Sunday, June 29, 2008

From China's "King of Medicine"

A Great Physician should not pay attention to status, wealth or age; neither should he question whether the particular person is attractive or unattractive, whether he is an enemy or friend, whether he is a Chinese or a foreigner, or finally, whether he is uneducated or educated. He should meet everyone on equal grounds. He should always act as if he were thinking of his close relatives.
-Sun Si-Miao, 581-682 AD, from "On the Absolute Sincerity of Great Physicians."

Friday, June 27, 2008

Why Facebook and Myspace are such huge time drains for me

People are so neat. I'm always really interested in them--I want to understand what motivates them, why they feel the way they feel, how they ended up where they are, why they make the choices they do. The cool thing about Facebook and Myspace is finding people that you haven't seen for like 15 years or something and looking at them now, all grown up, having a job, having their own family. You get little bits of all the answers about them. It's not at all like real friendship, but it is nice. It is well-intentioned. These sites get a lot of flak, and I always feel like I'm supposed to be sort of embarrassed about cruising all over them like I do. But it's so nice to see wedding pictures of the people you cared so deeply about in high school and never thought you'd fall out of touch with but did. It's wonderful to be able to feel your tiny, idealistic teenage hopes for them realized in a tiny, idealistic little way.

I missed being able to explore my curiosity about people for the four years I was with the disturbed ex-boyfriend. I am making up for lost time--making new friends, spending more time with old friends, exploring the wonderful and complex Jam Guy, Facebook-ing and Myspace-ing like a twelve-year-old.

I am in a perfect field for someone who is deeply curious about people--a field where I am expected to question, pursue, probe, listen closely to what's said and listen more closely to what's not said. I literally listen to the insides of people--their bowels, their lungs, their hearts. I peer inside their mouths and at pictures they bring me of small fissures in their ribs, unbalanced spaces between their vertebrae. I poke at their ears. I study their rashes and eruptions like some people read bestselling novels. I am riveted by lengthy descriptions of every kind of substance that can emerge from the human body; I ask for more and more detail.

Like exploring a social networking site, it is not all that dignified all the time. But it is SO satisfying.


The protein/fat/carb ratio and calorie assessment of the peanut noodles, below, is just an educated guess. But if anyone actually analyzes this meal and finds out that in fact it has an enormous amount of calories, please just don't tell me.

One of my favorite uses of peanut butter

Surfunner talks about how peanut butter is a good fat in this post, and that reminded me of the fast-comfort-food-dinner-for-one that I've been fixing a lot lately when I'm too rushed/tired/lazy to make a "real" meal for myself.

All I do is put a nest of mung bean threads in a small pot to boil. While they are boiling, I whisk together in my little rice bowl:

-maybe like 1 to 1.5 tablespoons of unsweetened, organic peanut butter
-a few good shakes of soy sauce
-a few drops of sesame oil

When the bean threads are finished cooking, I drain them, and then put the peanut sauce mixture into the hot pot with them and mix it all up till everything's more or less combined. Then it all goes back in the little rice bowl and gets topped with Sriracha. It's really yummy, although Jam Guy and my friend D, who have both tried it, are not huge fans. It's definitely not an everyday dinner, because even though I think it does have a decent protein/fat/carb ratio and not tons of calories, there aren't any veggies in it.

Another favorite use of peanut butter is in what I call my PB&J of Luuuuuv: which is a PB&J made with, of course, peanut butter, and then bread made by me and jam made by Jam Guy.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I just want to also point out that

Lenore of the relentless love, who stars all over Jon Katz's blog, also works as a hospice therapy dog. I can't think of a better way to fully realize the potential of relentless love.

I was fortunate enough to briefly meet a San Diego therapy dog while interning at the hospice here. I was standing at a counter filling out paperwork, and all of a sudden I felt someone snuffling at my left hand. When I turned around, I was looking down at a lovely, poised, brown Doberman making goo-goo eyes at me. I squatted down and we chatted, and he pushed his funny-shaped head into my chest in that way that big dogs do that is sort of their version of a hug. We had just met and already he was demonstrating his therapeutic and relentless love to me. And even though I'd felt mostly fine before meeting him, I felt better after our meeting.

I've always known that animals, and dogs in particular, are good for us, but the photos and stories about Lenore's and Izzy's hospice work show it so clearly.

Warning: You might not want to click through to the links above if you are somewhere where you will feel uncomfortable being emotional.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

And another happy love story.

This made me just awfully happy.

On his blog, Jon Katz describes Lenore as "relentlessly loving." I love that description. I think I will aspire to be relentlessly loving.

Granted, Lenore is a dog, and a Lab puppy no less, and pups of the Lab persuasion are sort of known for loving (and playing, and slobbering, and pleading for bites of your ice cream) without any relenting anywhere in sight. Dogs get a bad rap for being so unfailingly, aggressively affectionate; for loving you even after you've failed to take them to the park for a couple of days in a row or have refused to share your pizza with them. We humans, in our anxiety to avoid being characterized as lame, confuse devotion with doormat-ness.

I think that maybe, though, we could all learn something from dogs. We should all love relentlessly. Day in and day out, we should love everybody around us with canine ferocity. We should love them when they are cranky and no fun to be around as much as we love them when they remember our favorite kind of pie. We should love them with enthusiasm like a big sloppy tongue. Maybe we should reconsider the presumed superiority of our species. Maybe being doglike is one step closer to enlightenment, and not the other way around.

Toby, approaching nirvana:

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

About marrying the right person

A post by May in the Bay made me think about a couple I met at the Hospice this semester. The patient, whom we'll call Louise, was gracious and funny; as I treated her, her husband walked into the room with a flower he'd picked from the gardens that lie all around the facility.

"Here's a posy for you, dear," he said, presenting her with it, and then they kissed and carried on and flirted in front of me for a few minutes before he stepped back out, insisting that he felt that she'd get more benefit from her acupuncture treatment if she and I were alone in the room, so that all my attention would be entirely focused on her.

After he'd left, I commented on how sweet he was. She told me they'd been married for sixty-three years. Sixty-three years! And they were so clearly, so deeply in love--and in like with each other. A few days later I was back in her room and was able to watch them interact; they shared a dry, relaxed sense of humor and laughed together over memories of past anniversary parties gone awry in this way or that. They talked about the apricot trees being neglected, but fruiting nonetheless, in their neighbor's yard; he offered to cook some up with sugar and bring them to her.

Sixty-three years, and even though their time here together was winding to a close, it was clear that their primary shared thought was not "What a shame that we do not have more time," so much as "What a time we have had."

I am not religious, but I do believe in prayer, or at least in the idea of putting out an idea, a wish, a vibe, or a need to the universe or God or the Jedi Force or whatever you want to call whatever is running things. I believe in it because whenever I do it I am answered and buoyed, and I believe in gratitude for the answers above everything else. Every day in some way or another I pray for peace of mind and for the courage to love with an open heart. I am answered with Jam Guy, with my wonderful friends, with my crazy and complicated but deeply committed family. And with my patients. If Jam Guy and I can find our way to the kind of partnership that Louise and her husband share, I will have been answered everything I can possibly imagine asking for about being married.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

More shoe lust.

I am thinking of something like these for my wedding shoes (with a white dress! I don't think I care for white shoes so much):

So now that I have the inspiration, I just need to find something along these lines for a bit less than $654.00. Unless Sergio Rossi decides I'm so sparkly and awesome that I deserve to be rewarded with these. Whaddya say, Serge?

Monday, June 16, 2008

oy, and ouch.

I just had a conversation with a once-very-good friend about why we can't be friends anymore. I have been trying not to have that conversation (or any conversation with this friend) for about a year, but I'm glad it happened. But having the conversation--even though it was the smart, healthy thing to do, and even though I think we both understood what was happening and why, and even though I think it was a mutually kind and compassionate farewell--reopened a year-old hurt. Owie.

Things I am learning: There's an infinite number of ways to get your heart broken, and so there must be an infinite number of ways to heal it. There are little-tiny-papercut heartbreaks and great-big-San-Andreas-Fault heartbreaks. Sometimes the big ones are just a pile of the little ones, stacked on top of one another till they become tall and imposing. Sometimes the only way to get from heartbroken to healed is to break your heart more first.

One technique in acupuncture is "bleeding cupping," in which you make a bunch of teeny little incisions--say over a sprain, where it's swollen and discolored with stagnant blood--and then place over the incisions a cup in which a vacuum has been created by sucking all the oxygen out with a flame. It gets out all the stagnant blood and promotes circulation, which facilitates the healing process. While it's happening you can tell it's good for you; it allows you to get better instead of getting poisoned, or being chronically gimpy. But it's still a bitch.

I can't capture how cute this is with my phone camera

but I am trying.

Fast-asleep Meimei has some serious love for my fake Uggs. She is snoring and hugging all at the same time.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

conversation between Jam Guy and Sidewalk Monkey, 6:00 pm, 6/14/08

Sidewalk Monkey: So, my sister is going to see that movie called "Genghis." Or "Khan." About Genghis Khan? No, it's called "Mongol." I sort of think we should see that.

Jam Guy: Hmmmm.

SM: Because! You know? I'm related to him!

Jam Guy: Yes. But--

SM: I know, it might be scary. My sister said there are a lot of battle scenes.

JG: Right. That's what I was thinking. It's violent.

SM: So it might be not good for me to watch. But it's about his life. I thought maybe I should watch it, because, I don't know, maybe it will tell me something about myself.

JG: Hmmmm.

SM: Like, maybe it will awaken the warrior within me.

JG: Hmmmm.

SM: Like! Maybe I will get on a horse, and overthrow the government, and unite all of North America under my rule! The rule of Sidewalk Monkey! I will strike terror into the hearts of men! I will be in charge of everything!

JG: Hmmmm.

SM: You may rule beside me as my queen.

JG: Thank you, honey.

SM: Although first I have to learn to ride a horse.

JG: Right. And also how to be scary.

SM: Right. How to strike terror.

JG: Right.

SM: And also how to get around North America. I'm not very good with directions.

JG: Hmmmm.

SM: Hmmmm. Maybe I won't be a Mongol warrior.

JG: Okay, honey. You're very busy now anyways.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Sleepy procrastinating poem, produced when challenged to produce a "real" sonnet

ie, following one of the defined sonnet forms (this one is English/Shakespearian: iambic pentameter in ababcdcdefefgg). Yes, I should be studying or sleeping. Probably the latter. Sometimes I need to do stuff like this to work out some crapola in my head. No big mystery what the crapola is in this little sonnet. Plus I'm PMSed, so I extra-need to work out the crapola.

The actual sonnet idea came from correspondence with a high school friend I got back in touch with on myspace, who was asking about my couple of "fake sonnets."

(working title: why you should not email me any more, you stinky loser)

i'll never walk that road again with you:
the sleepy days, the smoky glass-eyed nights,
you, laughing at the dances i would do,
me, waking up at three to hit the lights.

i changed my number months after i left
(the kind of thing most girls do right away)--
i pictured you, alone, unfed, bereft,
cold, dialing dead lines day by doped-up day--

i was the rat jumping the sinking ship;
not drowned, i don't regret taking the leap.
but that day, all i wanted was to slip
my whole bright life back in your fucked-up keep.

now dry and tall and rich in peace of mind,
someday i'll leave you all the way behind.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

kind of old poem that i think is about hawai'i

every time i go home
i run out of road again;
it's only when jet engines roar
that i imagine i have a home at all.

the whole night, up, thinking of
nothing but roads, imagining
roads that go on without end,
paved like a motorcar's whiskey dream

soaking wet in dreamless sweats
thinking: what kind of fallen thing
what kind of disgrace wants to stretch
and stretch herself into a road
and a net all at once?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Material things I want that feel too luxurious to justify, while we're on the subject

-The Charles by Charles David sandals below.
-A silk skirt that makes a circle in the air when I twirl.
-Make Up For Ever High-Definition Powder.
-Kiehl's Olive Fruit Oil Nourishing Conditioner.
-A house with room for a garden in wine country to share with my Jam Guy.

Now, of all the things in that list, doesn't the last thing seem the furthest away from the realm of possibility? I mean, you guys know me. Take the sandals, the most expensive thing of the other four things on that list. Typical Sidewalk Monkey will hem and haw and google every possible image and review of the sandals, and then next season find them, or convincing knockoffs, at DSW or on Ebay for $30 and dance around in triumph for like a year about it. The Kiehl's conditioner I can score samples of and use on special occasions, the HD powder I might stoop so low as to slip into Sephora and dust myself up with before going somewhere I know pictures will be taken, the skirt will turn up one of these days at a thrift store. But even though I am told bargains can be found on house sales, they never seem to get marked down to the thirty-dollar range. Moreover, it is hard to find free house samples that do the trick. On my list of luxuries that I can't seem to feel I really and truly deserve, the house is the least probable, the most outrageous, the one thing that I don't quite know how to make happen.

So why is that the one thing that is happening? How did I fall into the bliss of normalcy, of being loved and accepted, of doing something like shopping for a house with a man I love in a place I love? Wasn't it only two years ago I was crowded into a drafty, roach-infested studio with someone for whom the habit of pointing out all the infinite parts of me he didn't like occurred as regularly, almost as involuntarily, as a nervous tic? I went from that, to this. From there to here. Which part was real? Is it really possible to go from that kind of grief to this kind of contentment in one life? In two years? I feel like I might get whiplash. I feel ten years younger than I felt two years ago. I feel like somebody who got another chance.

These shoes make me drool with lust

Charles David is a heartbreaker.