Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Things I accomplished this year

When you're a slacker like me, it's important to celebrate small accomplishments, even if they're not really accomplishments at all, but things that you managed not to screw up royally.

So, in honor of the last day of 2008, here's a list of things that I accomplished this year, in the loosest sense of the word:

1. Started this blog. (Which made me less productive in every other area of my life, but oh well.)
2. Celebrated my two year wedding anniversary. (Not that it's hard to be married to Mr. Darling, but you know what I mean.)
3. Turned 26. (This really just means that I managed not to die.)
4. Kept my job for a third year. (Yay for income!)
5. Earned $12.11 on Google AdSense. (Of course, they don't actually give you the money until you reach $100, but still...)
6. Kept my cats and various plants alive. (Hey, this is harder than it sounds! The cats like to eat the plants, so there's a good chance that the cats will kill the plants or that eating too many plants will kill the cats, and yet they're all still alive. Be proud of me!)
7. Didn't smoke a single cigarette... for the 26th year in a row. (A new personal record!)
8. Wrote a Christmas letter to send to friends and family. (Minor detail - we never actually mailed out any copies of the Christmas letter, because we couldn't decide on some changes that we wanted to make, and by the time we got a chance to sit down and look at the letter, Christmas was over. Next year's goal - write AND send a Christmas letter.)
9. Did not yell at or say a single mean thing to my mother-in-law. (Which brings me to number 10....)
10. Managed to go a whole year without ever having to speak to my mother-in-law.
11. Accessorized various outfits quite stylishly. (I consider looking nice an accomplishment.)
12. Got my hair trimmed more than twice. (I'm really lazy about getting haircuts. I have long hair, so it's easy to skip a trim here and there.)
13. Read a lot of books. (Some of which were actually good!)
14. Never ran out of gas while driving. (Unlike last year.)

See how easy it is to pretend you had a productive year when you count living and inhaling clean air as accomplishments? So what did you do this year that you're proud of?

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Tova's Totally Awkward Tuesdays

And now it's time for the second round of Tova's Totally Awkward Tuesdays!

Here's how it works - post a Totally Awkward story on your blog. Then, leave a comment telling me you've participated, and also link to my blog from yours, and I'll include a link to your blog in my post - that way, we can all cringe/laugh/die of shame together! Your awkward story can be anything - something awkward you saw, you did, or you were unwittingly a part of.

Here's mine:

My senior year of college, I lived in an apartment with three other girls (I'll call them Good Roommate 1, or GR1, Good Roommate 2, or GR2, and Randomly Awkward Roommate, or RAR). Three of us got along amazingly, but the fourth girl (Randomly Awkward Roommate) somehow didn't seem to fit in. (Which was odd, because we'd all been friends with her before we lived together.) Whenever the other three of us would go somewhere, RAR wouldn't want to come. If the three of us wanted to eat lunch together, RAR wasn't hungry. She and I especially seemed to bicker a lot, and there were a few uncomfortable moments in our apartment.

After graduation, the other two roommates and I remained really close friends, but RAR basically stopped talking to us. So we were surprised when she invited us all to a bonfire at her house. One of the roomies (GR2) had just had a baby, so she couldn't come, but the other roommate (GR1) and I decided we should go, as we'd always given RAR a hard time in college for not doing anything with us.

So GR1, her boyfriend and I show up to RAR's house, and we immediately realize that A- we don't know anyone there but each other and RAR, and B- we are a good five to six years older than all of the other guests, who were all still in high school. Also, nobody at the bonfire actually knew how to make a bonfire, so GR1's boyfriend somehow ended up having to spend all evening building, lighting, and tending to the fire.

The thing that made takes this story from vaguely uncomfortable to Totally Awkward is the fact that RAR had neglected to tell us that she wasn't just inviting us to a bonfire... she was inviting us to her birthday party. And every other guest in attendance knew it was a birthday party, except us. So, they all brought gifts, GR1 and her boyfriend brought nothing, and most awkwardly of all, I brought her an invitation to my own bridal shower. And not just any invitation, but an invitation that looked like a gift.

See, one of my bridesmaids had handmade all of my shower invitations, and I hadn't been able to get RAR's address in time to mail her an invitation, so I said I'd just hand deliver it. So, I'm at a birthday party that I don't yet know is a birthday party, and I hand this* to the birthday girl:
*Not my actual invitation, but pretty dang close.

And she says "Awww! Thanks, you shouldn't have!" And I say, "Huh? I didn't... Wait, um... no. It's... um..."

And that's how we found out that it was a birthday party. Awkward, yes? Later, everyone went inside for cake and presents, and we took that opportunity to leave very quickly. Two and a half years later, I've still never heard from her again.

Ok, now it's your turn! Share your Totally Awkward moment on your own blog, then link back here for Totally Awkward Tuesday.

Then, check out the other Totally Awkward bloggers...

Moi at Going Overboard
PJ at It is what it is...
Chloie at Orchestrated Destiny
Braja at Lost and Found in India
Angie at Psycho Hairapy
Julie at Weekly Jules
Morgan the (almost) Muse at Insert Clever Name Here
A. at Snarky Much?
Kelly at And that's how I choose to remember it
Cora at Love Letters by Cora
Legal Diva at The Reasonable Person

Monday, December 29, 2008

Why is Tova ticked off today?

That's a good question, thanks for asking. I'm ticked off because I just learned the following tidbit of information from one of my coworkers:

There's this company that every Christmas sends boxes of chocolates to our office. One or two for general consumption, and then some boxes specifically for individual members of the staff with whom they've dealt directly. At a conference this year, I met one of their senior staff members (let's be honest - he hit on me and bought me a drink), and since then I hear from him maybe once a month or so (don't worry, he knows I'm married and that I intend to stay that way.) So, apparently, when Christmas rolled around, the boxes of chocolate showed up... a few for the office to share, one each for some of our senior staff members, and one for little old me. But did I get that box of chocolates? No. No I did not. Why? Because the head honcho decided that it wasn't fair that I got one when most of the other "little people" did not. So he took my name off of it and left it in the break room for everyone. Um, hello??? Since when does "fairness" mean that you can steal somebody's Christmas gift?? I totally would've shared it anyway (Mr. Darling and I already have chocolate out the wazoo at home), but it's the principle of the thing. It had MY name on it! I got it because I engaged in interesting conversation with a company employee when I would've preferred to sleep because I'd only had 4 hours of sleep the night before! And it was stolen!!! Argh!! I get paid crap here anyway, at the very least, my employers could refrain from stealing my Christmas presents.

Thank you for tuning in for today's episode of "Why is Tova ticked off today?" Please be sure to join us again next time.

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Book of Tova

Mr. Darling and I recently had the following conversation (which is totally paraphrased, because I'm not some creeper who secretly records all of my conversations):

Mr. Darling: "So when are you going to write a book?"
Me: "Huh?"
Mr. Darling: "You're a really good writer, and you love to write, so you should write a book."
Me: "I dunno. I'd probably get bored halfway through and then stop."
Mr. Darling: "What are you talking about? You love to write!"
Me: "I know, but that's only because I don't have to write. If I felt like I had to, it would be too much pressure, and I'd stop."
Mr. Darling: "But you wouldn't have to. You could do it at your own pace. You could take years if you wanted to. There would be no pressure."
Me: "Well, I have nothing to write about."
Mr. Darling: "You write in your blog all the time."
Me: "Yeah, but that's different. My blog wouldn't make a good book. It would be like a book of short essays, and nobody wants to read a book of essays by a person they've never heard of."
Mr. Darling: "So, write a novel."
Me: "I'm not sure whether or not fiction's my thing. Really, I just want to be a famous blogger."

Is that too much to ask? That's not a rhetorical question. I want to know, honestly, how one goes about becoming famous at blogging. Because that's what I'd like to do. And since I'm still $89 away from getting a check from Google AdSense (why no one is clicking on the links for information on stripper poles is beyond me), that's obviously not the way to go.

Truthfully, I don't expect to make money from blogging. I just want people to read my blog. And thanks to all of you gorgeous and interesting people, I've reached over 100 subscribers! And that means that I'm kind of famous to about 100 people, right? RIGHT?? (Just say yes; it'll make me happy.) So thanks for fueling my fantasy of being a well-known blogger. When Regis & Kelly interview me someday and ask me what my secret is to being read by literally dozens of people and earning $11 on Google AdSense, I will publicly thank all 104 of you by name.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Making room in the inn

On Sunday, an adorable little girl in my Sunday School group approached me with the kind of excitement that can only be fully expressed by a four year old. Her eyes were bright and her smile was gigantic as she said to me, "Guess who's having a birthday!!" I leaned over, looked into her sparkling eyes, and asked, "Who?"

"Jesus!!" she replied enthusiastically. "It's almost Jesus' birthday!!"

At the end of Christmas day, when the floor is littered with wrapping paper, a few toys have inevitably already been broken, and everybody's so full of Christmas cookies that they can hardly move, it might occur to some people that somewhere along the way, we got off course when it comes to the meaning of Christmas. As Michael Scott said on The Office, "Happy birthday, Jesus - sorry your party's so lame."

Sometimes, it's easy to forget - with all of the tinsel, and lights, and bells, and Santa, and ornaments, and stockings, and gifts, and ridiculous songs - that Christmas started out with a tiny baby who was born in a barn, surrounded by hay and flies and cow manure because the local inn was full. Then, like now, there wasn't room for him in any of the places of honor. And now, like on the day he was born, we sometimes push him out of sight - his birthday having been overtaken by things that are a little more exciting, a bit flashier and more polished, and with a tad more pizazz than celebrating a Jewish baby being born in a feed trough.

Don't get me wrong - I decorate and exchange gifts with the best of them. But perhaps the lesson I need to remember is about making room.

The whole "making room" thing is a part of Christmas that my parents have always, always done right. Yes, they read the Christmas story, and pray, and talk about Jesus on Christmas, but they've also shown the spirit of "making room" on Christmas in a much more tangible way. For as long as I can remember, any time someone didn't have anywhere to go on Christmas, my parents would invite them to our house on Christmas day. An old grocery store coworker of mine with no family in the area, a foreign exchange student, a recently divorced uncle, a childless widow from our church. On Christmas, these people were brought into our home and treated like family. My parents would have gotten them a gift or two, and they'd be urged to take seconds and thirds at Christmas dinner. They'd join in on games with our family, and when they left, they'd be sent home with enough leftovers to last for a week.

I have to be honest when I say that I haven't always appreciated this about my parents. One particular guest - who came for five or six years in a row - didn't smell very good, and I sometimes resented sharing Christmas with people who weren't family. But it occurs to me that Mary and Joseph, a young man and his extremely pregnant wife who had been riding over long dusty roads on a donkey, probably didn't smell fantastic, either. And why should the innkeeper have made room for these two, when he could have an inn full of people he knew and liked? People who weren't going to give birth on one of his nice beds?

Commercials and Christmas cards and carols tell us that Christmas is a time for family and friends. For spending time with the people you love. But maybe that's not the point. Maybe the point is to celebrate Christmas by doing for other "outcasts" what nobody did for Jesus, Mary, and Joseph all those years ago - make room for them and welcome them in; feed them and warm them and love them; treat the people with no one to love or care for them in the same way that we'd treat the people we love the most. Maybe Christmas is our opportunity to make up for the inn with no occupancy, for the stable, for the hay-filled trough. Maybe Christmas is our chance to give Jesus a soft bed, a warm house, and a room full of loving people to herald his arrival into the world. Maybe we do this for him when we do it for others.

"I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me." Matthew 25:40

Next week (or whenever I've recovered from eating too many cookies), I'll go back to my normal random posts. In the meantime, I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and a very happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Tova's Totally Awkward Tuesdays

For a while now, I've been wanting to do a bloggy-theme-day type thing. You know what I'm talking about - Wordless Wednesdays, Thousand Word Thursdays - you get the idea.

So I've been racking my brain trying to think of a good daily theme, but nothing came to me. And then I thought "Tova, just go with what you know." And it occurred to me that I seem to find myself in a disproportionately high number of awkward situations. Remember when I somehow got tricked into Christmas Caroling at the surprise birthday party for a person I didn't know? And when my friend barfed on my leg? And the time when my coworker learned that I have a stripper pole in my living room? And when I spilled two different beverages on myself during one day of work? Yep, nobody does awkward quite like I do.

So, here's how it's going to work. Every Tuesday (or whenever you find yourself without anything else to post on a Tuesday), all of my readers (and even people who don't read my blog - I won't discriminate) can post a Totally Awkward story on their blogs. Then, leave a comment telling me you've participated, and also link to my blog from yours, and I'll include a link to your blog in my post - that way, we can all cringe/laugh /die of shame together!

Your awkward story can be anything - something awkward you saw, you did, or you were unwittingly a part of; the most awkward moment of your week or the most awkward moment of your life. If this doesn't work out, it's ok with me. I'll just change the name to Tova's Totally Nonexistent Tuesdays.

I'll start...

In college, I typically went to my morning classes wearing sweat pants and pajamas. But for my very first morning class of my very last semester, I decided that I should celebrate by dressing in a cute outfit. After all, I'd never again have a first day of the semester, and I wanted to do it right. I picked out a short denim skirt, a new sweater, and a fabulous new pair of boots, straightened my hair, and headed off to class.

So, here I am walking to my first class on my first day of my last semester of school ever. Followed by two of my male classmates, I confidently and quickly walk down the stairs to begin my final semester, and...

I fall down the stairs.

Really hard.

And slide, on my butt, down at least 8 stairs.

In a very short skirt.

Of course, one of the guys following me offered to "brush off" the back of my skirt for me. And then I learned that both of the guys who saw my graceful descent were in my class. Which was a senior seminar with only five people in the class.

For the rest of the semester, I wore sweatpants or jeans. They're much safer.

Ok, now that I've relived my humiliation, it's your turn! Share your Totally Awkward moment on your own blog, then link back here for the inaugural Totally Awkward Tuesday.

Then, check out the other Totally Awkward bloggers:
Adriana at From KS to PA
Legal Diva at The Reasonable Person
Moi at Going Overboard
Cora at Love Letters By Cora
Randy at PsychoHAIRapy

Monday, December 22, 2008

I wanna grow old with you

Blame it on the fact that I'm listening to love songs, blame it on the fact that I'm sitting at my desk where I have two framed pictures of Mr. Darling in all of his darling-ness, but I'm in the mood to compile a list of reasons that I love Mr. Darling. Here goes:
  1. He makes me laugh. Loudly. Uncontrollably. (And occasionally at inappropriate times.) He once made me laugh so hard that I fell off the couch. He's really good at doing impressions of various cartoon characters, and he will do them every time I ask, even if I ask 20 times in a row.
  2. When we buy Sourpatch Kids, Mr. Darling eats all of the orange ones. It sounds insignificant, but it's not. I hate anything that is orange flavored, so Mr. Darling picks them out, one by one, and then leaves all of the delicious flavors for me.
  3. He massages my feet. Even though I ask him to do it all the time. 95% of the times I ask, he massages them. (Once, when he said no, I managed to sneak my foot into his hand when he wasn't paying attention. He was so amazed by how slick I was that he massaged my foot after all.)
  4. He doesn't take me too seriously. Sometimes I can get a bit... moody. Not to blame it entirely on hormones, but... ok, it's always the fault of hormones. When I get moody and whiny, he makes me laugh, or he'll say "is my baby cranky today?" and then he'll give me a huge hug. That makes it hard to stay cranky.
  5. He's a freakin' genius. 'Nuff said.
  6. He's unbelievably motivated. I can't even begin to list all of the things Mr. Darling has done/is doing/plans to do, because if I did, if anyone who knows either of us read this, they would immediately know who we are. Seriously. Let me just say that being a med student is just the tip of the iceberg for Mr. D.
  7. He's easy to get along with and a genuinely good guy. Even if I wasn't madly in love with Mr. Darling (I am, obviously, but if I weren't...), I would still want to be his best friend. I love him a ton, but I also genuinely like and admire him.
  8. He has no idea how amazing he is. Nothing is worse than someone who is stuck on themselves (ok, some things are worse... leprosy, for example). Mr. Darling is attractive, he's intelligent, he's funny, he's accomplished, he's friendly, he's likable... and he can't quite understand why people are so impressed by him. One of my best friends has nicknamed Mr. Darling "Superman," and Mr. D really doesn't understand why. When I explained to him that he's spectacularly amazing, he said, "Oh. I guess I just don't really see myself that way." Of course you don't, Mr. D, and that just adds to your charm.

There are more reasons, of course, but I hear some of you gagging, so I'll wrap this up. I hope everyone's Christmas shopping is going well!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

So natural

Mr. Darling and I have been married for two fantastic years. Those of you who are married / hope to get married / have ever known married people know what that means. It means that we've heard the question "when are you two going to have kids?" approximately 734 times. Truthfully, the question doesn't bother me. Mr. Darling and I would love to have kids someday, but we want to wait until the end of Mr. D's residency, because Mr. D working 80 hours a week doesn't mesh all that well with the idea of us having a baby. Plus, let's be honest, I want some more "us" time where I can be selfish with Mr. D before I have to share him. I'm totally comfortable telling people that we're waiting for a few more years.

The weird thing to me is that, since I got married, every time I hold someone else's baby, someone will say to me "You look so natural holding a baby!" That just seems like such a strange thing to say. So, my questions are:

1. Did I look unnatural every time I held a baby before I tied the knot? Were people thinking to themselves, "Gosh, Tova just looks so unnatural holding that baby. I hope she doesn't drop it."?

and 2. How exactly does one look unnatural while holding a baby?

Well, like that, obviously. But still, when most people hold a baby, they look pretty natural unless they're swinging the baby by its foot or something. Also, I think I look reasonably natural holding a number of things, including my cats, food, and the remote control, but I have no desire to ever give birth to any of those things. Maybe I'm just the kind of person who looks natural in any number of situations.

(If anyone out there is trying to guess my secret identity, this is your clue - if you see a 20-something woman with dark hair, ask her to hold a baby, or if you don't have a baby handy, a cat. If she looks really natural, it's probably me.)

However, unfortunately for my parents (who are jonesin' for another grandchild) and for the babies that I will someday hold quite naturally, the baby thing is going to have to wait. Because correct me if I'm wrong, but I think there might be a bit more to being a mom than looking natural while holding a tiny human.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Our First Christmas

I thought that for today's Christmas in Bloggyland Tour, I would share pictures from mine and Mr. Darling's first Christmas as husband and wife! As I've mentioned before, we celebrated our first married Christmas on our honeymoon. As a surprise for Mr. Darling, I had packed a tiny Christmas tree, a little light-up star, and some of our brand new ornaments in my suitcase, so on Christmas Eve, I had Mr. D leave the room while I unpacked the tree and set it up. Then, he came back into the room, and we decorated our first Christmas tree. Here's the end result: On Christmas morning, we woke to the sound of the Caribbean resort's staff caroling to all of the rooms (this was actually slightly less cute than it sounds. For some reason, they decided to go caroling at 6:30am. I am not a morning person, so my first reaction was "What the heck is going on? Why won't those people stop singing?") When we woke up for real, we brought our Christmas tree and stockings out onto our patio:

Where we ate breakfast and exchanged gifts while enjoying this view: Without planning it, we had both gotten each other Christmas ornaments, which we added to the tree. I gave him a doctor ornament, and he gave me a little teddy bear ornament from Victoria's Secret that says "Sexy Little Bear" on its tummy. When we were done with our breakfast, Santa Claus arrived by motorboat. (No, seriously. He almost fell into the ocean when he was getting out of the dock. That would've made for some fantastic Christmas pictures!) After we got pictures with Santa, we bought souvenirs from a guy paddling around on a surf board, went water skiing, swam, took a nap, did various other honeymoon-appropriate things, and then had Christmas dinner at an Italian restaurant.

Overall, it was the most perfect Christmas I've ever had! Frankly, I think it might be impossible for us to top it, but that's ok. It makes for some fantastic honeymoon/Christmas memories.

So, I'd love to hear about your best Christmas ever. Either leave it as a comment here or post about it on your blog and then leave me a comment so I know to come read about it. I love Christmas stories!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Pet peeves

Random Pet Peeves, for no particular reason:

1. Return Receipts on emails when used as a manipulation technique. Sure, they're great if you want to make sure that your professor received your final paper or your boss has read your status report, but they're incredibly annoying when people use them to harass you, as in "I see that you read my email 10 minutes ago. Why have you not responded to my long and detailed question, the answer to which I am too lazy to research for myself?"

2. When people can't quite grasp the concept of personal space.

3. Drivers who go five miles below the speed limit in the left lane. It's called the passing lane for a reason, buddy.

4. Bad grammar.

5. PeEpLez wHo tYPe lyKe dIs bEcUZ tHaY lYkE 2 buTcHeR DA eNGlIsh lAnGuAge.

6. People who interrupt a lot. Here's how polite conversation works: First, you say something. When you're finished, I say something back. After I've stopped talking, you respond. Serial interrupters are welcome to write that information on their hands for future reference.

7. When a book's back cover or book jacket gives away a part of the story. For example, on the back cover of the book I am currently reading, it says that the daughter of one of the main characters is "involved with a young priest." I am currently on page 250 of the book, and so far the daughter is kind of weirded out by the young priest and tries to avoid him. But thanks to the back of the book, I know that they're going to become "involved," and it annoys me that I already know that. Stupid spoiler book cover.

Add your own to the list - it's fun to complain about things that you cannot, realistically, do anything about!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Subway, eat fresh... and be mocked

Dear Subway Employee,

I realize that many people do not like tuna. I also realize that many people do not like mustard, and that some people are not fond of pickles. That does not mean that it is either polite or appropriate for you to express disgust over the sub I just ordered. Do I make fun of you because you are wearing a stupid hat? No. No I do not. So, shut up and give me my sub.

Thanks a bunch,

Ok, not that I've gotten my letter-writing out of the way...

I will be participating in the Christmas in Bloggyland Tour on December 15! Wanna participate? Sure you do! So go here, read all about it, and then sign up! Then, on Monday, share your fabulous Christmas stories/ recipes/ pictures/ nightmares/ whatever else you can think of. Then you can come back here and read about mine and Mr. Darling's first Christmas as husband and wife (Audience: "Awwww!"), or maybe I'll share pictures of some sort or another. Or perhaps I'll forget all about it until 11:59 PM and then in a moment of desperation, post a picture of my cat eating wrapping paper. Who knows?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Here we come a wassailing

My time in and around the zombie hospital while visiting my possible future-home-for-at-least-three-years was really interesting. Now we just wait until March to find out where we'll be going. One of these days, I'll explain the whole match process to those of you lucky enough not to have to go through it. Also, I packed up the Christmas ornaments but didn't mail them because I couldn't find a post office. So, Mr. Darling will mail them for me.

Ok, so...

Saturday night, here's what happened: Mr. Darling (soon to be Dr. Darling) has a cousin who lives about an hour away from the city we're currently in. So, we decided to hang out with him. Here's how the conversation went -

Mr. Darling: "Do you want to get together tonight?"
Mr. Darling's cousin: "Yes! I'm going Christmas caroling tonight. Do you want to come?"
Mr. Darling: "Absolutely not. We can hang out after you're done, though."

The caroling was supposed to start at 5:00ish, so Mr. D and I decided to leave to visit his cousin at 6:30, thereby ensuring that we would miss the caroling. We were supposed to call his cousin when we were 15 minutes outside of the city to get an address for where we should meet him. So, Mr. D called, and when he got off the phone, he said, "We're meeting him at a nursing home. Some people he knows live there." We both laughed at how weird that was, when a realization suddenly hit me. "Mr. D!!" I exclaimed, "We're caroling!! He tricked us into caroling!" Sure enough, Mr. D called his cousin back and asked if we were caroling, and his cousin sheepishly replied that we might "sing a few songs." Then we discovered that Mr. D's cousin wouldn't even be AT the nursing home. We would hook up with some other people there (people we'd never met in our lives), and then they would take us to the next stop on the caroling extravaganza. Except that then, when we were almost at the nursing home, the people left. Without us. So then, we had to wait in a parking lot for Mr. D's cousin to show up.

From there, we went to a surprise birthday party for a man we did not know. (I guess that probably added to the surprise - "Surprise! Complete strangers are in your home, eating your cake and singing happy birthday to you awkwardly since they're not quite sure what name should come after the words 'Happy birthday, dear ___.'! ") Then, we sat in the living room with about 20 people, singing Christmas songs that were never, ever meant to be sung by a large, untrained group without a director ("Carol of the Bells," for example.) Many of the songs involved complicated melodies that no one really knows, which meant that I got the giggles and couldn't stop. And yes, I know that it's rude to laugh at a room full of strangers massacring Christmas songs. I couldn't help it. Adding to the fun was the fact that a woman kept showing Mr. Darling and me two photo albums full of pictures of statues. And trees.

Monday night was the pre-interview dinner, and frankly, it was fantastic. Per Adriana's advice, I made sure to talk: not so much that I was monopolizing the conversation, but enough to get to know everyone and, you know, slip in a few glowing recommendations of Mr. Darling. Actually, to tell you the truth, I didn't even have to try to slip them in - at one point, the resident I was sitting next to leaned over and said quietly to me "Mr. Darling is doing an excellent job during his rotation here. We're all really impressed by him. And he's such a nice guy. Everybody in the department likes him a lot." And I was like, "Yeah, I might be a little bit biased, but I like him a lot, too. He's the most motivated person I've ever met." And then I told him about the time that Mr. Darling saved a little girl's life by transplanting one of his own lungs into her right after scoring the winning touchdown in the Super Bowl. No, just kidding. He was never in the Super Bowl.

Tuesday was Mr. D's interview, and it went very, very well. Everybody likes him a lot (who wouldn't?), and his rotation is going extremely well, so the whole department has gotten to see Mr. D in action this month (he's flawlessly performed several procedures that some of the residents haven't even learned yet. That's because he's secretly Superman.) He has three or four more interviews this month and next (he did most of his interviews in November), but he's pretty much decided on the order in which he'll be ranking all of the programs, so now it's just time for us to sit and wait - Mr. D will be calm and collected while waiting because that's how he always is, and I'll be all nervous and excited. Wish us luck!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

In the hospital

I'm typing this from the residents' computer lounge in a really gigantic hospital while Mr. Darling naps. (The poor man worked until about 2 am even though he was supposed to be done at 11 pm.) Last night we slept in the hospital room that has been Mr. D's bachelor pad for the past few weeks. The tiny room has bunk beds, but if you think we slept on separate beds, you're mistaken. We shared the bottom bunk (a twin bed), and although I woke up once with Mr. D's elbow on my head and he claims that I kept hogging the bed and almost forcing him onto the floor, we plan to share again tonight. Having space is overrated. I haven't gotten to share a bed with Mr. D for the past few weeks, so I am not passing this chance up.

It was interesting spending the night in a hospital. We're sleeping in an older section, and the entire floor we're on has been converted to dorm rooms for students and residents, but Mr. D and I are the only ones on the floor this weekend. The hall kind of looks like the setting for a hospital horror movie. It's long and dark with corners that could potentially hide zombies. Last night after Mr. D came back, I spent a good ten minutes sprinting down the tile hallway in my socks and then sliding as far as I could (kind of like Tom Cruise at the beginning of this clip from Risky Business - except that I'm a female... and I was wearing pants. Also, try to picture a more zombie-friendly hallway.) This morning I was awakened by a woman making an announcement over the hospital loudspeaker. All-in-all, it was a restful night.

This particular hospital is one of Mr D's top choices for residency programs, so we spent some time today exploring the area to see if it lives up to Tova's Very High Standards for Places She is Willing to Live* (see footnote). So far, so good. We also stopped by Sam's Club to eat some free samples and quietly make fun of a woman with a ridiculous mullet. Tomorrow, Mr. D works for eight hours, so my big plans include sleeping in, checking out a local church, and maybe some more zombie-hallway sliding. I'll keep you posted.

*Tova's Very High Standards for Places She is Willing to Live
1. Mr. Darling must be there.
2. No farm animals next door.
3. Must be a Starbucks within 5 miles.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

I love, love, love Christmas. I mean, perhaps a little bit more than is healthy. I am incapable of going anywhere that sells Christmas ornaments without buying one or two... or fifteen. Really, all anyone would have to do in order to convince me to buy random overpriced knickknacks or gadgets is attach a hook to it and call it an ornament. Do I need another can opener? Nope. Would I buy a can-opener ornament to hang on my tree? Yes, please.

Mr. Darling and I got married during the Christmas season, so now I have this idea that I must own every ornament and every Christmas-related item ever made, because, "Awww! It's Christmasy like our wedding!!" Now, I not only associate Christmas with the birth of Jesus, family, and gifts, I also associate it with Mr. Darling, our wedding, love, weddings in general, and (let's be honest) myself in a long white dress being the center of attention. Also, for our first Christmas as husband and wife, we were on our honeymoon, so in my mind, Christmas is also associated with being pampered in the tropics while sipping exotic beverages.

Since we had a Christmas wedding, my genius bridesmaids came up with the brilliant idea of asking everyone to bring me a Christmas ornament for my wedding shower. So, not to brag or anything, I have the most amazing Christmas ornament collection known to man.

Here are some of my favorites:

A shrimp cocktail. Get it?

Dancing Santa & Mrs. Claus. Too cute!

Not my actual engagement ring.

There's a story behind this one: When Mr. Darling and I first started dating, we lived 900 miles apart. (We met when I was visiting some friends, one of whom happened to be Mr. D's roommate.) We managed the whole long-distance relationship thing for about five months before we both decided we couldn't take it anymore, so after Mr. D graduated from college, he moved halfway across the country to be close to me. When he moved to my city, I had several housewarming gifts waiting for him in his new apartment, including a vase with a beta fish in it and a lily growing out of the top. On the side of the vase, I had painted the words "To the only fish in my sea." (Just for clarification, that's a play on the phrase "There are plenty of fish in the sea," and not something dirty.) So, my college roommate gave me this ornament for my shower and included a note that said "Tova & Mr. Darling - the only fish in each other's sea."

I made this for extra credit in geometry class in 8th grade. You know you're amazed.

It's a spoon! (This is proof that I will, in fact, hang kitchen utensils on my tree.)

I just bought this one last month at this amazing little shop that sells antiques and art. I LOVE it!

As you may have guessed, we set up and decorated our Christmas tree over the Thanksgiving weekend. (When I say "we," I mean "mostly me." Mr. D is required only to hang up five ornaments, at which point he gets bored and does something productive.) Our wedding favors were Christmas ornaments with our name and wedding date on them, so we also have quite a few of those on our tree.
And now for the big reveal. Here's one of ornaments I will be sending to my contest winners!
(Ok, not this exact one. This one's mine, because obviously I couldn't buy these ornaments for other people and not get one for me.)
I will be sending these this weekend to my fabulous winners when I go to visit Mr. Darling. He's out of town on a rotation, so I'm visiting him and going to a pre-residency interview dinner with him. (I bought a fantastic dress for the interview, obviously.)
I will be staying in a hospital with Mr. Darling (for real!), so I probably will have no internet, but I'll keep you posted and let you know whether or not I spilled soup on anyone at the dinner. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Money for blogging

So, some of you might have noticed that I added the "AdSense" feature to my blog, and you might be wondering why. If you are, in fact, wondering why, you're obviously under the impression that my actions are determined by a sophisticated thought process. That's simply not true. Here was how the thought process went: "Free money? Woo hoo!"

Now before you all get too excited and jump on the free money bandwagon, I should probably be upfront with you and tell you that in the week since I joined, I've earned a penny. And, nobody ever even clicked on any links, so I think the penny I earned is a computer error and they'll be revoking it soon. Also, they don't send you any actual money until your account reaches $100, so by my calculations, I should be receiving a check in just over 192 years. Hurrah! That doesn't mean that the rest of you shouldn't add this feature, but it probably works better for people with thousands of readers. Readers who actually click on ads on websites. And frankly, I don't know any people who actually do that. Of course, it might help if the ads that show up on my blog weren't completely ridiculous. For example, the one that keeps showing up says "I got scammed 27 times." Really? Well, if you're that stupid, I don't want to do business with you.

If you haven't already done so, you should probably check out the picture of broccoli casserole that Sassy Britches posted on her blog especially for me! Be prepared to drool.

This post is obviously pointless, but I've got a Christmassy one planned for tomorrow, and also, I will be mailing the ornaments out to my contest winners this weekend when I go out of state to visit Mr. Darling on a rotation. So, pretend I just said something exciting and profound, and comment accordingly.

Monday, December 1, 2008


Don't worry all, I've not forgotten about tracking down the people who stole my husband's identity, but since I'm still awaiting several return phone calls (nothing like trying to follow up on identity theft the day before Thanksgiving), I'll post something totally frivolous and random about my Thanksgiving. This should give you some insight into what it's like to be related or married to me.

A week before Thanksgiving, I asked my mom if she'd like for me to make the broccoli casserole for Thanksgiving dinner. She said that she'd already bought all of the ingredients, but that if I'd rather make it instead, that would be great, and she'd just save the ingredients for another time.

The night before Thanksgiving, I was at my mom's house spending time with family when I remembered that I didn't have any mayonnaise for the casserole. When my brother-in-law had to run to the store, I asked him to pick up some mayo for me. Then, when I left my mom's house that night, I forgot the mayo. I got halfway home, realized I forgot it, and had to turn around and go back. (Luckily, I live 15 minutes away from my mom.)

Thanksgiving morning, I realized that I had no eggs for the casserole, so I asked Mr. Darling to run to the only open store to get eggs while I took a shower. After I jumped in the shower, Mr. D and I had this conversation:

Me (yelling from the shower): "Mr. D!! Mr. D!!!!!"
Mr. Darling (coming into the bathroom so we can talk like civilized human beings instead of shouting): "Yes?"
Me: "Can you pick up some cream of mushroom soup for the casserole, too?"
Mr. Darling: "Sure. Anything else?"
Me: "Nope, that's it." (Mr. D leaves bathroom.)
Me: "Mr. D!!!!!"
Mr. Darling (coming back into the bathroom): "What?"
Me: "Can you get shredded cheese, too? I forgot that we're out."
Mr. Darling: "Ok." (Starts to leave bathroom)
Me: "Wait!"
Mr. Darling: "What?"
Me: "Umm... can you check the freezer to see if we have any broccoli?"

Of course, we did not have any broccoli. In other words, the only ingredients I actually had for broccoli casserole were crackers to crumble on top and the mayo that my brother-in-law got for me the night before.

So, since some of you like to share recipes on here, I'll share my Thanksgiving Day recipe for broccoli casserole:

Tova Darling's Mom's Broccoli Casserole
1. Go to Tova's mom's house; she has all of the ingredients already. (Added bonus - she has already cooked the broccoli because you're running late.)
2. Use her casserole dishes and her oven to assemble and cook her ingredients according to her recipe.
3. Make your sister clean out the mixing bowls.
4. Graciously accept tons of compliments on your delicious casserole.
In my opinion, we don't devote nearly enough scientific research to finding a cure for jerks. ~ Calvin & Hobbes