Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Brain Candy

I'm very proud of myself. I completed everything on my "to-do" list for the day, including cleaning the fish tank and going for a run. I even completed things not on the list for today.

So I am rewarding myself with a little time to blog.

I am also taking a break from the slurry of posts on reality TV to revel on a true love: books.

I love reading. However, I have a very different attitude about reading than some of my family. I read rather silly books, usually light hearted adventure novels. My dad only reads serious philosophical works or historical non-fictions. What is more important? That we read serious books, or simply that we read? I stand firmly behind the second opinion.

For the first several years of my marriage, I never saw my husband read a book for pleasure. He read plenty of textbooks, but he admitted he had never read for fun, and had not read a novel since high school. However, after much coercion, I started him on the Harry Potter series. Since that moment four years ago, he has read a book at night almost every day. Admittedly, it is usually still Harry Potter, but I love to see him read so much, that I don't say, "Haven't you read that four times already?" (Since I have too, and don't want to draw attention to that fact.)

I read non-school related material purely for fun. If I'm not enjoying reading it, and I don't real relaxed after reading, I really don't have the time to waste on it at the current moment. It doesn't need to make me think (I am required to do plenty of that for real at work). I read for one purpose: escapism. I find I actually sleep better after a dose of "brain candy" before bedtime.

I think everyone would.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

How Embarrassing

If there is anything more embarrassing than admitting my love for reality TV, it would be having two posts in a row that focus on it.

But, since we are only hours away from the premier of Amazing Race, I really have no choice. So, for today, there are no deep thought, no improvement of the human race, just my guilty pleasure.

There are episodes of Amazing Race when I have harbored feelings of infidelity to Survivor. Since Survivor was my first love, nothing should knock it out of first place. But Amazing Race always attempts to. It is the only show where I have mentally dappled with the idea of applying. I know it will never happen.

But I am often envious of the places the contestants get to travel, and the things they get to do there. And Keith would be awesome at the challenges. (I, on the other hand, would only be a team liability, since I have the upper body strength of a guinea pig, despite hauling two screaming children out of Wal-Mart.)

The advantages Amazing Race has over Survivor: it is purely your skills that can take you to the end, not the scheming of others. The variety of locations within a single season. And the chance I get to pamper my wanderlust vicariously.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Biggest Show on Earth

We took Roman and Blaise to the circus on Saturday.

I remember going when I was a little girl. I'm not sure where I went (Barnum and Bailey?, Circus Circus? I'm not sure), and I'm not sure who took me (my parents, my grandmother, my grandfather, I can't remember). But I still remember the magic: the acrobats, the music, the horses.

It's wonderful to be able to give our boys the same wonderful memories that we have.
Of course, Roman has been excited since he found out we were going about a month ago. Blaise probably would have been excited, if he really understood what a circus was.

It was great fun. Roman laughing at the clowns, gasping appropriately at the trapeze artists. Blaise squealing over the animals and the lights. (Although Roman did get scared every time they turned out the lights, and Blaise's great mood only lasted until intermission and the elephants.)

Ready for the show to start

Having tons of fun

I can't think of anything better to take the boys to. It was fast paced and loud. Nobody told us to quiet the boys.

Personally, my favorite part was the aerialists. Roman's favorite was the acrobat who walked across monkeybars on the ceiling with his feet. Blaise's favorite was the elephants. I think Keith's favorite was the motorcycles in the metal cage. It was all great fun.
And hopefully the boys will have great memories.

Enjoy the video clips from the circus (Sorry, the sound is terrible, but the pictures are great!)

The Show Begins!

My Favorite Part (Aerialists)

The Cage


The Elephants are here!

First Confession

I have neglected this blog for long enough. It's not that I haven't had anything to write about. To be completely honest, I have been mentally running through ideas to post nearly every day. But the last month has been very busy, and I was worried that if I started posting here, I would never sleep.

I'm pretty sure my husband dreads the idea of me writing another blog. I already spend more time than is rational on our family blog. But I have so many ideas and thought to share that have no right hanging out on a family blog.

So here we go...

My first confession: I love reality television. I know, I know. I've read plenty of columnists blaming the downfall of television quality and our qualify of life on reality TV. But ever since I was overcome with morning sickness six years ago, and watched Survivor: Africa, I've been hooked.

I do try to watch with moderation. So far my list included Survivor, Amazing Race, Design Star, and America's Got Talent. I have, much to the dismay of friends, avoided American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance, Dancing with the Stars, and Project Runway. After all, there are only so many hours in the day, and someone really should watch the children.

But Survivor: Gabon started on Thursday, and Amazing Race starts back up on Sunday. So now is the perfect time for me to relish in my guilty pleasure.

Survivor, for me, was the initial reality television show, and everything else is just a spin off. I love the exotic locations, the mind games, and the challenges. My husband and I always wonder how good we would be at the challenges.

Not that we will ever find out.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Cascade Springs

I love fall.

And there is no better way to enjoy it than a day up the canyons.

View towards Sundance

We wandered a little bit further this time, up to Cascade Springs on the Alpine Loop. There was a forest fire there in 2003, which there is still plenty of evidence of, but the springs are still just as beautiful as ever. There were areas that still looks the same as they did when I was a little girl.

Views of waterfalls

More waterfalls

We went with Grandma, Aunt Auralee, and the little girls. The weather was perfect, the leaves just starting to unfold their autumnal glory, and the children happy. Roman and Galilee spent the time gathering up all the "beautiful leaves." And Blaise, yes, threw rocks (and leaves and sticks) in the water.

Blaise, doing his best to fall in

All the children (well, almost)

Now, there's everyone: Mom, Auralee
Roman, Galilee, Spring, Laurelei, Grace,
And Blaise

It was very relaxing to enjoy the start of a new season with people I love. And to share a place I love with my boys.

What a darling!

More handsome every day!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Tennis, Anyone?

Well, I did it.

I just finished my stent in the intensive care unit. And I didn't have a break down the entire
month. That in itself is quite the achievement, since I had one every other day during my pediatric sub-internship (just another sign I was not meant to do pediatrics). The call schedule was absolutely exhausting: 2 out of every 3 days are on call, and then the next one recovering, and then you're back on before you realize what has happened. But still, I had a great time: I saw amazing patient cases, learned a ton, and was able to participate in the camaraderie of the ICU.

And I just completed my final call night of medical school. That is reason to celebrate on its own!

On to the fun now...

This is going to be a great weekend. Hiking, the circus (!!), getting together with my family, Survivor starts (see my other blog for more detatils), and maybe some tennis.

For those of you who don't know, Roman has been taking tennis lessons through our local recreation center. He has had one month of lessons so far, and I just signed him up for another month. He loves it. He doesn't duck from the ball, doesn't get frustrated about the learning curve, and overall has fun. And he has improved quite a bit. He can return a serve, has a decent backhand, and has returned balls with enough force to cause a few bruises.

We have started playing tennis together as a family a couple of nights a week. Which has been wonderful.

If Roman enjoys himself, we have another activity to do together, and it gets us active, it is all worth it.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Zoo, Picnic Style

We made another trip to the zoo today, for a company picnic.
So despite the cooler weather, the on-and-off-again rain, and the wind, we were there.

I really love the zoo.

Although Blaise just wanted to run through it this time, stopping only for a second at each animal. I remember Roman doing that when we were in San Diego several years ago (has it really been that long?). Blaise looked at the elephants, and then said, "Let's go see the giraffes."
Then we looked at the bears, and Blaise said, "Let's go see the giraffes." And so on, and so on, until we got to the giraffes (which of course I don't mind, because I love the giraffes to!). Because the weather was cooler, we actually saw almost all the animals (they weren't hidden away inside from the heat.) It was very cool to see the snow leopard and the Siberian lynx.

The rain didn't discourage anyone, because it was very intermittent, and it left the most wonderful entertainment for Blaise...

Splashing in the puddles

We rode the train, and the new carousel. The carousel is fantastic, with nearly every seat a different animal. Roman was one a snow leopard kick, both riding one on the carousel, and then getting his face painted like one.

Blaise on a giraffe, of course

Roman, on a snow leopard

My own little snow leopard

Afterwards, in the evening, when Keith's company was giving out prizes, Keith actually won one, which is the first time in the seven years he has worked there. (Dinner and a hotel. That should be fun!)

And the great side effect of the day out: the boys are exhausted, and went to sleep without a fight!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Sooner Than Anticipated

Well, that happened quickly.

I submitted my residency application on Sunday, and then promptly tried to forget about it. Take a mental holiday from the stress and palpitations associated with the entire process. I assumed that I wouldn't have any news to write about for a month or so. But not to be.

It is only Wedn
esday, and I've already received 4 (!) interview invitations. And confirmed 2 of them. Suddenly everything is happening so fast. But this is going to be an exciting time. My first interview is on November 10. I will keep you updated with interviews, dates, outcomes, and opinions about the whole process.

I really should take this opportunity to brag about Roman. That's what this site is all about after all. He has gotten 100% on all of his spelling tests so far. And he is reading amazingly. In fact, he is reading what I'm writing about him over my shoulder, despite it being past his bedtime.

Monday, September 15, 2008

School Update

Well, I finally did it. I submitted my application to residency on Sunday. Technically, the system opened on September 2nd, but I was waiting for two more letters of recommendation to come in. I wanted to send a perfectly complete file. (Well, that's what I've been saying. In reality, taking the next step was enough to send me into palpatations.) But after my last letter came in on Friday, I had no more excuses. I diligently checked through all the forms, and clicked "Submit" Sunday afternoon at 1 pm.

I applied to 17 programs, and 8 transitional programs. A transitional program is like a glorified extra year of medical school; extra because I will rotate through a variety of specialties like pediatrics, OB/GYN, surgery, just like in third year. Glorified, because I will get financial compensation for my time (Money!). A transitional year is a one year program that very specialized fields (anesthesiology, radiology, rehabilitation) require before entering your selected specialty. It helps keep even specialists well-rounded. After that, there will be three years of anesthesia training.

Hopefully, in the next month, I will hear back from the programs, and schedule interviews. I will keep you all updated about where I'm headed to next.

A little exciting news (and the opportunity to brag about myself for change), I was accepted into AOA (Alpha Omega Alpha), which is the national medical student honor society, for the top 15% of medical students. It really felt like recognition for the extremely long study hours for classes, rotations, and boards.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Cecret Lake

Yes, that's Cecret with a "C" (although I did find a website saying that the National Parks map has it as "Secret." But since all the signs at Alta and the trail head said "Cecret," we're going with that.) I'm confused at the name. The lake is no secret, since the parking lot was packed, the trail full, and the noise level at the lake did nothing to contribute the the feeling of "getting away from it all."

However, the hike was gorgeous. Some of the levels on the bushes are just starting to change, there are still plenty of wildflowers, and the temperature was cool and perfect.

The only thing that's a little frustrating is that, while I remembered my camera, I forgot the memory card, so I have no pictures to share with you. Which makes me sad, because of the amazing views, the color of the water, and the delightfulness of my boys.

The hike up took much longer than it should have, since Blaise was determined that he arrive at the lake with a full arsenal of rocks for throwing. No amount of coercion could convince him that there would be plenty of rocks at the lake, without him bringing the trail gravel with him.
But we eventually made it, and Blaise once again got to do his favorite thing (throw rocks into water. See previous hiking entries.)

Roman and I hiked around the lake, and we found salamanders! I've seen them before in the high mountain lakes, but this was a first for Roman. He kept shouting "I can't believe it! I'm seeing salamanders for the first time!" I really like tiger salamanders. They have an amazingly unique life cycle. We saw mostly the larval forms, with their large external gills. We did see one adult form.

The hike down was much easier, taking less than half the time up, since we had convinced Blaise to say good-bye to the water.

I can't wait to go back to the Albion Basin next summer (if we are still here for residency.) I here that it has the best wildflowers on the Wasatch Front. If anyone knows differently, let me know.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Auralee's and David's Birthday


Auralee and David are two of the people in my family that have birthdays either on the same day, or one day apart.

I can't believe how old my siblings are getting. To me, it feels like no one has gotten any older since I moved out after high school. So, I have a really hard time realizing how old they are.
But Auralee has turned 22 years old today, and David turned 14.

My beautiful sister, Auralee, with my darling niece, Laurelei

The birthday boy, David

It was wonderful to be able to get together as a family. We always try to get everyone together for birthdays. And we were able to get all of my siblings together. What a party!

Oh, and some very exciting news. Auralee announced yesterday that she is having a little boy! So I will have a new nephew late December!

Friday, September 5, 2008


This is one of my favorite poems, so much so, it has become a life philosophy for me.


Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself to others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

-Max Ehrmann, 1952


I've decided that I would like to start sharing my favorite poems, quotes, pictures, and books with everyone as well. I'm just wondering if you would like me to just do it here, in the family blog, if that would be easier. Or, I can post them on another blog, so that this one can be devoted to the boys. There would be a link to this blog at the bottom. Please let me know, by posting comments. For now, they will be on my other blog (Confessions of an Optimist).

And tell me if that is not the most beautiful picture you have ever seen.

Millcreek Canyon

So it turns out this ICU thing isn't so bad.

I'm only half serious. I've only had one call night, which anyone survive. I'm sure that I'll adjust my opinion and get back to you with my true feels in 6 more call nights.
But I also have half days every three days, and a day off every six days, so I've actually been able to see my family.

Silly, cute boys!

Today, being my first day off, I picked the boys up from daycare right after Roman got back from school, and we drove up Millcreek Canyon for a little hike. I love Millcreek. I think it's my
favorite canyon. The creek is shallow, the trails are not steep, and the trees are beautiful.

Looking up the trail

Is there anything more magical than brotherhood?

Or more magical than childhood?

Today, I kept having the feeling that we were in the Hundred Acre Woods, with my very own Christopher Robins.

We hiked through the maples, ducked under elderberry bushes, and even played "Pooh Sticks" over and over. Roman won almost every time.

My very own Christopher Robin

The perfect "Pooh Stick" bridge

Monday, September 1, 2008

End of Summer

Well, I guess that autumn really wanted us all to know that summer was over.

Here it is, September 1st, and the temperature has plummeted, the weather is blustery and rainy.
I'm sure that things will warm up, but it sure felt like an abrupt end to the loveliness of the past several warm months. And a reminder that winter is just a breath away.

I'm starting a rotation in the intensive care unit that lasts the remainder of September. So, if anyone wonders why they haven't heard anything new from us in a while, it is because I am back to eighty hour weeks and spending every third night at the hospital (q-3 call, in doctor talk). But even if it is going to be tough, it is only one month. And I'm sure that I'll learn a lot.

So, see you at the end of September.