Sunday, January 28, 2007


My close friends will testify that I pull disappearing acts from time to time, but eventually come back up for air. Well, this may just be such an attempt. Much has happened since my last update.

My testosterone-laden feline, Bonaparte, passed away last week just a couple days shy of his birthday. And while I miss him, it must be some shindig for all the girl cats in my area while he chases his tail around in circles somewhere beyond the rainbow. Not wanting to spoil their fun or anything, but what part of meow don't these beings get?

Today I got away with fooling a bunch of clinicians long enough for them to think my presentation was superb. One down, three more to go.

I'm looking at my notes for the up and coming prep course. Most of it is in code. It's going to take me a few days just to weed through and decipher all of these. It's a good thing I have until Wednesday to unravel this mystery. Okay, I'm stressing out about an exam. I need some really loud music to play air guitar to. Thanks to MN's Metallica CD, now I too can go bonkers.

I've just noticed how one of my colleagues insists on speaking to me in an accent especially formulated for me. I know this because I've heard him speak to others in English and it's not the same. My personal favorite is when I ask him to do something for me and he responds with a "I canhot [sic]!" Of course I'm inclined to request absurd things just so I can hear him say it over and over again. Something about repetition that's just always amusing to me.

Saturday, January 20, 2007


Got an email from an old friend today. We hadn't talked to each other since high school but I recently got back in touch with her after she ran into my brother on an online music community. Since we had been friends since the sixth grade, there is a lot of catching up and dishing out. It's been great talking to her because it feels like she hasn't changed much - just expanded herself and gathered a lot more experience.

In true Ash fashion, I got inspired and decided to jump on the Orkut bandwagon (where pretty much everyone from my school days seems to have set base) to check up on my schoolmates. I go there periodically when I don't have any scabs to peel or teeth to pick. There is this one girl whose life I keep tabs on by reading her blog. I liked her back then. I like her even more as an adult now. Though, I find it interesting how she talks about her school days. Every once in a while she makes references to that page in our lives when we were all awkward and insecure. Except, she doesn't quite talk about it that way. She writes about how all the kids got along and how much those years meant to her and helped strengthen her because of the people that surrounded her and everything we went through (we did go through a lot but somehow I didn't tap into this whole team spirit or bonding experience back then). In her musings, there is this feeling of nostalgia of good innocent times gone that prepared her for the real world. I agree with her on the strengthening bit. Nothing like a bunch of assholes and pricks to REALLY strengthen your resolve and come out of the gates at a pounding gallop to get the hell out of... well, hell. Maybe it's because I remember things being a milder (or maybe not so mild) version of 'Welcome to the Doll House'. Perhaps her version of grade school/high school was more of a 'Freaky Friday' kind. A few annoying knocks but inevitably everything turns out okay and for the best and we can look back and have a good guffaw. Not scar you for the rest of your life, keeping this huge bitter chip on your shoulder to save and hurl at the losers of old when you run into them. Or, maybe we just didn't grow up in the same town and go to the same schools. *pause* Yeah, we did.

Obviously, I'm in that group of people that don't look back at those days of preteen/teen angst as being 'fun and frivolous'. I always thought my particular group was a really big one which is why I am usually shocked when I hear those years being referred to as 'happy'. Don't get me wrong. There were pockets of fun and some really great people. But overall... *shivers* never again. I guess being an ugly, under-developed brown tomboy into sports, cars, guns and swords isn't the recipe for happy preteen/teen years. But, I could be wrong. I'm sure things have changed since I've left the school system and everybody gets along really well.

Anyway, I did visit my school community over at Orkut where people talk about their lives and what they are doing. My question is, HOW THE HELL DID EVERYONE GET SO OLD? Am I behind the times again? Did I flunk the class of adulthood? I mean, there are people on that list with veritable broods. I'm talking married with 4 to 5 kids, a mortgage, two cars and PTA. Wow. I didn't think we had enough time for that. One guy has his picture listed, non-existent crowning glory and all. His six-foot frame and athletic build now rough around the edges, sporting an unmistakably receding hairline, graying temples and androgenic male pattern baldness. Good Lord, what happened to make him age so much? The very few friends that I have kept in contact with seem to be young, vivacious, with it and hip. We seem to be in the minority now. I am thinking that too much soda, virtually no exercise and a poor diet have contributed to what has made my present day classmates.

Maybe, on adulthood, I've actually skipped a grade or am ahead of the game. A friend of mine a few days ago told me she was going through what felt like a mid-life crisis. I'm not sure how that happens in your twenties with a life expectancy of about 80 years, but that's how she phrased it. I thought about it and realized I might be getting a mid-life crisis out of my system before it happens. Getting all of it out without being attached to the responsibility of a husband, kids or paperwork. I'm hoping that I learn to live with my choices, conscious or subconscious, and not poison my life with regret. I'm getting the things that I want to do done and not look back on life thinking "I really wish I had done these things... or I always wanted to..." I know there might be a lot of pleasure to derive from 'graduate high school, go to college, meet college sweetheart, graduate college, get engaged, start career, marry, have bouncing babies... etc.'; but that's not the timeline I ever imagined myself on so, it wouldn't have worked for me.

So, to that guy from my class that I bumped into a few weeks ago who said, "Ash, you've really got it together, you deserve to have a husband." Umm, no I don't. I've always been deserving of most good things in my life. To have someone that deserves me is a different story. I really like my life which was probably shaped from those hell years. So, I guess in some weird, fucked up way, those might have been the best years of my life. They gave me the resolve not to end up like the majority of people I grew up with.

Yeah, the bitterness is definitely gone.

Friday, January 19, 2007


I've been living on my own since fall of 2000. And while it peacefully allows me to operate at my own pace; admittedly, there are many downsides to it. For one thing, that many years are sure to bring about a considerable amount of change in any person; yet, my bad habits have sworn to stick. I didn't believe my parents when they told me as much.

Currently my life entails, among other things:
  • Loacker and caramel milk for midafternoon breakfasts – four days running.
  • Frozen pineapple and strawberries for dinner – nearly every night.
  • Substitution of potato munchers and popcorn for all things.
  • Being an expert on all take-out joints, citywide. (Note to self: must learn to cook and delight in it.)
  • Taking singing to dangerous heights (or lows depending on who's listening).
  • Discovering that bills need to be paid on time.
  • Watching the CSI Marathon - uninterrupted. (Read: wasting countless hours without being made to feel an ounce of guilt.)
  • Lazing around the apartment in a t-shirt and boy shorts while listening to the cheesiest 80's music I can find.
  • Piling up dirty laundry to the point of running out of fresh wardrobe.
  • Shamelessly oversleeping more often than not.
Who says living alone isn't desirable?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


I spent part of today lying on my bedroom floor right under the window basking in the tiny pool of sunshine that kept sneaking out from behind the clouds every time the rain let up, reading Marian Keyes's "Further Under the Duvet", a collection of mainly profoundly funny short stories. I neatly smuggled it out of ED's place last week after he spent countless nights nursing me through my illness. I have no shame. (Just borrowing, dude. Know that.)

They say an individual's sickness serves as expiation for his sins. I wonder if the past couple weeks have made me a different person. But really, I don't feel any changes, nor did I even think to pray for any. I'm told a sick person's prayers are granted. So, I prayed some extra. For Dad and the family (people I'm mainly nice to because they love me and make me soup even when I'm cross and childish), but other than that the days and nights were blurred into a continuous stream of fever, chills and restless sleep and gulping down copious amounts of soup and swallowing back endless pills and sleeping some more. I don't get sick often enough to recognize the symptoms well. But after sensing a dry throat coming on, I was smart enough to take two Aspirins and crawl into bed with a relieved sigh. I felt like such a druggie, a pill-popper or something.

Thankfully, the flu is over. Praise the Lord. All that's left now is what sounds like a smoker's hacking cough. Sometimes it nearly brings me to my knees. Usually I'm just bent over double, breathless with the pain of incessant coughing, assailed by a crazy dizzy fear that it won't ever stop. At least the changes it's wrought in my voice are amusing. Most days I sound like an 80-year-old man; when I'm not sounding like a prepubescent boy.

This is how not to be stupid like Ash: Don't pull all-nighters. Don't pull almost-all-nighters. Try, try, try and try to get work done ahead of schedule. And when your barely-started 6-page paper nearly brings you to tears on Sunday morning, remember the fact that you never cry over academic assignments, no matter how frustrating, and that your tears must be related to other things. Like the fact that you have an excruciatingly-painful backache, a throbbing headache and for God's sake, a sore footballing knee that even the magical Elmetacin spray won't take away. Why, oh why are you even sitting here pretending to get anything done?

The days and nights of sleeping, lazing about and senseless reading are over. Tomorrow I'm returning to the hospital after a week off, and the sheer amount of work waiting for me is frightening. I still have to study for an exam, finish writing that damn paper I failed to get an extension on, read some research articles for a workshop and present at the inter-departmental meeting on Thursday to a group of clinicians who'll likely be fidgety and suffering from A.D.D., just my luck. And then more exams and projects and workshops, seemingly back-to-back. Oh my Lord, grant me strength, strength, strength. And then some.

Sometime on Tuesday, after I had e-mailed my senior asking for an extension on my presentation, he sent back a reply that began: Relax, it's going to be okay. I laughed. It must have been a really frantic e-mail I sent him.

Breathe, Ash; it's going to be okay.

Friday, January 12, 2007


I've waited this long to update because I've been thinking thoughts. Maybe not thinking so much as sorting. Here's what I have.

  • After seeing how my world had shrunk to the walls of the hospital and those of my bedroom, I decided to join some friends for a wicked New Year's at the Irish Village. Spy Candy performed, people danced and I felt hopelessly out of place. It made me realize I was quite obviously not fashionably sophisticated enough for the place. Still, I found a way to out myself as I always do. Safe boundary lines shifted and blurred and long story short, I found myself waking up on El Dude's couch the following morning with my face on sideways.

  • Later. Not now. After this. Only factor for sure is time will play along as I procrastinate. And it's what I've been doing. A lot. I'm usually known to put the 'pro' in the word but lately I've been stalling just about everything I can afford to (and sometimes cannot) and for each time I've got a ready-made excuse.

  • Been sick for weeks. Feverish, chills, a whack cough and shivering sleepless through the night. And on-calls. I've been dragging myself to work for the last week and a half. All that has been useful to a degree. After all, being sick is the most effective reminder of how nice health is and how much of a luxury it is to be able to stand up straight after you've been curled up fetus-like in constant pain.

  • After having eaten next to nothing throughout the duration of my illness, I began to grow despondent at the lack of food in my fridge. So, today I decided to make up for it with some Pasta (food of champions) from News CafĂ© down at Le Meridian. It didn't taste quite as sexy as the glossy menu shots made it out to be. I left the place with hunger pangs still bellowing out my stomach. Shoot, all I really wanted was to pig out at a decent place, but funds were low. Story of my life.

  • The biggest topic of conversation amongst my friends, colleagues and acquaintances these days has to do with who is graduating, who is staying on for another year, who has applied to the residency program, who is moving back to his/her hometown, who already has a job lined up after graduation, who has taken licensure or some form of postgraduate exam(s). Basically, all conversations center around people who seem to have at least a vague idea of what they're doing, which is more than I can say for myself. It's not that I don't even know what I want to do. It's just that I want to do too many things, which is why decision-making is so troubling. Somewhere in here is a perfect analogy for my indecisiveness and lack of direction and the constantly swiftly-shifted plans that epitomize my life at the moment. Someday I hope to understand it myself. Lately, though, I feel like retiring and I haven't even done anything with my life yet. Tell me, is this slightly problematic?

  • I have a wedding to attend next week and in a desperate attempt to cover the bald patch on my head (one I received after splitting my head open a couple weeks back) I reluctantly went for a haircut. Due to a tragic combination of piss poor judgement and even worse sense of style on the hair stylist's part, much to my dismay I left the place looking so much like a boy that my friend couldn't help but quip, "Put a tux on and attend on the men's side. Tell us what really goes on there". Yes, that much of a boy. Oh, the horror! So, now I'm working on perfecting my disdainful look but it's not working out real well because I have a tendency to roll my eyes and burst into laughter instead.

  • I suspect le boyfriend thinks I'm secretly contemplating of ways to kill him. He's strange like that. But I still love him.

  • I have a Journal Club presentation soon and I'm fresh out of excuses. Tomorrow will come far, far sooner than I like. I'd cancel tomorrow if I could. So, now if you'll excuse me, I need to go be productive and bullshit my way through real life.