Tuesday, October 23, 2012

And... that's all folks!

We listed our house in September, received an offer during the first week the house was on the market... And today, Pete closed on our house (I gave Pete Power of Attorney to sign documents on my behalf as I had difficulty getting time off due to a crazy school schedule). We are done with this project, and are back to being very mobile -- with only the commitment of an apartment contract to hold us to the area. [That being said, we still have significant interest in this area -- church, friends, family, a job that Pete enjoys... just no longer physical ties to this region.]

We went there for the last time last week to pick up the last few remaining items in the house -- a bed and desk my grandpa had made me long ago. I had a few tears -- mostly for the life and wonderful memories that we had there: hanging out in front of the fire on chilly afternoons, having friends/family over, planting things each spring and watching green things grow from the ground (mostly weeds, I will admit -- but proud of my few flowers that came up), among other things. But leaving reminds me of something Pete said multiple times when we moved in: A house this old is never completely your own... you just get to take care of it for a little while.

The apartment suits our life for now -- its easy, low maintenance, and allows us to be mobile -- something that will be desirable when I apply to residency programs in a year. But, its a strange feeling downsizing/regressing in our adult life from a settled life involving a 5-bedroom, 2-car garage house on 2.something acres and most meals being fairly homemade... to a 1 bedroom apartment with most meals being convenience foods (cold cereal, prepackaged salads, etc). However, I am thankful for our current living situation and for having an understanding/supportive spouse as it allows me to pursue my goal of becoming a doctor, and focus on my learning/school right now.

Mortise and tenon joints... I will miss these reminders that our house was unique and old.
Pete moving the last of the bedframe my Grandpa made me from the 3rd floor.

I will miss this magnificent magnolia and its plate sized leaves in all seasons.

Looking back... leaving the house for the last time.
One final good-bye, and "Congrats" balloon for the new owner.
I had opportunity to meet the new owner a few weeks ago when my mom and sister came to town to help us move a few more things from the place. A middle-aged man with a teenage daughter. I am pleased that he is interested in the history of the house and details of the house. I hope it serves them well.

Eta: I am not yet done with the blog. Though it did start out as a way to chronicle the progress of our house projects... it became a way to share what has been going on with our life... and I am not yet sure I am ready to give it up. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Tourist in my own town

This past weekend, my mom and sister came to visit me. It was so much fun to see them again -- and I totally enjoyed the time we spent together. The weekend was action packed... we did things such as explore the capitol, tour a local town and visit all the gifty-type shops that Pete won't tour with me, went on an airplane ride, emptied the house of furniture and belongings, visited with my aunt and uncle, went out to eat a couple times -- including once for pie, had cider and doughnuts from a local cider mill, among other things. It was fun -- and I believe they had a good time too! But today, its back to reality and I am sad to see them  go!
A few pics from the weekend (photo credits: my sister Emma): 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Another sacrifice

So, I have not updated in a while... but I feel compelled to do so this afternoon. Med school IS a lot of sacrifice.

Sometimes the sacrifices are easier than others, for example giving up weekends and evening to studying some really interesting things. Spending evenings in the hospital evaluating new patients and trying to understand what's the cause for their current symptoms and complaints.

Sometimes, the sacrifices are not so easy -- such as this weekend; I missed my sister's wedding because of a required school activity yesterday and a combination of other factors (lack of commercial flights that met my schedule requirements, it takes too long to get between here/there to drive, and weather was not cooperating to allow Pete to fly us out there). Even though I knew of this possibility from the beginning when the date was set... I guess I had my heart set on going and just *knew* that somehow I would get out there and be present at the activities of yesterday and today. But, that was not to be and instead, I spent the last 3 days tearful and disappointed. And though this sacrifice may seem trivial or silly to some, to me... there is no place I would rather be this afternoon than being part of the activities surrounding the wedding. Instead, here I sit too many miles away typing, studying, and trying to keep my mind occupied to avoid thinking about what all I am missing. And, I know this probably won't be the last time I feel this way over missing something.

Don't get me wrong... I usually love what it is that I do each day. I am privileged to hear the stories of many, and get to be part of their healing. I am fortunate to be entering a career with multiple avenues so that no matter what I go into -- I can always try something new if I get bored (ex. teach, research, patient care, etc.). And, there will always be something to learn.
On a side note, I have finished psych and am now in my internal medicine clerkship. I am learning the foundation of medicine right now. It is so fascinating and most everything I learned my first two years gets used daily. It is, however, a lot of work. I spend M-F from 6:30/7:00 AM - 4:30 PM in the hospital each day + 6:30/7:00 AM - noonish 1 weekend day most weekends + one day each week in the hospital until 11:00 PM. I come home exhausted, and puzzled by the patients that I have seen and spend hours looking up causes/differentials/treatments/etc. so that the next day I am a bit smarter and know a bit more about what's going on. On top of this, I study and complete assignments.

My mom and youngest sister are coming out here in a few weeks. I am excited to see them. They have never seen where we currently live (post move from the house), so it will be fun to show them around the area.

Friday, August 24, 2012

"Normal" Weekend

Today (with any luck -- we find out exam scores in 10 days) I finished my first rotation/clerkship in medical school -- 8 weeks devoted to learning about psychiatry, seeing patients (along with physicians and residents), and even occasionally attending the patient therapy sessions to learn about what goes on while patients attend these groups. While I can't say that I am an expert in psychiatry, I can say that my understanding and appreciation of psychiatric conditions and addictions improved greatly during this 8 week clerkship.

That being said... I now have 2 days off before I start my next adventure (internal medicine). It feels great to have a "normal" weekend -- a weekend where I have nothing to study and I get to wear "normal" clothes for a change (and comfy shoes)! I am looking forward to having this time to do "normal" summer things -- like maybe visit a beach and enjoy the outdoors (provided the weather holds out)! :)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Biking around town/catch up

This past weekend, Pete and I had planned for a day trip to Mackinac Island -- however, the forecast did not hold out for this plan. So instead we made a short flight to a local tourist town for a good lunch (chicken dinner), some window shopping, and a 4-5 mile bike ride. It was a good day.

The bikes that we rode are collapsible bikes, borrowed from one of Pete's coworkers. Boy, are they slick! It made the trek into town (2-2.5 miles each way) much easier, especially since Pete's feet hurt if we walk long distances.

Outside of this little jaunt, we have mostly been keeping on keeping on.

School has started again for me -- this keeps me entertained. I spend my days at the hospital -- seeing patients as part of a team and learning the clinical part of medicine. I spend evenings reading/studying, or catching up on the day-to-day household stuff. The transition to the clinical part of medical school has been interesting, exhausting, and integrates all I've learned the first 2 years of medical school. I am really enjoying it! :)

Pete's sister and brother in law stopped by this evening -- we met at the hangar. So fun to catch up, and see family again. Pete was able to give rides to their two oldest who missed their turn at the Flying Finns tourney -- he had a good time doing this, and they seemed to enjoy their ride! :)

Anyway, happy summer!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Camping at Beaver Island

This past weekend, Pete and I went to Beaver Island to go camping. We were surprised by the hospitality shown by the islanders, enjoyed the beautiful island views and small town feeling of the place. We definitely would like to go back in the future for a longer period of time and would take our bikes -- there are many miles of nice bike trails that would have been fun to explore! 

The campground was really reasonable -- $5 a night. Plenty of wood around to burn -- either found in the woods, or dropped off by people to burn (at some of the campsites -- looked like left over building scrap). The sites were really nice too -- private, quiet. I was very impressed.

 First sights of Beaver Island ~ Michigan's Emerald Isle.
One of the biking paths -- comfortably fits 2-3 bikers across (you can approximate the size by my dog who is ~6-8" across).
Mainstreet -- looking at the historical museum staffed by volunteers. One of the more unusual museums I have visited -- even the items have stories of how they arrived at the museum and the descriptions give you a glimpse at the stories of the people behind these donations.  
The marina.

Through the campfire smoke... overlooking the lake.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Welcome to Summer! :)

This past weekend, Pete and I made our first long trip -- home to MN to see family! It cut the trip in half -- even with fairly frequent stops! And... along the way we got to see some pretty neat scenery.
A Steel Mill - Gary, Indiana; something I found remarkable -- you can see the smoke settle along I-94, essentially forming a band directly above the highway.

Chicago-- absolutely amazing flying through/over Navy Pier at 2000 feet through the VFR corridor. We had to talk to O'Hare traffic control while traveling through this area, and were able to see big jets go above us and other little planes around us. A really neat experience! Also, we could see the backed up traffic from Chicago rush hour and I was reminded that we never would have been able to go out there for this last minute weekend trip had it not been for the ability to fly out there. It cut the travel time in about 1/2 even with frequent stops.
 Welcoming committee at the airport. This pic is a bit blurry, but makes me smile. Never have we ever had such a crew out to watch us land! :) It was so fun to see everyone both at the airport and at a little party at Mindy's afterward! :)

Outside of the gathering at Mindy's where we got to see family and friends, while in Minnesota...
  • I went shopping with my mom and sister's to find a few new shirts for school (and make use of the no sales tax on clothing).
  • Visited with most of my maternal aunts/uncles after a wedding.
  • Went boating and water skiing on the below lake until the skies turned dark and twisting with fingers coming down from the clouds (and yes, tornado sirens were going off.
  • Had my first grilled hamburger of summer at a cookout at my mom and dad's (along with all the sides -- scrumptious watermelon, baked beans, chips, among other good food). 
  • Did a lot of visiting, and even managed to get some studying in.
  • And Pete was able to share his hobby of flying with a few more people (i.e. he gave a few airplane rides to my siblings, parents and his brother).
It was a very fun weekend and great way to kick off summer! :) But, now it feels good to be home, be unpacked, and ready to return to some serious studying for the next couple weeks. Wishing all the best to you and yours! :)

A few more pics of Chicago (for good measure) -- taken on the way home.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Weekend update

It looks like I am not going to be able to do this newest photo challenge~ somehow, as boards creep closer (about 2 months from now -- Jun 18th)... my time seems to be less and less in conjunction with studying and required activities. I have been told that this time limitation only gets worse next year -- but, oddly I am looking forward to that. Third year is spent in the hospitals and clinics. It involves some rotations requiring 24 hour call, overnight call, and coming in on the weekends. I am looking forward to applying all that I have learned these last 2 years in the care of patients, and learning more about many areas of medicine... despite having a crazy schedule.

Last night, I shadowed in the Emergency Department. I felt like I was able to help the doctors with a few things (like removing patient bandages, handing equipment, etc. nothing major) and in the process learn something about Emergency Medicine and review stuff I should already know. It was a lot of fun, and reminded me of why I want to be a doctor -- to help people, solve puzzles, and never be bored.

So, here is my weekend: Friday night shadowing. Going to try on short white coats today, so that they can be ordered and ready before I start 3rd year at the end of June. Hopefully, getting the chance to go to church tomorrow (Easter). And interspersed... getting a LOT of studying done. T-9 days and counting until my next big exam where I regurgitate all I know about metabolism, nutrition, hormone disorders, and reproduction.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

30 Day Photo Challenge - Catch Up, Days 25&26

About a week ago -- I had a killer exam, a 3-hour test on everything I need to know about the cardiovascular system to do well on boards and get me started next year when I am in the hospital. For me, this was probably my most difficult exam of the year -- both because I studied less for it/had more of a life during this domain and there was a lot of content. Most of the content was of the teach yourself variety as the school is trying to push us towards figuring out what we need to learn, rather than spoon feeding us material in the form of lectures... because once we get into the clinics it will be up to us to review/learn in order to best serve our patients. But, I did well on the test and can now move on to the next subject: metabolic, endocrine and reproductive disorders.

I feel like I am still in some sort of fog and recovering from this test, and so I have not posted pictures. That being said, this week was pretty busy: Monday evening I went to a shower & visited friends (a very rare treat!), Tuesday night I went to my sister-in-law's soccer game and had dinner with family, Wednesday I spent cleaning the apartment & doing laundry so it looks a little less like a college bachelor pad, and Thursday until now...  I spent in yoga pants and long-sleeved T reading up on women's hormones...  BTW -- it is so amazing that we are all here. How can one not marvel at the miracle of life!

Day 25 - Sunflare - Last Sunday's beautiful weather!
Day 26: Something old. Pete and I picked up a bin (I think 31) of these old books from the 40's for $5 at a garage sale for the day when we build - built-in bookshelves in the recesses next to the fireplace.
I will post the rest of the pictures later. Until then, take care!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

30 Day Photo Challenge: Day 24

And while Pete & I did go visiting last night to Grandma & Grandpa K's, and also saw Pete's parents + younger sibs, and Mindy & Aaron + kids... I forgot to grab a picture while we were there. It was a fun night -- but today's back to the studying hard. I took a bit too much time off from studying this domain, and am playing catch-up this weekend in hopes of doing well on Monday's 3 hour exam! (We have 1 exam each 3-4 week class!)
So, today's photo challenge: A smile. Pretty sure this counts ~ this is my happy dog on our walk this evening. And yes... our grass is this green (you can also see that it's been misting today -- the grass is pretty wet)! His happiest 2 minutes each day are between the end of the walk and mealtime.

On another note: I really am liking this springtime weather!

Friday, March 23, 2012

30 Day Photo Challlenge: Day 23

As last night was rainy, I did not get a picture of the sunset... and since tonight does not look promising, I figured I would take a trip through the picture archives...
Sunset over Lake Michigan - D family camping. Probably my best picture of the sun slipping slowly beneath the horizon. No matter where you are... sunset is a beautiful event, and I don't think I have seen 2 that look identical yet! :)
Sunset over canals in Venice, Italy. This was probably one of the most picturesque places I have ever been. The buildings are old -- much older than buildings in the US, and the multitude of bridges and crazy sidewalks keeps navigating around the place interesting. Motorized travel around Venice is by boat and you get to feed the birds! Fun place to visit!
Sunset over Beijing, China. We were in Beijing about 2 weeks before the 2008 Summer Olympics. The weather there was warm and muggy (so the sunset is not so brilliant). Really neat to watch the Bird's Nest (pictured above), and other places in the city ready themselves for the games and foreign tourists. I would go back to China in a heartbeat to visit -- great food, nice people, and we were able to find enough people who spoke English making travel about the country relatively easy.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

30 Day Photo Challenge: Day 22

My view this morning -- sun coming up over the trees. It's going to be another beautiful summer-like day; I plan on being outside and enjoying it!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

30 Day Photo Challege: Days 19-21

Today we were able to take the plane out and just around the area... certainly looks like summer!
In addition to Pete getting a plane Monday, I had to have a breast biopsy. Today's a great day -- not only is the weather good, but I found out the results & I do not have cancer. All the same, it was scary to be told that I needed a biopsy and it was not the least painful thing I have ever done.
Following my biopsy, I came home and napped here on the couch (Day 19: where I slept) -- following strict instructions to not clean, vacuum, lift anything, or move too much.

These are the books that I am reading (Day 20). Unfortunately, school leaves little time for much recreational reading during the semester. As for "recreational reading", I did get through the Breast Health pamphlet as well as the pathology report (top document) -- not so exciting reads, but important all the same.
And... today's pretty pattern: the top of the tea box we got from China (contains a wonderful loose leaf fruit tea and unfurling flower jasmine tea). I like this pattern, and today especially -- with all the sunshine, the box seems to glow. One thing that I found interesting when traveling over there, packaging matters almost as much as the product itself. We have a beautiful wood box (in storage) that contains the glass figurine of the Great Wall of China, and a nice patterned box containing my tea set.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Interrupting the regularly scheduling program... Pete got his plane

Pete got his plane today! Kind of exciting news for the two of us! It is housed at the airport (in a hanger). I imagine that we will be spending some time here -- enjoying the outdoors, watching planes take off, and also taking off ourselves to explore the skies!

This makes many places all that much closer -- and with seats that are nice and cushy, and an interior wide enough for both of us to have elbow room... I really am looking forward to flying with him!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

30 Day Photo Challenge: Day 18

My bags are boring (at least to me); the contents were previously photographed in the Day 7-11 challenge.

My bookbag contents vary daily (and often hourly) -- but contain a mixture of laptop, current coarsepack(s), Robbins (the 9 lb book of pathology, per bathroom scale, that feels like 25 lb), First Aid (the book used to study for boards), Pathoma (a pathology review book), and some special text for whatever unit we are studying (currently -- Lilly cardiology). It also contains a wallet, keys, cell phone, Excedrin and Ibuprofen, highlighters, pens, and a calculator.

My clinical skills bag contains my clinical skills equipment: stethascope, flashlight, reflex hammer, tuning fork, opthalmoscope/otoscope (thing used to look in the eyes, and the thing used to look in the ears), otoscope tips (those black things that are put on the otoscope before looking in ears), my blood pressure cuffs, a watch, a pen, and an assortment of papers. On days that I have clinical skills -- it will also contain my white coat, and perhaps a change of clothes.

I don't carry a purse as that's just one more thing to think about -- and place to forget the wallet, keys, cell phone etc. To non-school places (like the grocery store, church), I hand carry my wallet, keys and cell phone; or stuff these items into whatever pocket I can find.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

30 Day Photo Challenge: Day 17

Today's challenge was to take a photo of a shelf. Outside of bookshelves and flat surfaces doubling as shelves containing many books, the only shelf in my house contains tea -- a storage shelf above the sink in the kitchen.   We have so many books -- filling 4 bookshelves and a few large storage containers in the basement.

In lieu of posting these photos, I re-interpreted the challenge as "collections".  I do have a collection of foreign currency (kept behind some books on a shelf). We like to travel, and everywhere we go we add our loose change to this collection. So far it contains coins from: the US, Jamaica, Canada, Mexico, Dominican Republic, China, Japan, and various European currencies: Euros, Francs (Switzerland), and Pence (UK).

Flat surface filled with books
Foreign coin collection - cheap souvenirs

Friday, March 16, 2012

30 Day Photo Challenge: Day 16

Yesterday, I had the need to feel human -- and have a normal challenge not medically related. So, I made a turkey that Pete had got from work a while back. First time making turkey ever, and it turned out delicious!

On the menu:
  • Roast turkey with vegetables (I used more vegetables than called for -- enough to stuff the turkey + juice from a whole lemon; fresh herbs, and mixed parsley and celery when I stuffed the neck region)
  • Roasted asparagus (easy -- toss asparagus with olive oil and a bit of salt, put in 350-400 degree oven for ~10 min, turn cook another 10 min)
  • Mashed potatoes and gravy
  • Cranberry sauce
  • Cesar salad
  • Croissants
  • Strawberry Angel Food Cake.
It tasted good to have a real home cooked meal -- certainly better than my usual dinner of cold cereal! :) While we now have a LOT of leftovers and will be eating good for a while -- making this reminded me of the many reasons why I have not made a big meal in the apartment yet!

Eta: We do not have a table in our apartment. These pics were taken on my desk. Our apartment does not have enough room for 2 desks and a table , so we just have 2 desks!