Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Avalanche

Before Dr. D and I were married two years ago, I had only been to one other wedding that I can remember, and that was when I was 13. I think I attended some others as a child, but I have difficulty recalling them; only the vaguest memories of learning to dance the Macarena.

However, since our wedding, we have been to four weddings and have been invited to at least four others. Unfortunately our thinning wallets have kept us from being able to fly out for all of them, but seeing so many of our friends get married over the past couple of years has confirmed two suspicions I had after our own wedding: (1) The excitement I feel about anything wedding-related has not faded in the afterglow of my own planning and I am, in fact, in love with weddings & (2) Dr. D and I started an avalanche. An avalanche of love and marriage. If you are unmarried and hope to remain so, you may not want to befriend us because I think we may be giving off some sort of "get married now!" vapors. Breathe at your own risk.

Last weekend was particularly awesome for me because I got to harness all of my spastic wedding love and adoration and put it to good use. Two of our good friends (one of whom we have known since we were 12) got married back in our home state, and we spent the whole week prior helping them put together the final touches of their very personal, do-it-yourself style wedding. I had so much fun! I toted around my camera the whole time, snapping pictures, taking in the ocean air, and marveling at how stressful but totally worth it weddings are. The bride even trusted me enough to let me help with coordination on the day of the wedding. Man, what a blast. And what a party... but some stories are not for telling in such a public forum ;)

Here are a few photos I took of some of the details:

Congratulations, N&E. Thanks for letting us be a part of your amazing day, and thanks for giving me a creative outlet again!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

"Prepare to encounter real life!"

That's what the sign says on the back of the door of my childhood bedroom, written with one of those battery-operated squiggly pens from the '90s (remember those?). It's a constant reminder from my 12 year old self that life gets much more complicated beyond that wooden door, so it would be best to prepare oneself.

And that's what I've tried to do over the past 24 hours, as our 10 day vacation came to a close and we flew back to our newest home, across the country and far away from the family and friends with whom we filled those short but seemingly infinite days.

Real life, indeed: 200+ emails in my work inbox and tornado warnings. Thank you, Midwest.

Still, there's plenty of reasons that make being back home a reason to celebrate. Among the more notable are: a reunion with J-dog, our own bed, an upcoming gathering of our local friends, and being back in the land of $4 (or less) malty beverages.

Our vacation kept us
very busy--one of those vacations that makes you want another vacation to recover--but we packed it all in. The main events were a wedding of our dear friends (in which Dr. D was a groomsman and I was an impromptu day-of coordinator, but more on that later) and my birthday, which I happen to share in common with my mother. It was great to be able to spend our birthdays together and indulge; mother-daughter mimosas and chocolate fondue were definitely a must. I love how in-tune our tastes are.

Now it's back to the grind. Work will start getting very busy for me starting in August, and Dr. D starts his 3rd year of med school and first rotation (family medicine) on Monday. Should make for some interesting stories!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Why today is awesome.

It's only just started, but I can already tell today is going to be a good day. Here's why:
  1. I woke up in my childhood home, to the sound of my mom humming to herself and "June-ing" (a term coined by my father--as in June Cleaver from Leave It To Beaver--meaning she's flitting around the house doing various tasks in the most pleasant way possible).

  2. Upon waking up, I promptly rolled over and opened a special drawer in my old nightstand where I've kept all of the notes, love letters, and trinkets Dr. D and I exchanged in our high school years, and took a little trip down memory lane. It's nearly impossible to pick favorite items out of that drawer, but I'd have to say I'm most partial to the little slips of paper that hold each stanza from the poem he used to ask me out when we were 15. I also love the creepy purple stuffed cat that Dr. D won for me in a claw machine on a choir trip--he must have spent $15 on it, all in the name of saving his pride and making me smile.

  3. After I finish this post, I get to eat a homemade breakfast and bask in the marital bliss glow of a couple madly in love after nearly 29 years of marriage. My parents are pretty cute.

  4. This afternoon I'll be reunited with my hubster. He's been on a two-day bachelor party/manly beach-camping extravaganza, so I'm sure he'll return to me curly-headed and bearded. Can't wait!

  5. And finally, the last reason I am confident this morning that today will be a good day is... The Gap just sent me an email advertising jean leggings, available in tall. HOT DANG!

I hope you all have an awesome day, too!

Friday, July 9, 2010

He's done!!!

Time to celebrate.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

MM 101, Lesson 3: Canis Fidelis

You may have gathered that there have been many quiet evenings spent at home for us over the past couple months; Dr. D at the kitchen table with his books, and me on the living room couch with my laptop. By no means have we been complete shut-ins--we've still managed to do a little traveling, had some meals out on the town, some drinks with friends--but we're nowhere near the social butterflies we were before this boards business started.

As someone who identifies as a bit of a home-body and who has taken multiple personality assessments that label me an "introvert" (although I prefer to think of myself as a
situational extrovert), I really haven't minded the social down time. I've managed to adjust to sharing my husband with textbooks and Dr. Edward Goljan, and I've avoided going completely stir-crazy thanks to a certain fuzzy creature in our home who provides endless amounts of entertainment.

This brings me to my next lesson in Medical Matrimony: Get a dog. Preferably a dog that thinks you're fan-freaking-tastic.

For those of you who may be thinking, Who has the time for a dog?, I'll have you know that while Dr. D is a busy med student and I have a full time job, we share equal responsibility for this little fur ball and we've had an absolute blast with him over the past 2 years. (Disclaimer: the puppy/potty training stage was a bit of a struggle so if you're a full time student and you don't have a partner living with you to help split puppy duty, I'd suggest adopting an older dog). Don't let the time commitment scare you off! Dr. D and I have learned that the benefits of loyal dog companionship (canis fidelis, if you will) far outweigh the disadvantages.

I'd like to share a few reasons why having J-dog around has been such a hoot in our household:
  • Witnessing a dog's range of emotions helps you appreciate and experience those same feelings more deeply in your own life, especially when you find yourself jaded after a long and arduous day. For example, I don't think any of us truly understand just how FREAKING AWESOME it is when we come home from work/school every day. According to J-dog's perky ears, tongue-lolling smile, and frenzied propeller-like tail motion, coming home is an event worthy of pure joy, and thanks to him I now feel that joy every time I walk in the door. Also, if I could bottle up and give away the unquenchable hope that J-dog displays every time I open the peanut butter jar, I think antidepressants would be rendered useless.
  • Dogs can learn to do things about 5 million times faster than babies. This is great not only because they can do a lot more than just lay there, eat, and poop for the first months of their lives, but because you can teach them to do silly and fantastically entertaining things without getting CPS called on you. If I were to teach my baby to fall over and play dead when I yelled "BANG!" at it, I'd be deemed an unfit mother. But when my dog does it, it elicits applause. Booyah.
  • I typically plug in my headphones and mess around on my computer while I wait for my baking to finish, which could easily spell crispy, burnt disaster since I can't hear the oven timer. However, J-dog always lets me know when the oven beeps at the one-minute mark with an earnest nose to the arm followed by a "rally the troops" lap trotted around the couch where I'm sitting. I have no idea how he learned to do this, but batch after batch, he never fails me.
  • J-dog is the best remedy to a stressed out/studied out/burned out day. Whether it's cuddles or wrasslin' you're after, this dog's got both in spades. Dr. D is now in the habit of taking what he calls "Poodle Breaks" during high-stress study sessions, which usually involves a little bit of chasing, some tug of war, a dash of capoeira style sparring, and typically ends with J-dog hitting Dr. D in the crotch. And yet, miraculously, the Poodle Breaks continue. I'm a bit more partial to the cuddling.
It's quite possible for me to go on forever about this awkward, fluffy, mess-of-a-dog we share our home with, but I'll spare you for now. Just know that I would highly suggest canine companionship for any young couple that is faced with a lifestyle-changing situation like medical school, grad school, or the professional world. I've found that it's helped us stay grounded in our home life, and we've grown closer by learning to love someone/something besides each other--it's also an affordable alternative to parenthood. It's giving us some time to warm up to the idea... the future, Mom. The waaaaaaaaay future.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

To a Safe & Healthy 4th!

Just a quick one to wish you all a happy 4th of July weekend!

We don't have anything big planned since Dr. D is now less than a week away from taking the boards, but I'm quite content to laze around and enjoy my three day weekend free of commitments. For me, the fruits of today's labor were some shockingly sassy metallic-silver fingernails and sun on my cheeks, both of which I'm pretty pleased with.

What I am not pleased with, however (and prepare yourselves because this may come off as totally un-American), are these booming fireworks that have been going off all around us all night. I'm not the biggest fan of fireworks. Sure, they're pretty to look at, but that's about the only redeeming quality that I can identify about them. They're so abrupt and loud, like angry loud. They just make me kind of indignant. A strange reaction, I'll give you that, but I can't really help it.

J-dog must have been picking up on my anti-fireworks vibes tonight... to his credit, he wasn't scared of the noises, per say, but he did give a little huff-like bark (similar to a scoff) every time one went off. I believe what he was trying to say was, "How dare you disturb my evening ritual of bone gnawing and napping at Dr. D's feet?"

I guess the other thing about fireworks that I don't like is that they've always seemed very dangerous to me. And for good reason, as this poor schmo from New York had to find out the hard way today. Here's the gist of the AP article:

Suffolk County police say 36-year-old Eric Smith was using a 3-foot long metal tube to shoot mortars from the street near his home around 5:45 p.m. Saturday.

Police believe he leaned over the device to ignite it and didn't get out of the way before an explosive shot out of the launcher. His left arm was severed at the shoulder.

Total bummer. But get this: they're going to try to reattach his arm at the hospital! Man, doctors can be so darn useful sometimes. I also happen to know that it is possible for him to regain full use of his arm... because they did it on a Grey's Anatomy episode once. I told you, Grey's will keep you up to speed on the medical world.

Anyway, have a SAFE holiday everyone, and enjoy!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Husband Held Hostage

Dramatic title, I realize this. To all of our potentially worried loved ones: Dr. D is okay.

Sort of.

All except the fact that he has been held hostage--nay!
He's been enslaved by the Step 1 Board exams for the past eight weeks. That's two months of "holy crap, our entire future depends on this 8-hour exam of brain-torturing interrogation about every stinkin' thing Dr. D has (and hasn't) learned in med school"... and there's nothing that I can do to help. Nothing. A fat ol' nada.

...aside from the whole unconditional love and baked goods thing, I guess. But I'm just not sure the empathy and empty calories are cutting it, folks.

For those of you unfamiliar with how this whole med school thing works, allow me to break down what I've learned so far about the delicate evolution of doe-eyed, ambitious med students into Dr. "Where Does It Hurt?". From what I've gathered, this is what today's typical med student can expect to go through:
  • As an undergrad, you take what you think is the "biggest test of your life," the MCAT. You frantically and bankruptingly (nope? not a word? oh well) apply to any and every med school you qualify for, and then wait on pins and needles for months to find out whether you're that lucky one-out-of-ten who gets in. You will go anywhere you get in, because you know that for every one of you that's been accepted, there are nine other people whose entire future plans have just derailed. You count your blessings, pull on your big-kid pants, and try not to wet yourself from anticipation and fear of the unknown. You try to imagine what it will be like to save lives, and you like it. But you're still terrified.
  • You start Year 1 (out of 4) of med school, and you get the urge to go back in time and slap your past-self awake as you nod off in any undergrad classes having to do with neuroscience or anatomy because DANG, that stuff is rough, and why don't you remember any of it?! You develop a deep respect for people who donate their bodies to science, while at the same time attempting to divorce yourself from the reality that the formaldehyde smell on your clothes at the end of the day comes from a body that used to live. You stuff so much knowledge into your noggin that you half-expect latin terminology to splash out of your ears if you turn your head too quickly.
  • Year 2 brings more knowledge, more applicable skills sets, and your first interactions with actual patients. You finally get to use some of the fun doctor gadgets you eagerly (and prematurely) purchased in your first year, and you are taught to do procedures that make you understand just why doctors are always washing their hands so much--they're probably scrubbing away memories. This year goes by much more quickly, and soon you're staring down the barrel of the true "biggest test of your life," the Step 1 Board exams. This exam, known colloquially as "Step 1" or "The Boards," is essentially a milestone that indicates that you've reached the end of your general medical book-learnin' and from now on the remainder of your education will come from stressed out, sleep-deprived medical personnel during rotations, residency, and beyond. In other words, you darn well better have a firm grasp of everything that was taught to you in those first two years, because from here on out you can pretty much kiss classroom learning goodbye. And say hello to the brain-eating Boards Monster, because it's planning to rock your medical knowledge foundation and see what's left when the dust clears.
Aaaaaaand that's where Dr. D is in his journey. From here, it's 3rd and 4th years of med school (which consist of rotations through the various medical specialties), then applying and moving for 2-4 years of residency (depending on what specialty he goes with), and then he can settle into a practice.

But, as I said earlier, the most immediate and pressing issue is that my husband has been studying for two months solid. I miss him. I miss our social life. And I want this exam to be over because Dr. D is brilliant and I know he's going to boards-slap that exam into kingdom come, but it's stressing him out and it's taken over our kitchen table. Ugh. Get out of our lives, Boards Monster! You're a total party pooper.

One week, and then I can have him back. Can't wait.