Sunday, November 30, 2008

Cold Weather

It has been hard to get out and play with the cold weather and the early dark. (Seriously, dark at 5 pm. How am I supposed to do anything?)

As far as actual weather goes, November has passed fairly mildly. The days have been cold, true. But not bitterly so. There has been no snow. (No tears shed here.)

Today, we decided enough with the indoors.

We bundled the boys up for a little outdoors activity. (Which meant church parking lot.)

Wow. That kid gets cuter every day!

Roman and Keith played baseball.

Keith pitching, Roman batting

A successful hit!

Blaise rode his bike.

This is Blaise's "bike."
He does have a trike,
but he's just a little too short still.

And Blaise was perfectly content to ride his bike, until he noticed Roman playing baseball. Then he had to get in on that. He was reasonably good at taking turns for the first few times. Then he decided he was done sharing, and ran off with the ball and bat.

Blaise, done sharing

At that time, it was time to go inside. But mission accomplished: time outside!

A Girl Moment

This weekend, I decided to cater to my inner adolescent and go and see Twilight.

Okay, I'll admit that I was excited for it. I loved the books, the reviews weren't too bad, and many bloggers (like here) said they liked it.

So, I took my mom and my sister, and prepared to enjoy a truly girl moment.

I liked the movie. Despite the reviews that said it was flat, and would only appeal to die hard Twilight fans. And even then, it might still disappoint. I still liked it. Even my mom liked it (and believe me, that's saying something.)

The characters were well casted, the story line true to the book, the soundtrack fantastic. The special effects were a little lacking, bordering on cheesy. But who cares, when you can look at Edward Cullen?

I was sure that since the movie came out last week, I would be able to get through the movie without the, um, "enthusiastic" viewers who went during the opening. But apparently, that was not to be. When Edward first made his appearance on screen, there was a wave of whistling and squeals. And every romantic scene was accompanied by more squeals and nervous giggles. (Seriously, is this the first silver screen kiss these girls have ever seen?!)

I thoroughly enjoyed my girl moment, and look forward to the DVD release.

Happy Thanksgiving

I know that is post is technically a little late, since the four day weekend surrounding Thanksgiving is almost at its end.

But I've been enjoying the time with my (big) family and my (little) family to make it to the computer and write.

Thanksgiving was wonderful. Nearly my entire family made it to my parents' house for the Thanksgiving meal. (Everyone except Auralee. She and her husband spent the holiday with his family.)

Thanksgiving Dinner:
In this shot (left to right around the table)

My mom, Keith, me, Mercy, Brooks
(Blaise and Grace in the background)

Thanksgiving Dinner (Left to right, again):
Brooks, David, Christian, Trelawney, Salem
(and part of Rebekah, and part of my mom)

The kids' table: (front to back)
Galilee, Gwendolyn, Ariana, Spring, Roman, Blaise, Grace, Ansel

My contributions to the meal this year were very minimal. I made the candied yams (they are so good, I'm not sure why we eat them only once a year.) (Oh, and my dad, who while I was making yams kept reminding me that he didn't like them. Then he said that this was the first year he thought they tasted good. I think it was the cloves. Or maybe the vanilla.)

I helped make pie crusts, and brought the ice cream to go with the pies.

I also provided the idea, and some of the work for the centerpieces. I do love a beautiful table-scape. (My inner hostess/designer coming out.)

Don't you love the pumpkin "vases"?

Keith made mashed potatoes. Because he makes the best mashed potatoes, not just in the family, but ever. Truly.

So, as the holiday weekend wraps up, and the Christmas frenzy starts (oh, I love Christmas), I will share what I am thankful for.

I am thankful for my beautiful boys, who have helped me become grounded, responsible, and have brought more love and joy into my life than anyone has the right to have.

I am thankful for my wonderful, amazing husband who has supported me through medical school and every other difficult moment. He probably is the only man in the world who could put up with me.

I am thankful for my parents. The older I get, the younger they seem and the better friends we are. My mom is always there when I need someone to call when things feel just a little too hard.

I'm thankful for all my brothers and sisters. Yes, every. single. one. of them. Everyone has taught me something different and I've had such unique relationships with all of them. I wish the best for them.

I'm thankful for my education, my future, my home, and my health. On a nearly daily basis, I come into contact with individuals who no longer or who never had these things.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Before the Holidays

Every year, Christmas items show up in stores earlier and earlier. Some stores are barely letting Halloween hold the spotlight. And Thanksgiving? It's really just an excuse to have crazy sales.

I'm not really complaining. Although I do think that having Christmas displays in October and Christmas carols playing November first is a little ridiculous, I love Christmas. That right. Love, love, LOVE.

But I always try to pace myself. I don't play the carols or put of decorations at home until it is good and truly December. And I try to not buy anything until after Thanksgiving. You know, just making sure every holiday gets its due time.

And this year, I did pretty good. I only bought two rolls of beautiful wrapping paper and two (okay, fine, three) presents (which were way too cheap to not buy at the time). (And if I see the perfect wrapping paper, I have to buy it, regardless of what season it is, because it is slim pickins' later in the year. And the quest for the perfect wrapping paper never ends.)

But in two days, I will not have to make excuses anymore.

Let the holidays begin!!

And Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Problem with Being Cheap...

Recently, I decided that I couldn't afford to keep buying books at the same rate I was reading them.

(You know, with times being what they are, we all have to cut back.)

So, I went somewhere I haven't been since I first got married: The library.

And at first, it was great. I checked out six books, and it didn't cost me a penny. I nearly skipped out to my car with my armload of $100+ worth of books.

I was able to finish Le Guin's series.

I started the Inheritance cycle.

And that's where the joy ended. I was able to get the first two Paolini books without any trouble. But the third book. Well, that's another story. The book just came out a few months ago, and there is not a single library in the valley that currently has it on its shelves. I reserved it, only to be told "Your queue number was 659."

I think it is going to be a while before I get that book. At least the free way. The book is only $14.86 at Costco (Hardcover!). It is very tempting. Especially since I can't really read anything else while I'm mid-series with other books. And since I can't really write a great post about the books until I've read the entire series.

Needless to say, this is a dilemma.

Maybe I'll re-read Twilight, waiting for the other 659 people to hopefully quickly read Brisingr.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Back Home Again

After nearly six days on the road, and a horrible lay over in Chicago, I am finally home from the first league of the interview trail.

Overall, I think it was successful. I have also gotten over my travel and interview jitters, so I think things will be much smoother from here on out.

For those who don't know, this last week, I interviewed at University of North Carolina, in Chapel Hill, NC, and Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, SC.

And I forgot my camera, which was a shame, since both cities were absolutely gorgeous.

Chapel Hill has a very small town feel about it. It has a lot of red brick buildings with black shutters and white trim, with brick sidewalks and low stone walls. The city also has a policy that buildings can't be taller than the trees, which makes the entire place feel even more small town. There are a LOT of trees.

I spent quite a bit of time wandering up and down Franklin Street, which is right next to the UNC campus. Franklin Street has all these great shops and restaurants.

Old Well, symbol of UNC

The department put me up in the Carolina Inn, which is a historic inn in the heart of the UNC campus. The inn is absolutely gorgeous.

Carolina Inn

Charleston, SC is a beautiful city. Unfortunately, because of the location of my hotel, I was not able to do much exploring of the town. But I walked around the marinas. There is Spanish moss hanging from all the trees, and palm trees everywhere. Gorgeous.

Arthur Ravenel Bridge in Charleston

Historic Downtown Charleston

More views of Charleston

Spanish Moss

There is also a grocery store chain called Piggly Wiggly. Got to love a place where stores are called that.

On a side note, I love the Charlotte Douglas International Airport. It has rocking chairs instead of benches, for "people watching."

But I'm glad to be home. I can't believe how homesick I became.

I'll keep you posted as I continue out of the interview trail.

(Of note: As previously mentioned, I forgot my camera. So all photos are courtesy of the wonderful internet.)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Mark Twain

Before I go out of town and completely abandon both my family and this blog for an entire week, I thought I would leave some parting thought.

These thoughts come from the brilliant mind of Mark Twain, who always has a quote that fits my mood when I being particularly sarcastic.

So, ponder on these:

"Supposing is good, but finding out is better."

"The trouble with the world is not that people know too little, but that they know so many things that ain't so."

-Mark Twain

On the Trail

I haven't done a good job of writing anything extremely interesting in the last several weeks (which stems from a lack of doing anything interesting in the last several weeks.

For the last four days, Roman has been home with the flu. Poor kid (and he was the only one in our family who did not get their flu shot.)

Starting tomorrow, I'm leaving to start out on the interview trail.

Technically, I've already done two interviews. But since both were at Utah, I didn't need to go anywhere, and thus did not include either in my interview tally.

But tomorrow, the great adventure starts. Actually, it could be a great adventure. I'm going to go to places that I've never been, meet new people, and be wooed for a job. Should be great. But the fact that I am going be to traveling alone, away from my darling family for up to a week at a time, figuring out cabs and hotels by myself, and the stress of interviewing itself just makes me want to get it over with.

I think both my interviews last week went well.

I'll keep you posted about the programs I interview with in the future.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


While I'm on my fantasy kick, I decided to re-read some books that have been sitting on my shelf for years.

My grandmother got me a collection to Ursula Le Guin books while I was in middle school and on a huge science fiction reading kick. Let's just say I wasn't entirely pleased, but did read them. I had forgotten much of the details, but remembered that I enjoyed them, and was excited to read them again.

The first three, A Wizard of Earthsea, The Tombs of Atuan, and The Farthest Shore are a must read for fantasy lovers. The style of writing and epic adventure story line reminds me of Lord of the Rings. The "main" character, Ged, is an amazing hero, that I really want to support. Each of these stories can stand by themselves as an individual story (unlike the Lord of the Rings trilogy). However, reading them in order adds a depth to each successive book that would be missed otherwise.

I was excited when I found out that Le Guin had continued the series with Tehanu, Tales from Earthsea, and The Other Wind.

However, after reading Tehanu and Tales from Earthsea, I must confess that I'm not as excited to read The Other Wind as I previously was.

The collection of stories in Tales from Earthsea was a great collection of short stories, each with intriguing characters and interesting plots.

However, the difference between the original three books and Tehanu is striking. You can tell that Ursula K. Le Guin has undergone some personal changes. The book lacks the epic adventure that was at the heart of her first three books, moving at an often painfully slow pace with adventure and plot development few and far between. The book does focus on roles of male and female in society, not so carefully disguised under the cloak of magic. The theme was intriguing for me. Unfortunately, the story line, while interesting in parts, was not enough to engage the reader.

The interesting thing about these books is Le Guin's incredibly original twist on dragons and their origins and relation to people. (Sorry, no plot spoilers here.)

I still plan on reading The Other Wind, just because there is no way I can leave a series unfinished.

So my final recommendation: Read the first three books. They are FANTASTIC. But feel free to stop there.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

High School Musical

I would like to give a shout out to my younger siblings (well, they're all younger.)

I just went to see my brother, Christian, and my sister, Mercy, in their high school production of Hello Dolly. I know that many of you also went to see the play.

Christian was Barnaby Tucker.

And the play was fantastic. The singing was great, and the costumes were fantastic. It was the best high school musical I have been to. And it is not just lip service because they are my siblings. I've been humming "Put on Your Sunday Clothes" and "Hello Dolly" ever since.

I would also like to "publicly" congratulate Christian on his first place win in his division at the Utah Shakespeare Competition. I know that it was a couple of months ago, but still. Congratulations, Christian!

I have very talented siblings.

I recognize that there has been a slight post drought lately.

Between being gone...

Views near Aneth, UT

Looking back towards Montezuma Creek, UT

My dad with "his" dog

And the cold weather, and the earlier darkness, we have not been able to get out and do anything lately.
The craziness that is residency application ends in a few months. Things will be much more interesting after that!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Female Ego

We hear a lot, A LOT, about the male ego.

And supposedly this explains the majority of their behavior. Anything from problem fixing, chest thumping, job ambition, remote controlling, and door opening all arises from the sometimes frail male ego.

But we never hear about the female ego.

I never thought about my own personal ego until about 5 years ago. Before this, my feelings go hurt, I studied hard, and tried to fix my friends problems, not from an ego stand point, but because I was female and I was me.

I first became aware that I had an ego just as fragile and ambitious as any male when I went to medical school.

As an undergraduate, I think that all pre-med students are used to being at the top of their classes. I know that I was. I did better than most other students and had the grades to show for it.

So I entered medical school with these same expectations, even though I don't think I had ever given them the time of day to properly define them.

However, after our first anatomy exam, I scored right in the middle of our class.

And at that time, I realized that I am only an average smart person.

My egotistically way around this was to study harder than the above average smart people. And it paid off for the most part.

I am writing about this because I just had another run in with my ego. I got my first interview rejection. I wasn't necessarily bothered by it. I hadn't planned on interviewing at Stanford anyway. (And honestly, I'm not just saying this because they turned me down). The cost of living is ridiculous in Palo Alto, and there is no way to afford a home that my family desperately needs. But I wondered why the rejection carried with it a little bit of a sting. Being completely honest, that's because I liked to think of myself as Stanford material. And to have Stanford tell me I'm not hurts my ego.

I'm going to go nurse it with some plane tickets to a program that wants me.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Two Places at Once

There is a problem with having two blogs.

When I initially started blogging, I, like so many other busy parents, started one to keep friends and family updated on the comings and goings and life-happenings of my little family. I regularly post photos, school events, and birthday parties on my family blog.

(I have also poked and prodded nearly all of my family members to start blogging as well, so that I can keep up with what is going on in their lives. It so far, has been to no avail. Although three of them have set a blog, none of them have posted since the day they first logged on.

But that is neither here nor there...Just a continuation of my guilt trip.)

I initially started this particular project when I felt that I had more to share than was appropriate on a family newsletter type blog. I wanted a place to talk about books, poetry, quotes in particular, random thoughts and life in general.

And it has been great so far, each blog respectfully maintaining its boundaries.

But I find that there are some topics that don't pigeon hole as nicely as I would like them too. Do I talk about the election on this blog or the family blog? (I decided to write on both.)

When I am feeling overwhelmed by the joy and struggles of parenthood and career and marriage, do those thoughts belong to my family, or to the more anonymous world of this blog? I'm not sure.

The blogs have more defined roles than my thoughts do.

While I work that out, I will share this.

That I am fiercely proud of my children. Even now, after and in the midst of the messes, power struggles, teething, and frustrations, I am deeply in love with them. I tear up when I am presented with drawings done especially for me. I feel the heart crushing pride at each new idea, statement, leap of faith, and step of independence.

I love my children.

Heart Swell

Right now, I am almost 400 miles, 6 hours by car, away from home.

I am finishing up my last week on the Navajo Reservation working on my project about diabetes among the Navajo. You know, a nice, small, easily definable topic (please note the sacrasm).

I just realized that this may be my last time that I ever come here. While it is not the most beautiful place in the world, the people are amazing, the history and culture deeper than I will ever be able to comprehend.

I just got off the phone from saying good night to my darling boys. I can't believe how grown up they sound on the phone, when they are stripped away of the visual misperceptions I have, that they are still babies and it is 2 years, 6 years ago, and nothing ever changes.

Blaise chatters in his sweet voice that he painted at school. He, still requiring a little coaching from Keith, says "Love you Mama," and "Good-bye" before his two year old attention is called back to the couch cushions.

Roman tells me which state flag he is currently coloring. (Are there other six year old boys who ask for a print out of all the state flags so that he can color a few of them each night?)

Our conversation:
Roman: I'm drawing South Carolina's flag.
Me: Oh, really. Guess what? I'm going to be going to South Carolina in a couple of weeks.
Roman: Wow! Really? Pause. Do they speak a different language in South Carolina?

I ask him how his spelling test practice is going.
Roman: Hey guess what?! I can spell animal!
Me: Really! That's great. How do you spell it?
Roman: A-L, no wait, I messed up, A-N... Well, I know what it looks like. It looks like "an-I-mAle." And I'm still having trouble with "flower."

I can't believe that I can have conversations, REAL conversations with my son. How did the time ever get by me so fast? I still get the feeling I wasn't watching close enough. And suddenly, I am having conversation about how much he likes the Utes football uniforms because they are black.

And there is only one way to describe the funny ache in my chest that is a combination of overwhelming love for my children, the pride I have in them, and the pain and glory of watching them grow up:

Heart swell.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Yes We Can

I have attempted to make this blog a random collection of thoughts, opinions, and self-reflection.

I have attempted to avoid politics (despite how much I talk about them personally).

But tonight, I will say that I feel priviledged to have seen America come together and vote a black man into the highest position in the United States.

Regardless if you are for Obama or McCain, big government or small government, for the war or against it, this is an amazing milestone in not only our history, but the history of the world.

I know that there is no perfect politician. That promises made on the campaign trail are mostly empty. That there is more red tape and interia against change than there is for it.

But I will say that when I listen to now President Obama speak, that for the first time I can remember, I feel hope. That things will get better. That I can stop being so afraid of what the future has to offer my children. That finally, I have reason to believe that we can make a better world.

And nothing has made me feel like that in a very, very long time.

Having been raised in a extrememly "red" state, by conservative parents, I have always considered myself conservative, right-winged, red, or any other label you would choose to put on it.

But today, I am proud to have contibuted to what I feel is finally, a reason to hope.

Yes we can.

Historic Moment

I have seen something happen that I did not think would happen in my lifetime.

I wasn't born when women won the right to vote. I was not alive during the Civil Rights movement. I was too young to remember the Berlin Wall coming down. I felt that with so many historical moments in the past, that there was little I could imagine happening in my lifetime.

But I have seen that America elect the first black president.

However you voted today, whatever your opinion about Barack Obama, whatever your view on the war, the economy, healthcare, or education, you have all seen history made.

I will be able to tell my boys, although they are too young to remember it, that it happened in their lifetime.

And that is truly great.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Tickle Me Pink, or blue, or yellow...

Apparently, I have a lot of free time on my hands.

I don't really, I just think I do.

Apparently, I have time to read random blogs, take online personality tests, and watch cooking competitions. So really, I should have time to put away the growing pile of laundry, write my research paper, finish some of my art projects, and cook dinner.

However, is there anything better than online personality tests? This one is interesting, since it is based on colors. Apparently that fact that I like blue more than purple, and lime green more than gold says a lot.

Like that I'm an "Organizer" and a "Persuader."

My husband's only comment: "You really need a test to tell you that?"