I initially decided to camp out at the gym for election night. They had TV, they had endorphins. I spend a solid two hours there.


Got good and sweaty, #nastywoman. But then it was like 9:30 and my knee hurt and things were no closer to being called and in fact were actively EXTREMELY NERVE WRACKING.


I went home and as returns started looking grimmer and grimmer, I sought more and more to distract myself. Like with a nice horrifying movie! (No not really I could not handle watching this alone at night. I am only human).


Went to bed at 1am, woke up at 5 and pulled up CNN on my smellphone and went “Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God” out loud alone in my room. At that point I became so cold that I had to put on my COAT, underneath my sheets and blanket in my fully heated apartment. It was so weird and so sad.

I got up and got my life together- my last day of my internship was actually election day, so the following day I packed up my life into my car and departed Winston Salem, NC, my temporary home of 10 weeks. And drove straight to Virginia.


I swear to God, I felt safer when I crossed into a blue state. (Was it safe to take the picture above while driving 70+ miles per hour? No, readers. It was not).

I also refused to spend money in NC on that day because I was too mad at my state (they have somewhat redeemed themselves by- probably, pending recount and inevitable attempts to cheat– ousting “Bathroom Bill” governor Pat McCrory).

I crossed into Virginia at just the right time… I pushed my financial punishment of NC to the limit as my gas light was on (but not blinking, so it’s okay, amirite?!)

At the very first exit, I purchased gas and a bagel and gave my precious sales tax to enlightened Virginia.

Then I got home to my mama’s house. Home meant spending time with my wonderful mother. Home meant tiring my emotionally ravaged brain with manual labor (leaf raking! Deep cleaning cat debris! Lots of laundry)! Most of all, home meant fur babies.

Lola, who was cared for by my mama while I finished my internship, was in excellent spirits. By which I mean Lola was in heat. It meant she was sweet and cuddly as all get out, which was wonderful.


But then she started getting GRAPHICALLY friendly. You can read about the really… explicit behavior of a female cat in heat here.

Sheila was her usual sweet self.


Also, in case there are dog lovers who read this blog and are *@#% sick of my billions of cat pictures, here is my dad’s dog Bodie. Though he still behaves like a puppy, he is getting on years, and now his sweet little muzzle is going white haired!


I hung out at my dad’s for a bit and Sally (my stepmother) and I took a lovely, looooooong autumnal walk with the dog. It’s amazing how being physically active helps during periods of emotional stress.

I can always count on Sally having fun weird Asian foodstuffs around the house (she’s from Taiwan). When we returned from our walk, she whipped up a batch of homemade bubble tea! It’s actually quite easy- you just boil the tapioca pearls and make extra strong black tea mixed with sweetened condensed milk.

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A little extra sweetened condensed milk never hurt anyone.


Fun Taiwanese desserts (she just got back from a visit with her family there).


This had taro filling. More American desserts need taro!


Let’s see, what else did I do at home?

I took my poor hormonal cat in to get fixed. Homegirl was NOT happy to have this cone. It lasted about five minutes and then she ripped it off in a pretty impressive feat of strength.


In general, the main problem with Lola getting fixed was that no one told Lola that she had recently had major abdominal surgery. So she was like “HEY FRIENDS PARTY PARTY LETS DO JUMPING AND CLIMBING!” and we were like “DEAR GOD, CAT, YOUR INCISION FOR THE LOVE OF GOD GET DOWN AND GO TO SLEEP!”

On the bright side, rather than giving us pills to administer to the cat (an undertaking that anyone knows is virtually impossible) the vet gave us syringes of a liquid to squeeze into her cheek that apparently tasted DELICIOUS, based on Lola’s reaction. Either that or she is now an opiate addict.

I saw friends- first I caught up with a friend from my program who’s finishing her internship at the US Surgeon General’s office in DC. We hit up the Bolivian bakery (!) and worked on our masters papers. My draft is done, but it’s 5000 words- which is a problem, since the limit for the journal to which I’m submitting, Breastfeeding Medicine, is 3500 words.

I also hung out with another friend who I’ve known since high school. He was randomly visiting VA at the same non-holiday time I was. I highly recommend hanging out with enlightened feminist ally men in this dark time. It helps. Plus also we drank a bottle of wine and then some, which frankly was just necessary.

When I was picking up said friend, I discovered that my car only sometimes felt like starting. Said friend’s dad has worked as a truck mechanic, and taught me- PRO TIP!- that if your car won’t start, try having someone smack the starter with a wrench while you turn the key in the ignition. It works- yayyyyyyy! While unfortunately proving that your starter is busted- nayyyyy.

I spent my last day at home at the service station, getting both my car’s battery AND starter replaced! Oh happy day!

I hung out at the car place getting increasingly hangry. “It’s almost done!” they lied. “It’ll be easy to track down this part!” they lied. Finally, I made them give me a ride to the nearby mall, and I got myself a killer late lunch at Cava.


Base: mix of rice and superfood veg (greens, shredded brussels sprouts, etc.)
Protein: falafel
Dips: baba ghanoush, tzaziki, crazy feta
Fresh veg: tomatoes/cucumbers/hot peppers, cherry tomato goodness, olives
Dressing: sriracha yogurt


$650 later, my car was safe to take back to NC. Which was good, since I had a task to complete. Though it seems like my whole purpose of going to Virginia was to heal emotionally… that was actually not my main reason for going! In fact, I was relieving my wonderful aunt Dena and uncle Louie of KITTEN DUTY.

Tangent: Lola and her babies have been loved and cared for by so many people since I adopted my sweet little prego kitty:
– My friends Myra and Alex, who watched Lola while I finished my summer internship
– My wonderful mom, who gave Lola a safe home to finish out her pregnancy, give birth, and take care of her kittens when they were tiny gray breastfeeding fuzzies
– Dena and Louie, who fostered the kittens for several weeks after they were weaned from their mama and needed to be better socialized. Socializing the kittens was tough at my mom’s house since Lola had to be confined to my bedroom since otherwise she tried to come out and murder Sheila. Plus, my mom works lonnnnnng hours and has a lonnnnng commute whereas my aunt Dena actually works from home and is around more to get in face time with kittens.
– Louie’s sister Laura, who loves cats and became kitten socializer in chief when she was staying at Dena and Louie’s. She particularly bonded with Bill, who is so so shy and so so beautiful.
– My sister Malindi, who helped me during the hellish drive taking Lola up to Virginia and has provided many hours of love and snuggles socializing the kittens. Also the rescuer of Lola’s foster baby
– My aunt Kathy, who came over for playtime with kittens 😀
– My cousin Lara and her husband Tim, who all the way from their home in California sent the kittens a feather toy that they are OBSESSED WITH
– The people who have thus far adopted kittens (Clovis, Levon and Pinky now have wonderful homes!)

So now that I’ve given all that thanks…

Dena and Louie were off to Austin to celebrate Thanksgiving with their kids/grandbaby. My mom was still taking care of Lola, as she recovers from her surgery (and mama cats and kittens should not be together once the kittens are weaned). Therefore, that meant it was time for me to take the last two kittens (Angela and Bill) home with me to NC! So I did, and we are all nestled into my house after a pretty uneventful car trip down.

And oh my God, Angela and Bill are BEST FRIENDS and SO CUTE!


This is a temporary arrangement, since I fortunately have a friend of a friend who is probably going to adopt them (he’s taking them for a “trial stay” at his house over Thanksgiving… but AS IF, right?! Who has adorable kittens in their home and then returns them?!) But gosh this is the FUNNEST temporary arrangement! I am of course biased but I will also say that Angela and Bill are probably the cutest kittens who have ever lived.

Some fun things to share about my past few days with these little babies:

  • I will hereafter always refer to them as the “kitinds”, from this cute interaction with Liv, the adorable little girl nannied by my friend Andrea. I sent Andrea a kitten video (I’ve been updating her and the kiddos throughout this kitten journey) and somehow Liv got ahold of her phone and we had this very entertaining exchange.

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  • The kitinds are still fairly shy but are warming up to me. I find they are most inclined to let me pet them (and purr! And sometimes offer their bellies for belly rubs!) when they are having snuggles (like pictured above) or when they are eating.
  • I generally don’t let them in my room unless I am there to supervise, since they turn literally everything into a toy and I don’t want them destroying all my stuff. But as a result my room has become Mission Impossible and they do absolutely everything they can to get in, including meowing piteously outside my door like they are in horrible pain and near death and then sprinting inside when I crack the door to check on them.
  • They talk to each other! Bill in particular does this little chirp when he wants his sister to come play with him.
  • On the subject of playing, they play all. day. Their custom game I would call a mixture of hide and seek, parkour, wrestling, follow the leader, 50 yard dash, and gymnastics.


I know my blog is always unfocused and stream-of-consciousness but I wager this post was among the most random!

Next: reflections from my most recent internship in the NICU. And more ways to keep yourself and your baby out of the hospital!


I can’t go back to normal yet. It’s a fine line- I don’t want to come across as a complacent white person, and yet I also don’t want to come across as an incredibly privileged voice nattering on about oppression from my position of relative safety/wealth/power. In my freaking food blog.

With all that being said, I’d like to provide some resources for any readers who might come across this and find any of these useful.

  • For obvious reasons, it probably makes sense for those who need to to get long-acting birth control before the new administration nukes the ACA/Planned Parenthood/etc. In North Carolina, if you qualify for pregnancy Medicaid (which has less stringent income criteria than regular Medicaid) you also qualify for the Be Smart Family Planning Program. Free birth control (pills, IUDs, implants, Depo- everything except condoms) and free visits to a provider to get it. A similar program exists in Virginia. Anyone in other states? It’s worth a Google of just “Family Planning Medicaid [your state here]”
  • Hate crimes seem to be on the rise, and if Brexit is any indicator, they’re likely to continue. Here are some tips for what to do if you encounter racist heckling (also obvi sexist/homophobic/transphobic/etc). Here’s how to disguise a swastika as a Windows ’95 logo!
  • This document has some tips on protecting your rights and some wise steps to take prior to Inauguration Day. It has particularly relevant advice for particularly vulnerable populations (transgender folks, disabled folks, undocumented immigrants). Also tips on being a good ally. Information is also available in Spanish.
  • One of my friends in NC started a social justice reading group. I’m excited to be a part of it.

healthy holidays!

Part of what’s been great about this advanced internship is seeing all the cool, different things my classmates are doing with their internships.

One of my best pals Steph has been interning at Eat Smart, Move More, Weigh Less, and her hard work has helped produce this:

Holiday Challenge

In her words:

This holiday season, the only thing that should be “stuffed” is the turkey. Many Americans gain between 1 and 5 pounds each holiday season. While it may not sound like much, most people never manage to lose these extra pounds.

It’s time for the 2016 Eat Smart, Move More, Maintain, don’t gain! Holiday Challenge! Rather than focusing on trying to lose weight, this FREE seven-week challenge provides participants with strategies to:

Survive a holiday party
Manage holiday stress
Be a healthy host
Fit physical activity into your day
Cook quick and healthy meals
Plus healthy holiday recipes and a virtual walking/running race through Iceland!

The Holiday Challenge begins November 14th and runs through December 31st.


birthday things

First I got myself a birthday gift- two of my most DESERT ISLAND books! Thanks for my aunties for getting me Amazon gift cards 😊  and thanks for nothing to whoever stole my previous copies of both of these excellent books 😒


I rearead them both pretty quickly. And pretty voraciously. What I wouldn’t give for Margaret Attwood’s imagination and Michael Chabon’s  glorious ability to craft a sentence.

On my bday itself I was “working from home” (usually I actually do work from home on Fridays but this day I just was like “meh, I won’t count these hours” and just birthday-ed).

I made lactation cookies for my cousin and delivered them to her house. And hung out with her and her cuuuuuuuuute baby boy for awhile.


Also lactation: my cousin’s dad’s very German fiancee got her this scary tea! We have no idea what it says, hahaha.


Then I hung out with my sister for our birthday date. She made a fabulous BIRTHDAY BATH with all kinds of lovely skin and hair products available. Mearl freaked me out by staring at my naked body for 20 minutes. Then he started trying to drink the bath water and Malindi lured him out of the bathroom with more cat-safe treats.


We got a lovely surprise delivery courtesy of Malindi’s boyf Eric- this GORGEY birthday cookie cake from Insomnia Cookies. OMG it was so chocolatey delicious.


And the milk that came with it for dunkage just put it completely over the top.


Poor Eric can’t even have gluten so he did not get to partake. (Well although honestly, I didn’t partake much- I left it overnight at Malindi’s and the next day there was about a 2 inch piece left hahaahhahahahaha. Thank God- as you’ll see my birthday had no shortage of calories)

My mom asked me what I wanted for my birthday and I said “Hnnngh I don’t know call Malindi”. So Malindi recommended mom just fund an experiential gift- a birthday day of fun. SO we got mani-pedis. Then we went for a FABULOUS dinner at Tandem.

Started with a nice glass of Malbec.


We decided we just wanted to split a billion apps and try everything. This was a trio of dips: on the left, smoky-sweet eggplant and pine nuts; in the center, labnneh (yogurt cheese) with olive oil; and on the right, beets and goat cheese and mint.


Chickpea fritters with dreamy little fried brussels sprouts leaves and goat cheese


Fancy Caesar salad with real anchovies


This squash agnolotti in lemony sauce with hazelnuts that was one of the best things I have ever. tasted. Every bite I took I couldn’t help but make a little moan and go, “Oh God this is SO GOOOOOOOOOOD”.

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We also got salmon rillettes that I must’ve forgotten to snap.

It was a really great meal. Our waiter was such a PRO- you know how you go to some places and the servers clearly just have years of experience and know exactly when you want them to come over and when you want to be left alone and make the perfect recommendations and have great energy? It’s like that.

We trusted him so when it came to dessert we looked at the menu and were like “Yes we like this all you decide for us” and he brought us this creation involving chocolate and pistachio and zabaglione and it was REAL good.


(I really enjoyed my dark purple autumnal manicure)

The next day we were meant to go for afternoon tea but there was a hurricane. Though it wasn’t all that bad in the Triangle, we decided it would be silly to drive to Durham, potentially putting ourselves at risk plus getting in the way of first responders who actually needed to be on the road. So we stayed home.

And I made lasagna. Sauteed mushrooms, garlic, and spinach…


Baked spaghetti squash…


Tomato sauce and a layer of “noodles”


Sauteed veggies plus ground turkey I’d browned with herbs plus cottage cheese (just as good as ricotta in lasagna IMO and much cheaper)


Layers and layers and layers and topped with real mozzarella from a classy cheese ball Malindi gave me. I ate this for days and froze some of it and was very pleased with it. Nutritionally A+ and really tasty and REALLY filling.


Speaking of that hurricane, a tree fell on my street. I heard the sound and hit the deck in the middle of my living room. But I was fine! And everyone else around was too, thank God. The tree did knock over a power line, though. My tough neighbors just dove in and started cleaning up. And I was useless and took their photo, oy. I felt so bad- I’m on the end of the street and I guess on some other grid, because I never lost power, but everyone else did for three days.


A few other birthday highlights included:

  • Seeing Bridget Jones’s Baby with my friend Myra. The movie was SO CUTE! I loved the original Bridget Jones and hated the sequel, but the third one is a GEM.
  • Getting a free pumpkin gingerbread latte from my friend who’s a barista at my favorite coffee shop
  • Going out for a dreamy Italian dinner with my internship roommates, which I’ll chronicle in a bit
  • Using some of my birthday Amazon gift cards to buy goodies for my kittens


  • Having a silly girls’ night with my roomie, during which we watched (also thanks to Amazon gift cards) my newly purchased DVD copy of Drop Dead Gorgeous, which remains as hilarious as the first time I saw it circa 1999
  • Saying individual thank yous for each individual Facebook “Happy Birthday’ post I got. I’m trying to cultivate more gratitude and saying thank you for each message I got made me overflow with joy. It was entirely selfish, not giving!
  • I got particular joy from this message from my friend Zach, my writing club teacher and literary mentor. I was actually a bit flustered, actually actually hahahaha. I am so unable to deal with kindness and sincerity sometimes!

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May we all receive such nice birthday messages. You’re great! Keep going!

stuff and things

I have various real blog posts in the work but there’s one with birthday pictures that feels braggy and peppy in a way that doesn’t reflect my feelings of late; and one that’s a reflection on this internship that requires more intellect and organization than I’m currently able to contribute.

Thus, this little postlet.

  • I joined Instagram (Instaham, my sister calls it). You can find me here. It’s public for now, until the inevitable creepers start following me and I have to go private.
  • My internship wraps up next Wednesday. It has gone by pretty quickly! I had a cool milestone the other day. I went on rounds and the medical team was conferring/gossiping about something or other so I left them to that and strolled over to look in one of our babies who was making cute noises. And I realized this was a baby on whom I’d been doing assessments since she was just a tiny little nugget in an incubator getting all her nutrition pumped into her veins. And now she’s a real baby in a crib drinking her mama’s milk from a bottle! She’s still a wee thing, but she is out and about in the world instead of in this weird fake uterus the NICU tries to create for these babies who get evicted too soon from their mamas. Anyway, she’s REAL cute. And it made me happy to think that I, in my small way, contributed to growing that cuteness.
  • I’ve been kind of a Negative Nigel about my singlehood. But hearing some stories about the truly bizarre/pathetic interactions between a good friend of mine and her ex reminded me how the world actually works. It’s not like I’m this single person feeling vaguely lonely; and all the other women are in these blissfully happy relationships with these highly evolved men. As a single person, I’m closer to a happy relationship than someone in an unhappy relationship is. Maybe it’ll happen, maybe not.
  • Over the past few weeks I’ve spent more than a few grim hours ruminating about all the various choices I shouldn’t have made/all the things I should be doing with my life that I’m not.
    • Think about how great things would have been with that that dude this spring if you’d just been cooler and not scared him off with your need for communication, Ileana! Don’t you yearn for your happy days with him, when he’d smoke a bowl in the kitchen while you petted his cat in the living room?!
    • Think about all the deep thoughts you should be writing about while comparing yourself to Pulitzer-prize winning authors and becoming paralyzed with the thought of creating anything!
    • Think about how you are wasting your life by not going out dancing and not online dating and not volunteering and not cooking enough and not traveling!
    • Think about all the individual meals and snacks you should not have eaten in high school!  (<<< yes, that is how I spend my time. Brilliant, right?! SO PRODUCTIVE AND HEALTHY AND SANE).
  • When I was in a particular tailspin last weekend, I realized I was PMSing and took a shower and took a walk and got over myself. A gentle reminder, readers- do what you can to get out of your own head when it’s being unkind to you. My old shrink taught me this acronym: CARESS.
    • CA= Communicate alternatively. Call a friend. Talk to someone in person. Write a poem. Dance out your feelings. Make an art.
    • RE= Release endorphins. Zumba. Walk. Jog. Deep clean your bathroom. Ellipticize. Take a yoga class. Bust out some Burpees.
    • SS= Self soothe. Take a hot bath. Do your nails. Pet your cat. Watch a dumb movie that makes you laugh.
  • The election is still making me all clench-y. This SNL sketch is not directly related to the election but I thought it was a BEAUTIFUL bit of satire done right. I was driving to work one morning after having watched this sketch (for the 6th or so time) the night before and saw a car whose structure was about 25% duct tape and I went CAR TAPE and cackled with laughter and then felt kind of racist and uncomfortable and was like “Oh my God I’m laughing and uncomfortable- this is satire at its finest!” We need more laughs that make us uncomfortable, as a country. We need to engage. Humor is a good way in.

OK that was a brain dump. Maybe back soon.

Here are the kittens. Three (or maybe two, we have a potential adopter looking at them this weekend!) are still available. My aunt is fostering and socializing them right now because she’s the best person in the world. She’s been taking beautiful photos of my little cat models. AREN’T THEY GREAT?!