Jun 29, 2007

5 Reasons Why Today Did Not Suck

1. No doctors means no patients means I actually got some work done. I'm no longer two weeks behind on my charts! And I got to wear jeans. Awesome.
2. Belinda and I got lunch from Riverside - tasty food that's incredibly bad for you. Though I do have a theory about seasoning salt preserving your insides, thereby increasing longevity.
3. The cleaning crew came to do the carpets, and not a moment too soon. Apparently, my patients often enjoy frolicking through oil fields before tromping into my office. Disgusting.
4. I was allowed - nay, encouraged! - to leave early. Which got me home in time for Voyager, my favorite Star Trek series.
5. The show that aired? "Blood Fever," aka the Obligatory Pon Farr Episode. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, you may be too cool to read this blog.

"Did she just out herself as a Star Trek geek?"

Jun 22, 2007

If you thought clowns were scary before...

I have to tell you all about Shentai, this urban carnival I went to last weekend. My friend Wistar invited me along, since she is friends with many of the performers. So I knew going in that it's a collaborative effort of many of the young actors, dancers, artists and musicians of C'ville. In other words, Indie Strangefest 2007. But I figured (correctly!) that there would be cotton candy, so I agreed.

Sadly, I was still completely unprepared for the level of weirdness I was to encounter. We entered the staging area (a gutted and redecorated warehouse) to the sounds of a local band called Accordion Death Squad playing "An Unwelcome Overture." Then the MC popped out of trunk, looked out on the audience, and screamed in terror.

And it kept. Getting. Weirder.

The tap-dancing vampires got in a fight with the antelopes on stilts and the woman dressed in bubble wrap. Of course, all movement ceased as Queen Dido made her painstakingly slow, eerily silent way through the crowd. This signaled the beginning of the surrealist play about a woman falling in love with a squid ... or possibly suicide, I'm not sure. In another exhibit, I pretended to be a flamingo/whale with great success. Later we went to the peep show, and I saw Sacajawea's bosoms. I don't have the words to describe everything I saw. Oh, but I can sum up the finale in two: Fire Dancing.

It was amazing, and terrifying. Almost everybody in the show was twirling flaming poles about or slinging chains of fire through the air. I just sat there the entire time thinking, "we are all going to die." Luckily we made it out alive, and I staggered away in a shocked haze.

Wistar: What did you think?
Me: I just have one question ... do you think they found tap dancers and turned them into vampires, or taught vampires how to tap dance?
Wistar: Um ...
Me: Never mind, I've clearly gone mad. Please take me home now.

In short - I highly recommend seeing Shentai!

Jun 18, 2007

The Future Mr. Sri?

My friend Davina came over for dinner on Friday, so we could catch up after her trip to Europe. I know most people hate looking at travel photos, but I eat that stuff up with a spoon. Anyway, our conversation eventually (inevitably) turns to relationships. Davina is a fellow desi, and as unattached career women we are the bane of our parents' existence. She and I have similar views on the whole on the whole "arranged marriage" business - we're happy to let our parents introduce us to a Nice Indian Boy, but we want to take it from there. Of course, every rule has its exceptions. Mom, this one's for you.

Indian Men I Will Marry, No Questions Asked:

1. Sendhil Ramamurthy

He comes from a family of physicians, and he goes off to become an actor. That takes guts. Also - I love his pretty hair! I'm sure his wife, soap opera star Olga Sosnovska, won't mind sharing.

2. Aasif Mandvi

His desirability is directly proportional to the time he spends split-screen with Jon Stewart. Political satire always gets me hot and bothered. Also, he can play the guitar!

3. Russell Peters

A nice Canadian boy, and a stand-up comedian! And you know I love to laugh. Teensy problem - he's a Catholic Anglo-Indian (that's right, Russell Peters is his real name). As such, he probably won't want to marry a Hindu girl.

4. Kal Penn

*wipes drool* Um, yeah. No caption needed here.

If any of the young men in question would like to make their intentions known, I will accept proposals in the form of sonnets, odes and/or boxes of chocolate.

Jun 11, 2007

Lucky Girl

This weekend was something of an adventure. Maggie and I had plans to take Andi out for lunch, in lieu of attending her bridal shower. I figured that if I was going to be down in SWVA anyway, I might as well swing by Castle Sri and pick up my mother's old bicycle (this being an integral part of my Lose 25 By 25 plan).

Let me tell you a little of my cycling history. As a child, I loved my bike. It had a totally 80's color scheme of teal and pink, a tinny, annoying bell and a basket with a unicorn sticker. Not to mention the sparkly white handlebar tassels. In other words, this bike was hot shit. I named her Beulah.

So what if I never quite mastered the art of turning around? So what if I usually forgot all about my brakes and would have to skid to a stop using my feet, Flintstones-style? Beulah and I were learning and growing together.

Then, it happened. During a lesson with my parents, I had a terrible fall into the harsh, unforgiving gravel of a church parking lot. My leg was all torn up and I was completely traumatized. How could Beulah betray me like that? She and I never spoke again, and I didn't get back on a non-stationary bike for 16 years.

Flash forward to yesterday, and my mother's old bike (adjusted for height). Fighting my fear, I got back on and, after a few wobbly starts, seemed to be getting the hang of it. Struggling my way up a hill, I noticed that my gear dials did not match. As I dismounted to point the bike back down the hill, I made my fatal mistake - I turned the gear dials all the way down.

If I had been a movie heroine, the entire audience would have been screaming, "DON'T DO IT!" I know this now. Sadly, my life is not a movie (though if it were, it would certainly be a comedy of errors).

As you can imagine, I began careening down the hill at a slightly scary speed. My dad and Maggie, trying to stay out of my wildly oscillating path of destruction, were calling out "stop, stop!" True to form I panicked, neglected the brakes, and put my feet down.

Too bad I was barefoot at the time.

Leaving a thin layer of skin behind, I came to a stuttering halt. The bike did not stop with me, however. That's right - face plant onto hot asphalt. And I would have laughed, if it all hadn't been so tragically awkward.

Luckily, I was relatively unhurt. After some coddling by my mother (she actually clutched me to her bosom and stroked my hair), I was even able to get right back on. Though my dad made sure I took a helmet, and even offered elbow and knee pads. Probably should have taken him up on that...

By the way, the new bike's name is Killer.

And then on the way to Andi's house, my car (Sheldon) got a flat. We were able to get it replaced with a minimum of fuss and went on to have a delightful lunch, but my mom was rather concerned.

Mom: I worry about you!
Me: I worry about me, too.
Mom: Amma, I think someone has put drishti* on you.
Me: Oh you and your quaint, folksy superstitions ... do you really think so?!?

The problem being, you can't remove drishti from yourself. So please stop hating on me, people ... it's hazardous to my health.

*literally, view/sight ... figuratively, The Evil Eye

Jun 6, 2007

"When angry, count to four; when very angry, swear." -- Mark Twain

Today I received a letter in the mail from the Blue Ridge Pregnancy Center (addressed to "Dr. MyNameMisspelled"). At first I laughed - I was going to forward it to my parents, so they'd finally be proud of me. Then I realized ... this was a crisis pregnancy center. And the letter was a bill for $25.

For those of you who aren't familiar with crisis pregnancy centers, they are pro-life organizations who represent themselves as free clinics in order to discourage women from terminating unplanned pregnancies. More information is available in this TIME article, and in this 2006 Congressional report*. In my opinion, they do a disservice to these women by providing incomplete, sometimes inaccurate and often biased information.

As a pro-choice, non-pregnant genetic counselor, I would have no reason to deal with such a group. I found out that FV (my colleague, also a genetic counselor) received a similar bill in the mail. So I called them up - apparently they just had their Love Life Walk fund raiser, and someone had put me down for a pledge. I politely explained to them that (1) I am not a doctor and (2) that is not how you spell my name, so clearly this pledge had been made without my knowledge. They promptly took me and FV off their list.

On the outside, I'm grateful for their appropriate response to my complaint. Inside, I am fuming**. Who would do something like this? Why? I have a hard time believing this was random, since FV and I do counsel our patients about the possibility of termination. Medical termination, after a chromosome condition or severe birth defect has been diagnosed in a woman's planned, wanted pregnancy. You know how hard that is? I'm sure you can guess - extremely hard. But because I give my patients all the facts and try my damnedest to be non-directive, I've been labeled as a Purveyor of Abortions and targeted for this con.

In my perfect world, no women gets an elective termination. In my perfect world, no pregnancy is unplanned or unwanted. But we don't live in my perfect world (Sri-topia), we live in this one. So excuse me for doing my job, and not letting personal beliefs get in the way of helping my patients do what's best for them.


*Some of these centers receive federal funding. Don't even get me started. But the Blue Ridge Pregnancy Center does not, according to the helpful brochure they also sent.

**To clarify, I don't think this pregnancy center is involved in the fake pledge. They're more a victim of this than me, since they lost $50 of hypothetical money. I disagree with what they're doing, but I don't blame them for this ridiculousness.

Jun 5, 2007

Parental Invasion

Mom and Dad came to visit this weekend, and I took them around town. They really enjoy C'ville, especially the Downtown Mall. Though we did have some difficulty negotiating the crosswalks.

Dad: *proudly* I pushed the button.
Me: Good for you.
Dad: Why isn't it changing?
Me: The stoplight is on a timer. The button is just there to give you the illusion of being proactive.
Dad: *pressing it again, clearly not listening* Taxi!

So. Random. I took them to Christian's and The Flat, two of my favorite places ever. Christian's serves some of the best pizza in the world. The Flat little more than a stall that sells stuffed crepes. Hot, fresh crepe with strawberries and nutella = *drool*

When we got home, I made them watch Rent with me. I was already in love with the music, and I quite enjoyed myself. Predictably, Mom fell asleep halfway through. She did wake up at one point to say, "Of all the girls, the prettiest is the one who is a boy." Classic.

Jun 2, 2007

For our first anniversary, my job got me a paycheck!

So, I've been at my job for a year now - go me! Back then I was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, eager to start my life as a Real Life Genetic Counselor. And I was updating my blog from my colleague's computer, since my office wasn't set up yet and I didn't have internet access in my sublet apartment. Here's what I was saying ....
In all the history of genetic counseling there was never so incompetent a new graduate as me.

Me: Hi, I'm Sri.
Patient & Hubby: Hello.
Me: Today you'll be having a screening test for chromosome conditions. *showing pictures of chromosomes* Does this sound familiar?
Patient: Not rea-
Extremely. I'm a physician.
Me: Oh dear god, no.

Look how far I've come!

Patient Today: *surprised* You're not a doctor?
Me: Uh ... no. You really think a doctor would spend 45 minutes just talking to you?
Patient Today: Oh. So I can call you "Sri"?
Me: I also accept "Milady" and "Your Awesomeness."