Enough Already

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Dear Utah Winter,

You suck. The groundhog saw his shadow. We did our obligatory six more weeks of winter. Enough already. The first of day of spring has come and gone. Just as you should.

In case you're a little out of touch, April starts tomorrow. What better reason do you need to cut it out already? Most of the country has its act together. Now shape up.


Someone who has been stuck inside a tiny apartment with two rowdy boys and is completely out of indoor activity ideas and hates being cold in general


Dear International Astronomical Union (or who ever is in "charge" of the planets),

I just finished a project with my son about the solar system, and we decided to leave Pluto in. Yes, that's right. We decided to go against new thinking that Pluto is not a planet, but a micro-planet. Have you stopped to consider the implications (gasp!)? Are dwarves, and other "micro" people no longer people?

Honestly, I think your time would be better spent renaming Uranus.


A mom who hasn't told her kids that there are only 8 planets


Dear, dear box of Dove Tiramisu Dark Chocolate Promises,

First, I would just like to thank you for being indescribably delicious.

I think it's very cute that your wrappers have little sayings in them. "Be fearless." "Send a love letter this week."

But I think it would be more appropriate if I unwrapped a piece only to find, "If you don't stop eating this chocolate NOW, you'll hate yourself tomorrow."


A girl who needs a push in the right direction

The Kite Runner

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The book was better than the movie. That's what we always hear.

Well, I don't think I'll ever know. Because after reading the book, I'm not sure I ever want to see the movie.

Which was the original reason I read The Kite Runner. I saw the movie at the rental store. Read the back. Saw "based on the novel." Decided to read the book first.

Don't get me wrong. I'm glad I read The Kite Runner. I think.

It is "about" Afghanistan. And really, how much do we know about that country, its people and culture? Even with all the current events and our history with this country, we know so little about it. Most of us know more about Japan, China, Russia, and Australia than we do about any Middle East country.

The Kite Runner tells the tale of the friendship between two young boys, told in a style that spoke to me like fact. Woven through the story are themes of loyalty, betrayal, and guilt.

We are used to thinking of main characters as heroes. And heroes always do the right thing. But not Khaled Hosseini's hero.

Living with the guilt of betrayal, Amir, the book's main character, spends most of his life thinking about how things could have been different had he had done the right thing.

An amazing look at Afghan culture, The Kite Runner makes us wonder if there is ever a way to make up for past wrongs. Given the chance, can you really change things? Can you make amends for the sins of your past?

I've said before that a good book is one that you want to read over and over again. And the book loses nothing with repeat readings. This of course, is a working definition. The Kite Runner was an amazing book. But one full of graphic, heart-wrenching stories and details. It is too painful and emotional for me to want to read again.

And I don't think I'll ever choose to find out if the book was better than the movie.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

So, another Wednesday.

I didn't write about my diet last Wendesday. I had other thoughts on my mind and felt more like writing about those.

But, like always, I usually have two reasons (or more) for everything I do.

The other (and possibly real) reason I didn't write about my "diet" was, well, things weren't going well. I hadn't lost another measly pound. I was getting frustrated. The first 5 came off relatively easy, and then things just stopped.

I know that this can be completely normal during dieting. To reach plateaus where you don't loose weight for a while. And when this has happened in the past, I just give up. What's the point of giving up donuts, ice cream, and beef if you aren't loosing any weight. But I decided not to give up. After all, even if I'm not thinner, I'll still be healthier.

Hopefully, things are moving in the right direction.

I've lost 3 pounds so far this month. That's 8 altogether!

Okay, I know that's nothing to make commercials about, but still, I'm trying to be sensible about my dieting.

Everyone has seen the commercials: Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem, etc. Where people loose 10 pounds their first month. I'm obviously not doing anything like that. But I know that one of those would never work for me. I like to eat with my family. Make food we all like and then eat it together. I like restaurants, family dinners with my parents, lunch with friends. If I can't find a way to have that in my life, I'm going to fail at any diet I try.

What I'm trying to do is make changes that are sustainable. Like giving up red meat. That I can do. Living off pre-packaged pasta for 6 months. Nope. Exercising 5 days a week. That I can do. Eating nothing but vegetables for 14 days. That I can't do.

I have to make changes that will help me loose weight now. But they also have to be things I can continue in the future.

Life of Pi

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Have you ever had the experience of reading a book, and then wondering why you haven't heard about the book before?

That's how I felt when I read Life of Pi.

I had never heard of the book. No one I know had ever mentioned it casually in conversation. To be completely honest, the reason I read it was because it was on a list of books I found on Facebook.

I'm glad I did. This book approaches the quality of books like Death Comes for the Archbishop or The Chosen. Books that have become required high school reading. (Maybe it is somewhere and my school just missed it.)

The back cover of the book said "A story to make you believe in God."

What more compelling reason do you need to pick up the book.

Life of Pi tells the story of Pi Patel, a young boy moving with his family from India to Canada. During the trip, the boat sinks, and he becomes stranded on a lifeboat. His only company: a full grown Bengal tiger.

Through exquisite story telling and heart-wrenching detail, Yann Martel examines what it means to be human. In austere surroundings, what is it that separates us from animals? During survival, what parts of humanity are you willing to give up and which do you hang on to until your last breath?

Pi's story is incredible. But as I read, I didn't ask questions. I just believed every word. Every event. Every detail.

At the end, he is questioned about your story. It is only when Pi is met by doubt and disbelief by others that a little doubt and disbelief enter your head. Is that what makes us doubt in the first place? Other people's doubt and not our own disbelief of things?

I'm not sure that the story did what the cover said. As in, I didn't have a spiritual epiphany. I'm not even sure I felt with an overwhelming sense of awe.

Many of the reviews of the book described it as a "study of religion" or "a reflection on the many meanings of religion." I didn't take that away from the book. Arguably the first part of the book is about the main characters own religious discoveries, but that is not a continued theme.

For me, it was more a discussion on belief and doubt. Humanity versus animal nature.

But I guess that is what makes books like this so great. Every reader is free to interpret as they will.

Another Year Older

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Today is my birthday.

And I'm 27.

At least I think I am. Okay, I did that math again. Yep. I'm 27.

The thing is, I've been lying about my age for the last several years. I've been 27 since I was probably 24 or 25.

And you might ask yourself, why would any woman lie about her age and make herself older?!

Well, for a couple reasons.

I work in a field where age is definitely an asset. People want their doctor to be older than they are. They don't want someone 10, 20, 30 years younger than they are telling them to quit smoking, eat healthier, exercise more, prescribe them medication.

Isn't that the image we all have of physicians? That they are the "older and wiser" one? Not the "wow, you look like you are in high school" person that looks like they might have wandered into the exam room by accident? I had lots of patients ask me throughout medical school how old I was. I used to tell my real age. And I got a lot of "wow, you're so young." Or "you're just a baby."

So, pretty early on, I added a couple years. Just to build rapport with my patients.

But the real reason I did it was, well, more cowardly than that.

See, I got married when I was young. Nineteen years old to be exact. I took a lot of flack for it at the time, and occasionally I still do. And looking back, maybe we should have waited. But we didn't.

And we had our first child a year and a half later. When I was 20.

When people would ask about kids, a question would always follow, "So how old are your kids?" After that, they would look at me strange and say, "And how old are you? How long have you been married?"

I could always seeing them doing the math in their head, just a little too quickly. "So you were only 19 when you got married?" Yep, there it is.

I got tired of seeing people doing that math in their head. I got tired of feeling that the person I was talking to was judgmental about my getting married young.

And so I got around it by adding a couple years to my age.

And after a while, I had a hard time remembering my real age.

But I'm done with lying about my age.

So I got married when I was 19. I have the most amazing marriage. More successful than most of my friends. We are one of the happiest couples we know. We don't fight. Even approaching 8 years of marriage, we still love to be together, are supportive, and have not run out of things to talk about.

So I had kids when I was 20. My children are happy, healthy, well adjusted boys. We do things as a family. They love being home.

So I did these things younger than most. I have an amazing profession. I finished both undergraduate and medical school married and with children.

I don't think I have anything to be embarrassed about.

So, everyone out there...I'm 27.

Aw, you noticed

Friday, March 20, 2009

I got my first award! Yeah!!

'Cus let's be completely honest here. Most of us start blogging because we have so many ideas and thoughts running through our head that we need a healthy outlet for them. Otherwise we start talking to ourselves on public transportation or unloading them onto significant others. I was already doing the second and was rapidly headed the direction of the first.

But the reason we keep blogging is because we think that someone is listening. That what we write is not only worth writing, but worth reading.

So, thanks, Karen, both for noticing and for the award. (And stop by Karen. She's a hoot.)

Anyways, I'm not getting off with just a very nice Oscar-esque thank-you speech. After, the "no such things as a free lunch" thing and all.

The description that came with the award was this:

“When accepting this auspicious award, you must write a post bragging about it, including the name of the misguided soul who thinks you deserve such acclaim, and link back to said person so everyone knows he or she is real.

Choose a minimum of seven (7) blogs that you find brilliant in content or design. Or improvise by including bloggers who have no idea who you are because
you don’t have seven (7) friends. Show the seven (7) random victims’ names and links and leave a comment informing them that they were prized with “Honest Weblog.” Well, there’s no prize, really, but they can keep the nifty icon.

Next, in your blog, list at least ten honest things about yourself. Then, pass it on!”

So here's a list of seven. A combination of random victims and friends (you know which one you are.) But all blogs that I enjoy and, well, tell it like it is.


Okay, now 10 honest things about myself. I've always wondered how honest I should be in on my blog. I guess now's as good as any to find out.

Because confessing is what this blog is all about.

1. I would rather stay home with my husband and kids, watch movies and read books, than go out with friends. Any day of the week.

2. I have a slight case of road rage. I can't stand it when people drive 5 miles under the speed limit. Or forget to use their blinker. Or don't start going when the light turns green because they're on their cell phones.

3. I could eat an entire bag of marshmallows in one sitting. Like when I'm watching "When Harry Met Sally..." But I don't do that anymore. Well, because the scale told me not to.

4. I have an opinion about everything. Just ask. I'll have an opinion about it. And if I've never heard about it. Just give me a few minutes.

5. I always thought I would have girls. It never even crossed my mind that I might have boys until I was actually pregnant with my first.

6. My dream is to buy a very old farmhouse (or something similar) and "restore" it. I would love to live in an old home (where everything works.) Please don't tell Hubster about this one.

7. Before I went to medical school, my dream job would have been a wedding planner or a florist. Something where I would get to create beautiful things everyday. Sometimes when I'm going to work, I still think that those would have been better choices. Until I think about crazy brides.

8. I feel a little guilty about not going into primary care. Just a little. Not enough to change my mind.

9. I don't like tea. I feel like I'm a coffee drinker surrounded by tea drinkers. I don't care it is is chai, herbal, or sweet. I just don't really like it. I keep expecting it to taste, well, not like tea.

10. My favorite place in the world is the West Coast. The ocean, the beach, the sound of the waves. And I'm moving to Iowa. Go figure.

It's a Match!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

After all the anticipation, the hype, Match Day almost felt anti-climatic.

I was feeling remarkably calm. I even slept reasonably well. I was doing great. Clear up until I was right about to open my envelope. I was shaking. Apparently enough to get a couple of comment.

And it's over.

But actually, it's just the beginning.

Making my mark on the map

We're going to Iowa.

I know, that's actually a state. People kept saying "Ohio" or "That's in the Midwest, right?"

I'm leaving the mountains I have taken for granted for my entire life. I'm leaving my parents and siblings. I'm leaving the roads and cities and canyons that I know so well I can check out while I drive.

It's for the best. Iowa was everything we never knew we were looking for. Living in a state where winter can last up to 9 months, our thought was "warm. We need somewhere WARM." But throughout the interview process, other, real, things became so much more important. Schools, safety, housing market, future job market. Iowa has it all. Minus the ocean. And the warm.

But we're excited.

And scared.

We're going to pack up our little family and move half way across the United States. To a place only I've been (and I was only there for one day.) Hubster is leaving a great job. I'm leaving my family. We're leaving everything that is familiar and safe.

And for what? For great training. A better quality of life for our family. You know, the American dream.

So let the planning begin.

I'm done with waiting

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

After all the drama and build up, the match is tomorrow.

The not knowing is truly the worst. Worse than where I might end up. Worse than not getting my first choice. It's just going months and months without knowing. Not being able to plan.

I'm not as nervous as I thought I would be. I think my brain has shut off just a little. The real nerves will come, I think, tomorrow morning, as I'm holding my envelope with my family.

I'm trying to keep perspective about this. Building up to this day, it feels like Match Day is the most important day of my life. But it's not. It will never compare with my wedding day, the birth of my sons, or even the day I was accepted to medical school. This, instead of being a milestone, feels a little more like a speed bump. Just one more hoop to jump through.

The agony of waiting isn't anything like trying to create the rank list. That was hard. Every aspect of compromise, everything that marriages and relationships are founded on, was put to use.

Early on in the interview process, I thought I had found my perfect program. I loved the program. I loved the people. I loved the city. If they had offered me a position right then and there, I would have taken it without a second thought. I called Hubster in delight. "I've found it!" I said gleefully.

However, it was not to be. The graduate program there was a poor fit for Hubster. As in, not a snowball's chance. So, sick to my stomach, I tried to put my dream program out of sight, out of mind.

Everything worked out. Later in the interview process, I went to a program that, well, just felt right. The more we thought about it, the better it felt. In fact, it felt right enough of both Hubster and me that I was able to easily forget the initial dream residency.

That's what tomorrow is really about. It's the culmination of sacrifices on both my part and my family's part. It's evidence that compromise works for everyone.

And most importantly, it's the end of the waiting.

Happy St. Patricks

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Now playing: Dropkick Murphys - The Legend of Finn Mac Cumhail
via FoxyTunes

Let's Go Dancing

Monday, March 16, 2009

So, enough with the emotionally-charged, stressful thoughts about "the Match."

There are happier, exciting, potentially less emotionally taxing things at hand.

Yes, it is time for powerhouses, Cinderellas, team pride, and bragging rights.

That's right. I'm talking about March Madness.

March Madness is possibly the best thing there is in all of sports. Obviously, it's better than the BCS system for college football. I don't really like pro-sports, so it wins over that. And there isn't a lot left for it to compete with.

So it wins.

Seriously, if you've never done it, now is a good time to start. Just gather up some friends, fill one of these out, and have fun. And don't worry if you don't know anything about sports. There is no skill involved. Just luck and laughs. Exactly my type of sport.

Every year, everyone in our family fills out a bracket. Everyone. Even the little boys.

In the past, after the tourney is over, we go out to dinner. Winner gets to pick the restaurant. In the past, we have eaten at McDonalds and Carl's Jr.

Yes, the now six-year-old usually wins (off a bracket based on colors or team mascots.)

This year, the winner gets to pick the flavor of ice cream for family night.

Here's to hoping the my brackets better than past years. (Because right about now is when Girl Scout Samoas ice cream by Dreyers comes out.)

Oh, and good luck Utah.

Luke Nevill (Utah Center, senior)

Just a little nervous (the real nerves come later this week)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Tomorrow I get an e-mail to tell me if I matched or not. Not where. Just yes or no.

If yes, my nerves will settle down just a little. If no...well, if no, I plan on just crawling back into bed and crying and maybe or maybe not plan on rejoining the world in the future.

Actually, I won't get to. Because I will be very busy being involved with the infamous "Scramble."

Where poor fourth year medical students who didn't get a residency position fight it out for any remaining open slots across the country. A two day process involving a lot of phone calls, waiting, and further hits on your self esteem.

I really hope that doesn't happen. How terrible to work this hard for this many years and not get a residency position. And possibly end up somewhere you've never heard of and don't know anything about.

Or worse, end up in a different specialty all together. To not be an anesthesiologist, but a family medicine doc or an internist.

Here's to hoping for the best.

-This is cross posted here-

The Next Step

Friday, March 13, 2009

Next week, my fate is decided.

It's something called "the Match," a complicated process in which fourth year medical students are giving residency training positions.

(For the "complete" inner working of the process, see here.)

And it happens next week.

And you can all be incredibly grateful that you don't live with me. Because this is all that I have talked about for months now. Hubster is sick of it.

I have been waiting for this day for years. As soon as I was accepted into medical school, my mind immediately skipped forward, like it always does, to the next step: residency.

I took specialty questionnaires, and then researched residencies for the specialties the questionnaires pointed me to during first year. I thought I had made up my mind during second year and researched pediatric residencies (looking mostly at call schedules and insurance coverage.) Third year, well, I was too tired to think about it. But then fourth year again was spend studying residencies, first pediatrics, then family medicine, and ultimately anesthesiology.

After waiting so long, it's a little unbelievable that it is happening on Thursday. It's actually going to happen.

I'm a sloshing mess of anxiety, excitement, panic, relief, jitters, dread, and anticipation. Most of the time, I'm not sure which emotion is dominant.

Not knowing has held us all in limbo. "Are you guys going to the family camp-out?" Don't know yet. "Will you be able to come of vacation with us?" Don't know yet. "So, where are you guys going for residency?" Don't know yet.

A week from now, I will know where my family and I am going to be living for at least the next four years. A week from now, we will be house hunting for real, and not just wistfully. A week from now, I can start planning again.

A week from now, I will be one step closer.

Give it up

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Time for another weigh in.

Since I may or may not have lost 1/2 pound this week (depending on yesterday's weight or today's), I debated about posting at all.

But I need something to keep me on the straight and narrow (or just shame me, that works too.) And I worry that without any accountability, I will just end up discouraged and eating ice cream. Out of the box. On the couch. Watching Oprah. In my pajamas.

So I'm not going to get discouraged. Even if I don't lose the goal of 5 pounds this month, I'll just keep working at it.

When I realized that it nearly half way through March, and I'm not close, I thought about what I should give up to help me along.

Last year, when I really started to gain weight from stress of licensing exams and such, I gave up ice cream. It is no longer allowed in the house. We now occasionally go out for ice cream. Rarely. Not nearly as often as I would like.

2 months ago, I gave up beef. It wasn't really that hard. I was a vegetarian for 3 years and liked it, but for some reason, haven't been able to go all the way back. Giving up beef was fine (as long as I don't think too much about medium-rare steaks.)

So on Sunday, I decided that for 2 months, I would give up dessert.

And then my husband came home on Monday with a box of Girl Scout Samoas cookies.

Well, maybe next week.

A long list of used to

Monday, March 9, 2009

I used to write poetry. Lots and lots of it.

And not just teenage angst lines (although there was plenty of that). I wrote about my mother, my children, growing up, and trees. I wrote a lot about trees.

I haven't written any poetry for quite a long time.

It's not like I don't try. I have a notebook in my purse that I keep for when inspiration stops by...or waves from across the road. But it just doesn't come to me like it used to.

I sometimes feel that "used to" were the saddest words.

I used to dance ballet.

I used to spend time in the darkroom with my old film SLR.

I used to paint oils.

I used to want to be a marine biologist.

And I've been worried that poetry is being added to my list of "used to."

But maybe it isn't as sad as I think it is. Maybe writing, no matter what it is, even this blog, is enough. Maybe I don't need the poetry anymore.

But occasionally, I still hear it.

Normal Life Award

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Normal day to day life can be really hard. And we don't get a lot of recognition for the small things we do. Like not hit the snooze, remember to floss, not pretend that we didn't notice the garbage needs to be taken out.

Parenthood has its own challenges. But unlike most other full time jobs, there is no chance for a pay raise or promotion. You don't accumulate vacation or sick time. No one congratulates you for the times you count to ten instead of just start yelling.

I think that should stop. Right here. So, I'm going to be handing out awards for the daily things we should get recognized for.

Starting with me.

I've been married for almost 8 years. I have two very rambunctious little boys. And still, we have nearly my complete set of dishes that we got for our wedding. Just simple white dishes; yet I love them. And over the years, only ONE bowl has been broken. By my husband. Before we had kids.

I think that deserves an award. A gold star.

Yes, I know that this is "tooting my own horn." But there are times if we don't, who will?

If you feel you have done something that deserves a normal life award, leave a comment, and I'll give you one.

Wednesday Weigh-in

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

In the spirit of keeping with my New Year's Resolutions, I'm going to start a daily feature. Each Wednesday, I'm going to weigh in. Not with my opinions. But with my actual weight.

It's hard to be honest about my weight. I was a thin girl through out high school and part of college. But the stress of medical school and two pregnancies have not been kind. I've gained a LOT of weight in the last 6 1/2 years.

And I've had a hard time adjusting my diet to being slightly overweight instead of being the skinny girl who could eat a bag of marshmallows and Skittles.

I've also had a hard time just getting used to me in this size and shape.

Like I mentioned in my New Years resolutions, my goal is to lose 15 pounds this year.

So far, I've lost 5. Yeah! This is the first time I have ever been successful losing weight. (When I lose more weight, I may, may post my actually weight and not just absolute values of how much I've lost. Maybe.)

My new goal is 5 more pounds by April 1st.

It's going to be hard.

I've been really good at exercising: 30 minutes 6 days a week. I've only missed 2 days in the last 2 months.

I've been better at healthier food choices.

The hard part is not eating at night. Like the big bowl of popcorn watching Lost and Survivor.

Giving that up is the next goal.

Spill your guts

Sunday, March 1, 2009

I've already confessed about liking memes.

Here's another one... (that I stole from this blog, without being tagged. Just because I thought it was cute.)

We've all heard that you can tell a lot about a women by the contents of her purse. So, let's find out about each other.

Here are the rules:

1. Post a picture of whatever bag you are carrying as of late. You CANNOT sneak into your closet and pull out some cute little things - we want to know the purse you last carried. No cheating!
2. List how much it cost - this is not to judge but for entertainment only. If there is a fabulous story to go along with your fabulous purse, let us hear it!
3. Spill your guts. Or your purse's. What are you carrying around in there?
4. Tag some lucky ladies to participate and then link back to this post.

I actually don't have a lot of purses. And it's not because I don't like them, but because the major force in my life right now is frugality (that and an insane about of stress and Kid's Meal's toys, but that a completely different topic).

I love all my purses, and since I'm home a great deal more and don't have to carry around as much stuff, this is my arm's current companion:

I got this darling red A-shaped purse at a factory outlet for about $15. 3 years ago. The outlet store is no longer there, but the purse is going strong.

Here's what's inside:

Top row: Wallet, Palm (the source of all my knowledge), cell phone, hair elastic, jump drive

Bottom row: Check book (for weekly daycare payments), movie ticket (Australia), way too many keys, lip glass, lotion, hand sanitizer, Burt Bee's chap stick, and a large collection of pens.

There is also a camera and an iPod in there, but the iPod was charging, and I'm using the camera.

(Okay, there was also a bunch of trash, like two weeks worth of shopping lists, an ATM receipt, Coke bottle lids, and a bunch of glitter from carrying around my son's Valentine to me.)

Every time I go through my purse, I feel like Mary Poppins. People watching me rummage around trying to find my phone or lotion just keep waiting for me to pull out a floor lamp and a potted plant.

Okay, now it's your turn. I should just tag some people, but I'm going to let this be voluntary. For now. Come on and play. It's fun.

(Oh, and if you decide to do this: leave a comment, telling me where I can find out about your purse.)