Friday, October 29, 2010


Yes, it's a Friday evening. And yes, I'm blogging. It's all thanks to that silly little device Dr. D has clipped to his hip.

Dr. D is on surgery call this weekend. When he first explained it to me---something along the lines of "yeah, I'll get called in if someone's appendix explodes"---I was like, okay... there aren't that many appendixes in this town that are ripe for the rupturin'. Right?

Unfortunately, there was at least one. We were all set to go get frozen yogurt for a mini Friday night date when his pager started to chirp at him, in far too chipper of a manner for a date-ruiner, if you ask me.

I know I should probably prepare myself to have a lot more Friday nights end up this way, but I'll allow myself to be indignant at least this once.

Pagers. Seriously. Who uses pagers any more?

For any of you 30 Rock fans out there, I'm reminded of the following exchange between Liz Lemon and Jack Donaghy:
Liz- "Okay, very funny. You bought a pager from Dennis. Will you take it off now, please?"

Jack- "Oh, I can't. I'm expecting a call from 1983."

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Overworked. And?

This evening over dinner, Dr. D and I noticed that when we shared our days with each other, there was a similar theme: we are feeling overworked. A little ragged, if you will. Frazzled.

We concluded that I'm overworked and underpaid, and Dr. D is overworked and overpaying. Gotta love that mounting med school debt.

Still, as I sit here with a napping husband on the couch to my left, and a napping poodle at my feet below, I really don't know that I would change anything. These are just growing pains, really. We've come so far, grown so much, and taken on a multitude of responsibilities over the past couple of years. Honestly, it's a blessing that we have jobs and school to complain about. It means we're on our way to becoming the people we set out to be, and we're doing it together. How cool is that?

Dr. D is now in his surgery rotation, which will be a lot more hours spent at the hospital and a lot more on-call time for the next four weeks. Once that's over, he'll spend the last two weeks of the rotation shadowing an ENT surgeon (ear, nose, throat). I'm trying to mentally prepare myself for some nights spent alone while Dr. D sleeps at the hospital in the on-call room. I couldn't even type that sentence without my brow furrowing and my lip pouting. Not looking forward to it.

What I am looking forward to, however, is the new camera I'll be getting in the mail tomorrow. Yes, I bought a new camera. My old one is malfunctioning (or "playing hurt" as I prefer to call it, because I refuse to get rid of it), and I need something that's fully functional because...

This weekend I was asked by some friends to be their official wedding photographer! So stoked. And nervous. But mostly stoked.

Can't wait to test this new baby out on some fall leaves before I shoot their engagement session :)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Vacation's Over

I'm coming off of a fantastic extended weekend vacation filled with so many of my favorite things: my wonderfully witty husband, my giggly and loving parents, the city, and far too many indulgently delicious meals.

It's really no surprise to me that the resulting post-vacay weekdays have been extra blah. As wonderful as it is to see our family and friends from home during our precious times of vacation, it feels like such a tease when the visit ends and the reality hits that so many of them live so far away from us. Saying "see you later" is really just no fun at all.

Still, what a blessing to have those moments together when we can. I love being able to show off our home and our Midwest stomping-grounds. The laughs (and calories... yikes!) will certainly sustain us until the holidays.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Water, water everywhere?

Photo from charity: water

As Dr. D and I grow together and begin to have those grown-up conversations about what we want to do with the rest of our lives, it seems like "helping people" comes up as a major theme. But my goodness, sometimes it can be so difficult to nail down exactly how we want to go about doing that, especially when there is so much to be done.

Obviously, Dr. D is well on his way to learning some incredibly valuable skills that will inevitably help people in the future. When the goal is to help people, the medical profession is a great place to start. But he and I have known for quite some time now that we want to do something more, beyond a profession, beyond work-hours. We feel called to help under-served populations in some capacity, mostly in relation to health. For Dr. D, this will most likely take the form of free clinic work, both domestically and abroad. But what can I, the non-medical partner, contribute?

I suppose a good start would be to support him in those endeavors, and to volunteer and do some legwork where I can be used. But I think I'm coming to realize that beyond that support and the limited help I can provide as a volunteer, I can also offer my words. I can attempt to make others in my life aware of great need by writing about our experiences, and the causes that we are passionate about.

Today, Blog Action Day 2010 is giving me that opportunity. Dr. D and I have been following the efforts of an organization called charity: water for a while now, whose goal is to bring clean water sources to people around the world who have none. And it just so happens that this year, clean water is the topic of Blog Action Day, which is an effort to unite bloggers all over the world in the dedication of one day each year to talk about one particular issue affecting humanity. So I'd like to take a quick moment to join that conversation.

Almost a billion people in this world don't have access to clean water, and 42,000 people worldwide die
weekly from using and/or consuming unsafe water---a vast majority of them are children. Organizations like charity: water or, or even general ones like UNICEF or World Vision are doing great work to bring clean water to these people.

Clean water is truly something that I take for granted daily. I hope that by the time Dr. D and I are finished with this world, we have helped not only to cure people of illness, but prevent them from illness by helping them get the clean water they deserve.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Good Fortune

Dr. D is now officially 1/3 of the way through with his core rotations. That's two rotations down, ladies and gents!

He was really fortunate with this rotation. First off, he loved it (who knew?). I think it had something to do with the fact that he got to---

Now don't read this next part if you're squeamish, y'all.

---staple a woman closed after an emergency c-section on his first day. Yes, in the strange and twisted world of medical matrimony, this is something that the medically-inclined partner celebrates and the non-medical partner simply tries to smile and nod without setting off a gag reflex. The other great thing about this rotation was that Dr. D pretty much never had to serve on overnight call. That's a total anomaly for the Ob/Gyn rotation because, I'm not sure if you're aware, but babies come into this world whenever the heck they feel like it, completely ignoring business hours/common decency. Rude babies.

Ah, but I did just say Dr. D was "pretty much" never on call, because unfortunately the doc he was shadowing decided to cash-in yesterday, of course, on Dr. D's very. last. day. So anyway, he helped bring 5 babies into the world yesterday. They finally started wrapping up the baby-catchin' around 4:30 this morning, so needless to say, today was a day of naps for my darling husband. Tomorrow, he takes his Ob/Gyn shelf exam, and then it's on to surgery rotation next week. He's basically chomping at the bit for this next rotation...

You know, there should really be a better saying for that in this context. Itchin' at the scalpel finger? Scrubbed to the elbows? Cinched at the scrubs bottoms? I dunno. He's ready. That's all.

In other news, we just had a wonderful dinner from one of our favorite take-out places (I'd like to think of it as brain food for the shelf exam tomorrow morning), and I found this during our traditional post-meal fortune reporting:

"All decisions you make today will be most fortunate."

Yep. That's the same fortune Dr. D found in his fortune cookie on the day he proposed! How strange, I feel like I was talking about that only last week...

Oh, Life. You amuse me.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Cure

Ten years ago today, at 3:12pm, the 15 year old version of myself stood completely still amidst the chaotic chatting and crowded, frantic changing of the girls' locker room at the end of a 7th period gym class. I stared quietly at the slip of paper in my hands, frozen on the outside and pulsing with electric energy on the inside, as I read the last line again: Will you be my girlfriend?

Little did I know then that my answer could have been, "Someday, I'll do you one better."

* * *

Flash forward seven years later, three years ago from today (only
three years? It's amazing how time has the capacity to feel simultaneously fast and slow). Dr. D and I had been planning our trip to the bay area for quite some time, to visit friends and to celebrate seven years of togetherness. We explicitly agreed: no presents.

There were many times over the course of that weekend trip that I should have caught on to what was happening, but I remained blissfully unaware until the very moment that it happened. I suppose my first indication that things were not what they seemed should have been when, on the day that we were supposed to leave to drive upstate, Dr. D surprised me with two plane tickets. I hated flying. As in deathly afraid, need to be medicated kind of hate. Also, I was perturbed because we had said
no presents.

He assured me that he didn't care about the gifts, he just wanted to get as much time out of our trip as possible and not waste it on driving. It was the first flight we ever took together, and as I sat in my window seat, hand-in-hand and forehead-to-forehead with Dr. D, I remember realizing that it was the first take-off in years that I wasn't thinking about dying---I was thinking about life. With him.

To an outside observer, the next clue that this weekend was more than it appeared could have been discerned by the gourmet dinner that was served to us that evening in our friends' home. Mr. and Mrs. S (who at the time were still Mr. S and Miss B) provided us with a decadent feast of orzo, Cornish game hens, and wine. I'd like to defend my continuing obliviousness by pointing out that the two of them have always been gourmands in the kitchen. Still, how could I not notice the twinkle of a secret in Mr. S's eye?

The next day was our anniversary, so we set out to explore San Francisco. First we stopped to get sourdough sandwiches (a must, of course), then we went to Golden Gate park and had a picnic on a park bench and laughed at the antics of the ducks in the pond---I believe the polite word for it is "twitterpated". Next, we went to the Japanese Tea Garden to explore, take silly self-takes with my camera, and of course have a little bit of tea. As we read the fortunes from our fortune cookies, Dr. D had a good laugh over his and shared it with me: All decisions you make today will be most fortunate. I didn't really get the joke, but he seemed absolutely tickled.

One might think that all of this sounds a little over the top and dripping with romance, but as you've probably learned by now, Dr. D is the king of romance. In fact, he's more like the doctor to the lawyer to the king of romance. That's how good he is.

Oh, and you ain't seen nothing yet.

Later that afternoon, we found ourselves driving the dangerously hilly landscape of the city, and as we reached a red light, Dr. D turned to me and said: "I'm gonna need you to get out of the car."

I abruptly stopped singing along to the mix CD that Dr. D had made for the trip (a standard practice... are you even surprised at this point?), and just stared back at him, not sure if I heard him correctly. Turns out, I did.

"Really. You need to get out of the car, go into that hotel on the corner--" Oh look, sure enough, that's a hotel-- "and ask them for their day spa. I made you an appointment."

I really don't recall what I said at that point. I may have sputtered something along the lines of "Whaaa....?", but that was all I had time for because the light turned green, and with the further instruction of "Just go!", I did exactly that.

But not without managing to call out to Dr. D through the open car window as he drove off: "We said NO PRESENTS!"

Incredibly disoriented and in a bit of a daze, I walked through the hotel lobby, inquired about the whereabouts of said day spa, and took the elevator to the penthouse level, which opened up into what I could only assume was, well, a day spa---I'd never actually been to one. Approaching the frighteningly smiley and friendly hostesses, I attempted to explain myself.

"I'm not really sure what I'm supposed to be doing here but my boyfriend was driving and then we were in the middle of the street and he said get out of the car and he told me that I should come here and tell you that he sent me here for something but I really have no idea what and I... it's our anniversary." I figured the last statement could somehow clarify all of the verbal diarrhea that came before it.

Still smiling, one of them nodded and said, "Of course, we're expecting you. Please have a seat in our waiting area."

I sighed with relief, and looked in the direction of the waiting area---directly into the eyes of my best friend since childhood, Dot. She waved sheepishly.

OKAY. This is when I figured it all out, right? I mean, Dot lived back down south near us, so the fact that she just miraculously appeared in this day spa in SF made it all too completely obvious that Dr. D was up to something huge, correct?

Nope. I still didn't figure it out, because I remembered that Dot had told me a week earlier that she would be in the bay area at the same time that we were, for a family member's birthday. "Dr. D told me he wanted to do something special for your anniversary, and since he knew I'd be here, he asked me to come to the spa with you!" That's how Dot explained it, and I took it for face value, no questions asked. Ah, naivety.

We had a wonderful time getting pampered, and as the session came to a close, I noticed Dot was periodically texting someone. At this point, I knew there were probably more surprises coming, but the biggest one I could come up with was this: Dr. D had secretly planned a nice dinner for us with some of our friends in the area. I mean, our friends are a big part of our lives---our extended family---so why not include them in our celebration?

I wasn't even all that shocked when Dot and I were picked up from the hotel not by Dr. D, but by Mr. S instead. We must be going to meet Dr. D at the restaurant, I thought to myself. Still, my friends were remaining suspiciously tight-lipped, so I decided to ask them where we were headed.

"I don't ask questions, I just do what I'm told," said Mr. S, cryptically. He and Dot managed to spend most of the car ride talking about anything and everything that didn't have to do with where we were going, so I had very few chances to interject with periodic questions about what was happening. It was useless anyway, because my questions were ignored. I was equal parts annoyed and thrilled.

Finally, Mr. S parked the car near the bay coast line, and I could see the Golden Gate bridge standing impressively in the near distance, gilded in the light of the sun that was beginning to set. I followed Mr. S and Dot as they began to walk towards a grassy meadow next to the water (a place I would later learn is called Crissy Field), and I remember thinking to myself that this was a very strange place for a restaurant.

I eventually noticed that we were walking towards someone, who appeared to to be holding a bouquet of white roses. As we got closer, I realized the person was... not Dr. D. It was one of his roommates, Palex. In a recurring theme of the day, I realized that Palex was strangely in SF when he was supposed to be back at home. He handed me the bouquet and pointed to a single long stemmed white rose on the ground a little farther away from us. "You should start following those," he said, grinning.

In that moment, I don't know what I thought was going on. All I know is that for some reason, I was still under the impression that this was all a very extravagant anniversary gift. And again, I found myself horribly under-prepared in the reciprocating gift department. How embarrassing.

I started to walk towards the first rose, but then remembered about dinner, and turned back to the three friends who were with me. "Aren't you guys coming?"

Maybe I'm remembering this part a little more dramatically than it actually happened, but Mr. S could have just as easily have been playing the role of a dewy-eyed karate guru or sage wizard sending off his protege to face the wonders of the world for the very first time. He said to me meaningfully and with great weight to his words, "This next part... is for you."

I began to walk and collect the roses. Each one of them had a slip of paper attached to it, and similar to the manner in which Dr. D asked me to be his girlfriend seven years earlier, each slip of paper had part of a poem written on it. This poem incorporated small pieces of lyrics from some of our favorite songs into a retelling of our story as a couple. It was beautiful, and my heart was beating faster with each rose I collected. Between the first and second rose, I noticed another one of Dr. D's roommates, JZ, in the far distance with a camera. At this point, I wasn't even surprised to see new friends cropping up. I was just grateful.

As I moved from the fourth to the fifth rose, a man who I didn't recognize and who was walking (of all ridiculous breeds) a wiener dog, called out to me.

"Are you looking for the cure?"

Having no real idea what he was talking about---or what I was actually looking for, for that matter---I found myself thinking, Is this part of the plan? I mean, am I? Am I looking for the cure? Is this a metaphor?

Turns out that the look of confusion on my face was enough for him to clarify: "The Cure. As in, the band."

"Ohhh! Um, no thank you. I'm just looking for my boyfriend." So it turns out he wasn't some cosmic metaphorical messenger. He was just a stranger with an affinity for 80s music, interrupting a girl's proposal (yes, in case you hadn't figured it out by now---like I still hadn't at that point---this was a proposal).

I made my way towards the last rose, and beyond it I could see Dr. D standing on the beach. As I began to walk across a pedestrian crosswalk to collect the rose and read the last stanza, I was very nearly run into by... well, another one of Dr. D's roommates, Lui. He looked absolutely shocked to see me (it turns out he didn't realize that he was going to be walking right through the action, he thought he would simply catch up with us after it was all over), and realizing he was probably infringing on a "moment," he didn't respond when I said hi and instead ducked his head and doubled his pace, power walking right by me. For those of you who don't know him, allow me to assure you that this was a perfectly fitting, Lui-esque contribution to the experience.

After I read the final stanza, I approached Dr. D on the waterfront and could see that he had set up two stools. Next to one of them was an acoustic guitar. My immediate thought was, That's weird, Dr. D doesn't play the guitar.

All I could think to do was smile and say, rather lamely and unromantically, "Hello." Dr. D took me by my hand and guided me to sit down. He then sat down as well, picked up the guitar, and began to play a song---the words to which I had just collected, attached to the roses.

Oh my gosh, he learned to play the guitar for me. He even wrote me a song. This is the most perfect anniversary present ever! I was surprised, joyful, and completely and totally in love as the sun set over the Golden Gate to the tune of our song.
When the song ended, Dr. D took my left hand and looked into my eyes. And it finally clicked. (Better late than never, I suppose.)

He's proposing.

He pulled a small blue box from his pocket, and in it was a promise. A lifetime. And I said yes.

* * *

It later occurred to me that maybe that man with the wiener dog was there for a reason. Not as if to say that it was part of the plan for him to be there to interrupt me---I checked with Dr. D, and the gentleman was certainly not listed in the approved cast of characters. No, what I mean is that he was meant to be there on that day, at that specific time, to ask me that specific question because Dr. D was (and still is) my cure.

Happy anniversary to the man who, quite simply, has been making my life better for the past decade. I'm so glad to have found you so early in life, and my life is healthier for it.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

It has fruit, so it's good for you.

Remember how a couple of weeks ago we had a ton of apples? Well, Dr. D and I managed to crunch our way through most of the bushel (peck? I still don't know) and this weekend we found ourselves with only a few left. Honest to goodness, I had every intention of doing wonderful and extravagant things with those apples. Really I did. Yet most of them were simply consumed in their natural, raw form.

But today something got into me. I remembered seeing this website my friend Heidi linked to on her blog called Ming Makes Cupcakes and, despite my complete lack of any sort of cupcake making experience, I decided to give the apple cupcakes a whirl.

Boy, am I glad I did. Dr. D was glad, too, and even gave it a health stamp of approval: "Well it's got fruit in it, so it has to be good for you." My thoughts exactly.

Mine didn't turn out quite as pretty as Ming's, but they are a perfect compliment to the crisp fall air that rolled in this weekend.

Here's the recipe if you'd like to give it a try. It was very easy, even for a cupcake novice like myself. Enjoy! (click on the recipe image for a larger version)

Friday, October 1, 2010


My week has become progressively more awesome since I started this whole TWIA thing. It seems like each day I have more and more trouble narrowing down exactly which "little thing" to feature.

For instance, today I took the afternoon off from work because it was the first day in a long time that my schedule wasn't completely packed. Awesome. And today is Friday, so that's innately awesome. Also, our friend Dr. S defended is dissertation this afternoon and we got to celebrate with him and eat delicious free food. All of these things are enveloped in awesomeness.

But the thing that made all those parts of my day awesome to the nth degree? The distinctly autumn feeling in the air, the fresh crunch of leaves on the ground, and the first day of my favorite month here in the Midwest: October.

Mmm... I love me some October. I think it's a perfect way to end my awesome week.