01 (exaggerating just a tad) and when I got there at 4:23pm, she was nowhere to be found.

I stalked the café for a good 35 minutes. The barristas giving me looks like, when is this crazy lady going to buy a damn drink? I’d go and look at the cheese and bread area. Then back to the café. I’d look at their prepared food case. Then back to the café. This place is small so this is all within 10 feet of each other.

Finally I took a frantic walk around the parking lot looking for her car. It wasn’t there. I sent a text to a colleague who was still at the office to see if she had K’s number (my fault: I didn’t have her telephone number) or a way to contact her. She didn’t. After 45 minutes, I decided to do my shopping there and after checking the café 3 more times, I paid for my things and left. I sent her an email to her work email that evening with concern: I hope everything is ok. I missed you at the café….blah blah blah.

The next morning I show up and she’s unusually chipper. So I confront: is everything ok? Yes, fine. Me: I had no way to get a hold of you while I waited at the café. She: I didn’t have your number either.

Ok, now I’m fuming. My “office phone” is a second cell phone that I carry with me everywhere (well, almost everywhere). She has been using that number over and over since March and she could not recall it? Really?!?

I let it go because now it’s time to work. She also tells me, “I finally read the entire priority list you gave me.” Great. All 2 pages of it. I get one email at lunchtime. Beautiful! But nothing at the end of the day and she is gone. So I email her at home (because now I have all of her contact info). It goes something like, “I have my fingers crossed that the phone traffic was light and that there were no messages that I needed to tend to.”

I get a reply: “oh my god. I am so sorry. I forgot to send it. I’m still having a hard time wrapping my mind around the consolidated emails. Me (in my head): oh for Pete’s sake! Me (email): I will take care of it. I have another colleague forward me the email the next day. Thank god there was nothing truly urgent to do. That colleague also forwarded me another email from the receptionist titled, “This?!?” This—was not an email meant for me. I am discussed in the email for nearly 4 paragraphs. This email was intended for the owner who was away this particular shitstorm week. Among the many things she brings up is the “email situation.” That she prefers to email each message that comes in but that I’ve been “overwhelmed” by the number of messages.

After I read the email, all I could think is That Bitch. I was doing my best to work with her and she throws me under the bus. Or at least it felt like it. And I was done with this. I’d rather go back to doing everything myself than to deal with this shit.

The following week, I have a meeting with Jill and lay it all out. K is not work for me and I need to let her go. Because she was hired by Jill, it is up to Jill to decide if she wants to keep her for less hours for the rest of the office or to let her go completely. It turns out that I was not the only one with these kinds of complaints and Jill felt like it was time to let her go.

Wednesday morning at 10am, K came in to work and Jill had “the talk” with her. She offered to let K work the rest of the day or go home and get paid for the day (she was not under contract and was part time hourly). I thought this was a little brisk and even offered Jill to let her stay for 2 weeks but Jill didn’t think she’d want to stay.

Jill was right. K’s response: “I didn’t see this coming.” She began to cry and stormed out of the office. Breaking up stinks. But many times it’s for the best for all parties. If we all didn’t think K was a good fit for the office, I can’t imagine that K was really loving being there. I bet she’s feeling relieved now, too.

Maybe next time I’ll tell you about my recent break-up with my physical therapist. That was a more, I’ll call to reschedule but know that I’ll never call to reschedule kind of break-up. I guess I got sick of them telling me that I had no ass muscle and no wonder my knee hurts.

 

 

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