Aug 28, 2009

Last Day

I'm sitting in my office with the door closed, my second piece of Going Away cake souring in my stomach. This was the cake I specifically requested be ordered from Maryland, a rich chocolate topped with a decadent caramel icing. Too rich and too decadent, as it turns out. I wish I had a toothbrush.

But even if I were that kind of slave to oral hygiene, I cleaned out my desk yesterday. There's nothing in these drawers except a couple of keys without locks, a spare computer cable or two, and dust. Lots of dust. The only thing left to do is box up my textbooks and clear the last few personal items off the top of my desk.

Here's my graduation picture, and a few candid photos of friends. The good highlighters that I brought from home, and my tiny mouse-shaped pencil sharpener. I'm pretty sure some of my personal contacts got mixed into my Rolodex, so I should probably fish those out. Two thank-you notes from patients. In the corner, some bottles and boxes for recycling. My file box of scientific articles. My diplomas on the wall, mustn't forget those.

This morning, I was elated. I woke up at 6:20 and couldn't get back to sleep, I was so excited. My last day. Sitting at my desk, doing whatever busy work my boss could find for me, I was dancing in my chair. Then my mom called me during my lunch break and said, "It is your last day! Think of all the things you've achieved over the past three years!"

This job... this job.

Only an hour and half left.

Aug 23, 2009


One of the best things about moving is that you have a valid excuse to use all the perishable items in your fridge and pantry. So today I decided to make brownies. Furthermore, I decided I was going to make delicious wine brownies, like the ones Jojo brought to our impromptu class reunion. Of course, she simply substituted wine for water (WWJD brownies, if you will) in a packaged brownie mix. I don't believe in using mixes unless circumstances are dire, so I figured I would improvise.

*cue ominous music*

First I started with this simple brownie recipe:
1/2 c. butter or oil
4 tbsp. cocoa or 2 sq. chocolate
1 c. sugar
2 eggs, well beaten
3/4 c. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. nuts, chopped

Mix all ingredients together. Spread in well greased pan. Bake a 350, 30-35 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes.
Already I'm excited because of the two-step instructions: mix, then bake. Except, nowhere is water mentioned in this recipe. How am I supposed to substitute wine for water if there isn't any water? Upon further consideration, several other problems make themselves apparent...

1. I don't have any unsweetened cocoa, only hot cocoa mix pouches. Gourmet hot cocoa mix pouches, but still.
2. After my dad's heart attack, the whole family switched from eggs (evil, cholesterol-filled sons of bitches) to egg-substitute products.
3. There isn't a drop of vanilla extract to be had in the apartment, and I'm sure as hell not going out to buy any for one batch of brownies.
4. My mounting frustration, evidenced by my increasingly colorful language. Dammit.

So ... I improvised further. Here's what I actually ended up using:
1/2 c. butter (melted from it's frozen state in an improvised double-boiler)
entire packet of gourmet "double dutch" hot cocoa mix (why not?)
3/4 c. sugar (cut back to compensate for sugar in hot cocoa mix)
2 egg-equivalent amount of egg substitute (shaking a carton is much easier than beating eggs, anyway)
almost 3/4 c. flour (ran out!)
a pinch of salt (since I used salted butter)
1/2 tsp. baking powder (...ish)
a generous dollop on hard cider
Wait a minute, you're thinking. Hard cider? I thought you were going to use wine!

Yes, yes. But for some reason (I blame nasty, devious, wine-stealing gnomes!) I have no open bottles of wine in my house. Or rather, open bottles of wine never last long in my house. Anyway, I splashed in some hard cider and then enjoyed the rest of the bottle while I waited for the brownies to bake (same temp/time as the original instructions). A win-win, if you ask me!

And here I am, sitting with the finished product. Here goes, fair readers.

*nom nom nom*

Not bad. The chocolate taste is muted, and there is the subtle flavor of cider without the alcoholic bite. And they're quite cakey, not really as dense as brownies usually are. Overall, though, quite delicious and a definite success. Now I just have to figure out how to use that box of sangria Liz brought me, and I'll be all set!

Aug 20, 2009

Has it really been five years?

Last night, my freshman hall got together for an impromptu reunion. I immediately covered myself in glory by imbibing several glasses of wine. Happily, I was not alone in this, and soon we were merrily insulting each other and cackling evilly. Next came a retelling of embarrassing stories from our shared past, to everyone's horror delight. These included, but were not limited to:
- The time Kristy, Diana, and Rachel ran The Triathlon in a single night (see the W&M Wiki entry and scroll down to "Traditions")
- That Erin's only defense in a physical confrontation was to go limp ... at which point I would drag her bodily from our room and leave her in a heap in the middle of the hallway
- How even though Diana and Jojo disagreed vehemently on acceptable television and movies (with Diana expressing a strong dislike for all things Jane Austen), they could both come together to judge me for my love of Star Trek

It's strange to think that it's been five years since I was at the same school as these women, and almost a decade since we first met. I still remember being startled, upon being introduced to Erin, by her enthusiastic exclamation and tackle-hug. And how, during orientation, Diana and I intimidated each other - to me she looked tough, to her I looked monstrously tall. I forgot to bring my favorite hairbrush to school, and Jojo offered to buy me a new one from Target. I still have that brush somewhere.

These moments are so fundamental to my character that it seems impossible, ludicrous that they happened such a long time ago. This feeling is reinforced whenever we get together and the intervening years seem to disappear. Despite the evidence to the contrary - jobs, spouses, houses, children! - it seems that in a moment we'll dump our trays, leave The Caf and return to Gooch 2nd Upper at the end of another idyllic day of our freshman year.

Aug 12, 2009

The Big Reveal

Well, my little chickadees, I have some news. At the end of this month I will be leaving fair C'ville and moving up to Washington, D.C. This is an exciting opportunity - I'll be getting out of the clinical realm and pursuing my interest in public policy, via a very prestigious fellowship. Many of you may know all this already, but I didn't want to blog about it until (a) I had gotten my official offer letter and (b) I had broken the news to my bosses.

I went apartment hunting last weekend, which was a somewhat frustrating experience. I didn't like the places I could afford and couldn't afford the places that I liked. On Monday, however, I got confirmation that the stipend I had thought was for all 16 months of my fellowship was actually annual. That opened up a lot of possibilities for me, and I sent in an application for a studio in northwest D.C. today. I should be all set, as long as their criminal background check doesn't find all those arson and embezzlement charges. It's like they say - what happens in Uzbekistan stays in Uzbekistan, right?

In my nerdy excitment over the new place I printed out the floor plan and made scale cut-outs of all my furniture, to see if it would all fit. It'll be a tight squeeze, but I think I can manage it. If I have to leave the infamous Swivel Chair behind, I will cry.

Can you believe I found a picture via Google Images?
God, I love the internet.

Aug 3, 2009

Despite a distressing amount of adverts*, I highly recommend this site: Emails from Crazy People. This is almost enough for me to wish for someone to send me a ranting, aggressive, foaming-at-the-mouth email ... despite my total aversion to confrontation. Enjoy!

*A word to any of my readers who are marketing execs - banner ads don't work. Anyone under the age of, I'm going to guess forty, doesn't even see banner adds. Our eyes skip right over them, enjoying our bliggity-blogs and facey-spaces while paying exactly zero attention to any and all sponsors. You're going to need more to capture my imagination than some random JPEG of a woman doing sit-ups. Also, WTF is up with the woman doing situps?