on hearing women

Required reading before continuing.

I had a remarkably similar experience to Rachel’s. Actually, maybe it isn’t that remarkable. I’d guess that hundreds of women read that article and thought, me too.

On a Thursday in the spring of 2011, I spent the day experiencing a pain that was constant but bearable. I thought it might be pre-menstrual cramps or a pulled muscle. By the evening, it was no longer bearable and I asked my roommate to take me to an urgent care. She looked at me, doubled over in pain, and said we needed to go to the ER, not urgent care.

I’d been to the ER once when I was 10, when I broke my arm in a soccer game. Actually, I had broken it the day before. Maybe I have an extremely high pain tolerance. Maybe by 10 I was already used to downplaying my pain.

We got to the ER, where I struggled to fill out paperwork and told them my pain was a 10. Like in Rachel’s story, they assumed it was kidney stones.

I vomited on the floor of the ER because the pain was so intense.

They put me in a separate small room because I kept crying out in pain, then was told by a male nurse that the noises I was making would not help the type of pain I was experiencing.

I thought I was dying. I asked friends to pray for me because that seemed the only path to being healed while I waited for a doctor.

Five hours later, I was finally admitted. I went through the same spiel I gave to ER nurses – how the pain had progressed, where it was focused, what it felt like (a knife stabbing my insides then being twisted through my organs).

They gave me morphine. It didn’t help. They gave me Dilaudid. The pain dulled slightly. Like Rachel, it mostly just made me sleepy. I drank something that tasted awful and they did a CT scan. They found that I had a cyst that had overtaken my ovary. Luckily for me, it wasn’t wrapped around the fallopian tube like Rachel’s. The doctor told me that a cyst pushing on an ovary can cause some pain, especially right before your period starts. I told him it wasn’t just “some pain.” My cyst measured 6-7 centimeters, nearly triple the size of my ovary.

An appointment was set up for me with an OB/GYN who promptly put me on a birth control pill, saying it would help. I didn’t know then that the pill can’t do anything for an existing cyst. The OB/GYN didn’t recommend any other course of treatment.

Thankfully, my primary care physician recommended a different OB/GYN to me. My new doctor went over my scans with me again. We met in her office, not in the cold setting of an exam room. She told me that I could go off the pill if I wanted, that it wasn’t going to help. She told me there was no reason to leave a cyst of this size in my uterus. She told me I might lose my ovary. She told me it was up to me if I wanted the surgery, but that she recommend it. She gave me time to process and ask questions.

About a year after my trip to the ER, I had laparoscopic surgery to remove the cyst. My doctor tried to separate the cyst from my ovary, but it was too entangled. Like Rachel, I lost my ovary.

Later, my doctor showed me the images they had taken of the inside of my uterus. She pointed out the cyst and compared its size to my other ovary. She showed me a second image with a void where my cyst-engulfed ovary had been.

I have three small scars, undetectable to anyone but me. But there is a sisterhood of women who share my scars.

rank city: ramen edition | Tensuke 3/20/16

candyThe second stop in rank city: ramen edition was Tensuke Market for some Palm Sunday ramen. Tensuke might be one of my favorite places in Columbus. It’s an authentic Japanese market full of inexpensive produce, sushi-grade fish, 20 lb bags of rice, and racks and racks of weird candy. It also has a dining area where you can get sushi, soups, and other fast Japanese foods.

What we ordered: Steamed pork dumplings, karaage, tonkatsu ramen with pork tenderloin, miso ramen with spicy kimchi pork

Appetizer: The appetizers are not the main appeal at Tensuke, but I have no restraint when it comes to dumplings. The gyoza had a nice filling of pork and spices, but were a bit underwhelming. Same goes for the karaage. They weren’t as light and crispy as Meshikou’s, but still offered a nice start to the meal. For both appetizers, we mixed up our own dipping sauces. This is a pretty key part of dining at Tensuke; you get/need to mix up your own concoction of soy sauce, chili oil, sriracha, and whatever else is available to add to your meal. Score: 3IMG_0384


Broth: Tensuke has a pretty big variety of choices for broth and protein, but I felt I had to go with the tonkatsu broth for authenticity’s sake. Sadly, it was a pretty plain backbone for my ramen, and needed to be dressed up with the aforementioned Japanese condiments. But, the miso/kimchi combination needed no dressing up. I was surprised by the layers of flavor present in the miso broth, and the kimchi kicked up the spice level perfectly. Score: We scored the tonkatsu a 3 and the spicy kimchi a 4, for an average of 3.5

Protein: Because Tensuke is designed to be a fast dining experience, I don’t think they’re as concerned with sending out perfectly executed 6 minute eggs. However, nothing is sadder than an overcooked egg, and I’m tearing up just thinking about that solid yolk. While the pork tenderloin was not as memorable, the spicy pork in our miso ramen was very flavorful and a nice addition to the bowl. Score: 3IMG_0383

Noodles: Quantity over quality may be the case for Tensuke’s noodles. They are undoubtedly better than your average Top Ramen noodles, but didn’t quite reach that chewy noodle nirvana. There did, however, seem to be a never ending supply coming from my bowl. Score: 3.5


My proudest dining moment.

Environment/Service: I’ve never been to Japan, but I would guess Tensuke feels the most authentic of all the Columbus Japanese restaurants. You order and pick up your food at the counter, but the service is fast and friendly. It’s typically a bustling place, with shoppers and families with little kids all waiting for their turn at a table. But there is no edging out other diners with side eye or loud harrumphing. We went on a busy Sunday afternoon and were happy to wander the aisles of the grocery side while we waited for a table. Score: 4.5

Affordability: Two appetizers and two bowls of ramen came to $24.56. Almost felt like stealing. Score: 4.5

Overall thoughts: I love Tensuke, so it was hard to give middling scores in many of the categories. It’s designed to be a fast, casual dining experience but not in the Chipotle way. Their food and products are very good, but finesse is not the name of their game. While it won’t satisfy any fine dining desires, Tensuke is a particularly great lunch spot with excellent prices and generous portions.

Total score: 22, plus 1 bonus point for being featured on Morning Edition and another for how fun it is to say “Tensuke.” 24.

music mondays: songs of late

GUYS, IT’S 8PM AND NOT PITCH BLACK OUT. Let’s just rejoice in that quickly before moving on.

So I haven’t written in awhile, mostly because I moved recently and have been getting settled. But also because I wasn’t listening to anything I was overly excited about. But it’s time to get back into the swing of it, so here we go.

I’ve been listening to two albums on repeat lately. The first is Beck’s Morning Phase. I’ve always liked Beck, but never gave him a ton of attention in the past. That said, when an artist puts out an album after a significant period without one, I’m interested. (I know Beck released the sheet music in 2012, but that’s not a full studio album.) So I listened and liked it immediately.

It had been 6 years since Beck released his last album, Modern Guilt. During the hiatus, he had a serious back injury that prohibited him from playing guitar. Morning Phase isn’t a masterpiece 6 years in the making, or an epic redefining of an artist. But, it’s a really good, solid album.

By far, my favorite track is “Blue Moon”. The selfish, snobby part of me doesn’t want to admit that the first single from this album is my favorite, but it just is. I love when a song can trick you like “Blue Moon” does. If I’d listened to an instrumental version initially, I wouldn’t expect the sad, lonely lyrics. But it turns out to be a rather melancholy song. This balancing act of light, easy sounds with somber lyrics hooked me. Not to mention I’ll never say no to a steel guitar. Here’s the track:

The second album I’ve been listening to on repeat is Agnes Obel’s Aventine. This album came out in September, so I’m late to it, but just happy not to miss it. Obel is a Danish musician who makes beautiful music. “Dorian” is a lovely, haunting song, and my favorite track. Here’s a live version for you:

I don’t know if it’s just the Danish connection, but as I listen to this album I keep thinking she should do the score/soundtrack for a Lars von Trier film. Can’t you just picture his stirring storytelling accompanied by her looming sound?


I have at least five draft posts right now, but I’m currently ignoring them all so I can put down some thoughts on today.

I’m a Christian. I believe in Jesus, the Trinity, and the Bible. I also believe in human rights.

Today, SCOTUS made a ruling on DOMA that “same-sex couples who marry in states where it’s legal for them to do so will be treated the same as heterosexual married couples by the federal government when it comes to things like retirement benefits and taxes” (CNN).

SCOTUS also ruled on California’s Prop 8, “The Supreme Court has dismissed an appeal over same-sex marriage on jurisdictional grounds, ruling Wednesday private parties do not have “standing” to defend California’s voter-approved ballot measure barring gay and lesbian couples from state-sanctioned wedlock” (CNN).

I’m working from home today, so have been able to watch some of the footage on TV. Hearing Edie Windsor and the couples who were plaintiffs in the Prop 8 case (especially this clip) talk about the cases and the real effects on their lives was incredible and inspiring. Honestly, I kept tearing up. Certainly there is still a long road ahead for same-sex marriage in America, but what a good day it is.

Trying to reconcile my belief in Christianity with a natural inclination to support gay marriage has been hard. Homosexuality and gay marriage is harped on too much in the Christian world, in my opinion. (Sidebar: I think my church does a pretty good job of talking about being gay and being a Christian. Maybe I’m biased, or maybe that’s part of why I go there.) I think that repeated preaching disrupts our ability to talk about it fairly and reasonably. If all we hear is BAD BAD BAD and WRONG WRONG WRONG, we forget both that there is a mystery surrounding the gospel story and our belief in God’s control.

I have friends who are gay and aren’t Christians. I have Christian friends who had same-sex attractions in the past and are now married in straight relationships. I took all of this into account as I’ve formed my opinion on same-sex marriage.

I stated some beliefs at the beginning of this post. I also believe in the separation of church and state. So in regard to gay marriage, I don’t believe the church (or other religious institutions) should have to marry gay couples. But, I do believe the state should, and that the federal government should acknowledge these marriages.

Letting people in love get married isn’t going to undo what Jesus has done.

mondays, NPR, and nostalgia.

Act I. I love Mondays. I used to love them because I worked Sundays and took off Mondays. I christened them “Domestic Mondays” because I typically bought groceries, ran errands, and baked some kind of treat. It was the best. I’d trade a weekday for my Sunday again. In my new job, I love Mondays for a different reason. Well, a few reasons: This American Life, Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!, and grilled cheese night at Bodega. Happy hour is so much happier when you’re leaving the suburbs and highways to return to the city.

Instead of having the baked treat I used to make on Mondays, I get a brain treat while listening to the previous weekend’s This American Life and Wait…Wait. (Wow, that was nerdy.) In my job, there isn’t a lot of human interaction. Not to mention most of my coworkers are twice my age, so it’s a little awkward to initiate conversation with, “So… how’s your kid doing?” (Sidebar: Today I got to hear about my coworkers having “the talk” with their kids. Yikes.) So on Monday mornings I can’t wait to put on my headphones and hear Ira Glass welcome me to today’s program. Then later when I move on to Peter and Carl on Wait…Wait, I usually end up doing that shoulders-shaking, looks-like-you’re-hyperventilating-in your-cube-but-really-you’re-just-trying-not-to-laugh-out-loud thing, because we all agree it would be weird if I laughed out loud in my cube.

Act II. As you can see, I also love NPR. I battle with being lumped in to the “Did you hear that thing on NPR today?” crowd, but, I am that crowd. And it’s more than staying current on the news or latest indie band. I love to sit on my bed Saturday mornings with my bowl of cereal, listening to Weekend Edition and then Car Talk. There’s something safe about it, these voices that have been familiar for so long. It reminds me of Saturday mornings as a kid, sitting in the kitchen while my mom made breakfast and NPR played in the background. Or driving to soccer matches with my dad, whining the whole way about listening to talk radio. And maybe that’s the way the rest of my generation feels, and why we love NPR.

Act III. I wouldn’t say I love nostalgia. But I would say I’m nostalgic. Introversion and a contemplative nature seem to breed nostalgia, so it only makes sense I guess. And with that, it’s only fitting that I’m going to prom this weekend. That’s right, prom.

More on nostalgia later.

In the meantime, please watch this short film from the live show of This American Life.

And read this book.

And listen to this song.