Saturday, September 27, 2008

I didn't watch the debates last night. I should have, wonk that I am, but I was studying anatomy and furthermore I figure I'll catch the VP debates in the penthouse of the med school dorms (much more fun, considering the first one is being held here. We can have a drinking game:

every time Sarah Palin mentions her small-town roots, take a shot.
every time Iraq is mentioned (and Afghanistan--you know, that other war we're fighting?--is forgotten) take a shot.
every time Joe Biden gives that oily smile, take a shot (you know the man's spent some serious time and coinage in the tooth-whitening chair--I think he may even have taken the exit to Veneersville).
every time someone interrupts--wait, no, if we did that, everyone would have to be rushed to the ER with alcohol poisoning.
every time someone dodges responsibility--oh, wait, same thing.)

Anyway, I don't even really read mainstream US coverage of the race anymore; it's depressing and it pisses me off (I'm talking to you, Newsweek and Time. New York Times, you're not on my sh*t list at the moment, but watch it). I got my first look at the response to the debate this morning at www.spiegel.de, which will work for you if you read German (that degree's coming in handy!), or there's always the BBC.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Young Parents at the Hospital Entryway

The father clutched the baby to his chest,
running his broad hands
over the cornrows like a tiny crown:
Young parents, faces etched
with a fierce pride,
Eyes narrowed against all comers, but as well
Wide-eyed, bewildered by the dizzy fact
that something had gone wrong
with him, their jewel.

They seemed so fearful
He'd be snatched away--
and surely soon that would happen as well.
The young man looked so tender, and the woman was
distant, as if her cup of pain
had overflowed already and could not
hold more; as if she could not swallow
further hurt.
And the child himself--I heard his name
but I won't repeat it here,
Will not invade him
as I'm sure he has already been;
But he was beautiful,
a radiant ebony,
unaware of all his parents' fear,
Nestled in the sphere of their deep love.
-AG

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I went home to Kansas City last weekend, and I have to say it was nice to get out of Dodge for a while (though, ironically, Kansas City is actually much closer--geographically--to Dodge than where I'm currently residing). I needed to get away from ion channels and thoracoacromial arteries and patent ductus venosus and tyrosine kinases and carotid bruits and all the rest. I needed to be a person and not just a student for a while. This is an interesting trend, because in my undergrad days (before I took a year to be "a regular person") I would have felt little to no pull to do that--quite the opposite, in fact. So maybe that year did more to make me a 'well-rounded person' (rather than solely a person with a well-rounded head, which is to say an egghead) than I thought.

I went to the Greek festival with my parents, which is always kind of a big deal in KC, and especially among the Orthodox community (of which my 'rents are a part). I watched the little kids do their ethnic dances, ate some tiropita (cheese triangles) spanakopita (if you don't know what that is, I feel truly sorry for you--spinach, cheese and phyllo pastry), dolmades (grape leaves stuffed with rice and spices--and sometimes meat) and to top it all off: what else? Baklava. And of course some beer, because if there isn't alcohol of one kind or another it's not a Greek gathering. Interestingly, I've never had retsina, but I've heard so many people talk about getting sick from drinking it that even the mention of the word makes me feel a little queasy.

My parents also bought me a beautiful cross necklace (Celtic, oddly enough) at the church's bookstore--the whole thing is held at the big Greek church in KC. I've been wearing it, and when I need to remind myself that there's a place where I'm still just a person, without lists of things to memorize...I wrap my fingers around it.