Monday, March 24, 2014

Eight

 
I fell in love the way you fall asleep. Slowly, then all at once.
{unknown}
 
>>>>><<<<<
 
TJ and I quietly hit 8 wonderful years of togetherness this last St. Patrick's Day.  It passed without much fanfare or celebration (Ahem. Unlike our St. Paddy's Days of our early 20-something selves)...just a sweet little shamrock charm for my Pandora bracelet to commemorate the day we finally took it beyond the two-awkward-college-kids-flirting-in-a-laboratory phase, and actually started dating.  You know what?  I think I will take it...and all the years to come.


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Portlandia

So the age-old saying is true -- time flies...whether you are having fun or not. Fortunately, we have been squeezing some fun in the last month since I posted.  It is just hard to believe we are almost to April already! TJ has been interviewing every weekend since the beginning of February for a fellowship spot at programs across the Midwest and West.  One of his recent trips included a stop in Portland, Oregon.  I met him there and we snuck in a little bit of touring in my own Pacific Northwest. We loved Portland.
 
We loved Portland's accessibility -- we rode the street car/tram/light rail just about everywhere.
 
 
It was pretty typical PNW weather, except for one shining day where we took full advantage and ran around downtown Portland.  We tried to make a stop over at VooDoo Donut, but the line was out the door and down the block -- even mid-day! We settled for some food truck treats instead around the Pioneer Square area of town...and then went to Brewer's Block (where TJ quickly became a PNW convert).
 
 
 
We went to the Portland City Grill for dinner for the welcome portion of his interview weekend.  It was amazing.  We got there early, so we enjoyed a drink in the bar before dinner.
 


 
It was a quick little trip. My parents and brother came down for the weekend too, since we are not sure when we will make it back to the Seattle-area for a trip home.  We wish we could have stayed longer -- so many friends gave us some amazing ideas for places to go and see.  Unfortunately, it was a quick 48-ish hours in the city. 
 
>>>>>>>>>> <<<<<<<<<<

TJ is now well over half done with his interview season.  Three more to go, and all in the Midwest.  I would love to see us return to the West coast, of course. However, it really comes down to where the best place is for TJ to do finish his training, and get the best opportunity for us coming out of his fellowship in a couple of years.  Keep your fingers crossed and hope and pray for us going into May (28th to be exact).  That is how long we have to wait!
 


Sunday, February 23, 2014

The (Beautiful) Mundane

The problem with winter in Omaha is that there is nothing too exciting going on...I have been living vicariously through the instagram pictures of my friends skiing, and going on all kinds of snowy adventures.  Not that I am complaining.  I will take a little bit of this every day over the craziness of last winter (yuck. So glad I am not working and schooling full-time anymore!). 
 
We have been squeezing in some together time here and there, not to mention some beautiful weather anomalies (hello 60 degrees in February!).  It looks like the everyday mundane isn't so bad after all:
 
And a little spontaneous romantic Valentine's Day rendezvous in the hall at work -- who says real-life can't be like Grey's Anatomy? (Ahem - only in less attractive scrubs, a less glamorous hospital, and no making out on hospital grounds)
 
 
 

 Last weekend the weather was snow in the morning, sunny and 50 in the afternoon. We took advantage for sure.
 
This weekend passed a little too quickly for my taste.  TJ knocked out two more interviews between Friday and Saturday.  We went out for a little late-evening dinner when he got home to re-hash his interviews and reflect on the programs. 



Things got a little punchy with TJ being sleep-deprived and all, and we discovered TJ isn't so hot at taking selfies.
 
TJ has three interviews down, 7 more to go (he got another interview invite late last week!).  He will go on two more this week -- I get to meet up with him in Portland, where we will spend an extra 2 days there!  So pumped.
 
Happy last-week-of-February!






Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Interview season is now open!

We kicked off TJ's fellowship interview season with a trip to Madison, Wisconsin this past weekend.  This was the first of many interviews over the next two and half months.  This was one of a few I got to tag along with TJ, which is nice, since wherever we end up will be our home for the next two to three years.  It was a fairly pleasant six hour drive up from Omaha...we crossed the Mississippi River --getting to see new places left and right!
 
Madison is a really nice city -- even with the 10 degree chilly weather and snow (heck, I will take 10 and snow over 10 and no snow any day of the week).  I walked around downtown Madison while TJ interviewed.  The downtown area is sandwiched between two lakes, currently frozen over.  I can tell it would be a pretty place to live for a little bit. 
Wisconsin State Capital
 
Downtown Madison
Wisconsin State Capital
 
We like.  Everyone we met was super nice and welcoming.  We also got to get together with one of my best buds from high school.  He lives there with his wife and new baby and love it, so it was wonderful to hear their candid opinions of the university and city.  Of course, we still have lots more to go, and a couple months yet before we find out where we will end up.  However, it is the start of interview season, and are so anxiously excited to finally be to this point!
 
More to come!


Monday, January 20, 2014

Thoughts.

Things have been pleasantly nuts around these parts lately.  It is the kind of nuts that is entirely tolerable and (dare I say it?) enjoyable.  Do not get me wrong, I do like sitting on my duff and relaxing, but I have definitely discovered I like being busy and having a lot to do. It makes the down time all the more enjoyable, right? 
 
I am nurse practitionering away.  Three weeks in, I am hitting my stride a little more and figuring it out.  It takes one part confidence and two parts healthy fear to make the jump from being a back seat driver of patient care (which is what I was doing as a program manager) to being the actual driver.  There is something so immensely gratifying about knowing you are exactly where you are supposed to be.  I am so thankful to be back on the hands on patient management side of things.  I feel so much more joy rounding on my patients than I did working in an office (plus, when I go home now, I feel the tangible and manageable stress that comes from worrying about patients, rather than the stress that comes from dealing with administrative/personnel B.S. all day). 
 
Take for example: There was an explosion at an industrial plant here in town today.  Omaha's mass casualty response plan was activated, which meant we were on alert for multiple casualties coming in (as a Level 1 Trauma, we are always on alert for trauma, but this steps it up a notch).  Fortunately, it was not as bad as it could have been, and the plan worked perfectly (it aims to distribute the injured patients across the hospitals and resources in town).  I live for this kind of thing -- it is not that I want you to get injured, it is that I want to be there when you do.  I like managing these kind of these patients.  If I can make them feel a little less vulnerable, a little less scared, and a lot less in pain, I have done my job for the day. Like today :)
 
In other news, we are seriously a house divided.  The Seahawks (being the fair-weather fan that I am) versus the Broncos (TJ, who almost cried when they won -- my poor hubby has been waiting and rooting for years for this to happen).  Stay tuned for the results of this one.  We may have to make a healthy wager on this game!
 
Also, TJ's interviews for fellowships start on February 7.  Fingers crossed and prayers all around as we embark on this interview season.  I am keeping an open mind and considering all our options this time around -- I have learned over the years that things end up exactly how they are supposed to be.  He is still waiting to hear from a couple of places, but has a very healthy amount of interviews that will take him all over the Midwest and West.  So ready for this adventure to start!
 
Happy Monday friends. Hope it was slightly less exciting than mine was!
 
 
 


Monday, January 6, 2014

When it feels like -27 outside.

When it feels like -27 degrees outside,  you throw all caution to the wind and have a warm gooey cinnamon roll for dinner. True story.  Throw your resolutions for fitness and healthy eating to the wind and have yourself a piece of goodness...with a nice little dollop of icing on top. 
 
(disclaimer: I am no food photographer.  Obviously.  Pardon the pitiful iPhone pic)
 

These cinnamon rolls came to be after I came down with a flu-like illness on Friday and spent the entire weekend under a warm blanket on the couch with no appetite.  On a frigid Sunday morning, I finally felt like eating something, and that something was in the form of my mom's cinnamon rolls.
 
I croaked my way through work today (and muddled...day 4 of being a nurse practitioner) with the end in sight being one of these babies.  Trust me when I say you need these in your Winter life. 
 
Mom's Cinnamon Rolls
 
Dissolve in 2 cups lukewarm water:
--2 packages dry yeast (I use rapid-rise packets for the best results)
--1/2 cup sugar
Let this sit and activate for a few minutes (usually around 3-5 minutes).
 
In a mixing bowl add:
--2 cups flour
--2 tsp salt
--the yeast/sugar/warm water mixture
Mix for 2 minutes (I use the paddle attachment of my stand mixer for this part).
 
Add:
--2 eggs
--1/2 cup vegetable oil
Beat 1 minute (Use the paddle attachment for this part too, then change to a dough hook).
 
Gradually add:
--4 1/2 cups flour
Stir with each addition of flour until dough is formed (it will be sticky). 
 
Turn dough out onto floured surface and knead for 3-4 minutes. 
Allow dough to rest for 20 minutes.
 
Roll dough out on floured surface (1/2 inch thickness). Soften up some butter or margarine (I use margarine for all my baking...I am no purist...this will take about 1 stick) and spread this over the rolled-out dough.  Sprinkle entire surface with brown sugar, cinnamon, and raisins (I omit raisins sometimes) -- be very generous here!  Roll dough up into a log and cut into 1 inch rolls (I use floss to help me cut).  Place rolls into a well-greased pan.  Cover and let rise 50 minutes to 1 hour in a warm place (I spray cooking spray onto Saran Wrap and loosely cover, then put a warm damp towel over the top of the whole thing). 
 
Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Cover with foil for the last 10 minutes of baking to prevent the tops from burning. Top with your favorite icing.  Enjoy!
 
(P.S. You can totally use a hand mixer here if you don't have a stand mixer.  Just hand-mix the flour in at the end)
(P.P.S You can also half this recipe easily...which is what I did on Sunday.  Less temptation to down the whole pan that way!)

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Welcome 2014!

sparkling
It is hard to believe.  2014 is here to stay.  It has the potential to be a huge year for us for many reasons -- this is the year TJ interviews for a spot in a specialty surgery training program (also known as a fellowship).  This is huge.  It will be the year where we find out where we will spend the next 2-4 years of our life (which sounds oddly familiar to the tune I was singing more than 4 years ago for residency).  We will be hoping and praying our little hearts out for a great program in a great place. 

2013 was a crazy whirlwind year, as usual, with a LOT accomplished all around in our little neck of the woods. Let's reflect on the little goals I set for this past year:
1. Positivity.  In light of many of the events this year, locally/regionally/nationally/globally, I have made it a priority in 2013 to NOT read any comments on sensational news stories, negative stories, or plan old snark in general.  Done and done....and so much for the better!
2. Flexibility.   This could go many ways.  Yoga, yoga, and more yoga.  As well as in my job, relationships, and scheduling. Done-ish.  I have been incredibly flexible with work and scheduling....but my hammies are incredibly tight -- yoga to the rescue in the new year! :)
3. Productivity.  The Master Procrastinator strikes a lot at my house.  A lot.  With six months to go to nailing down my doctorate, now is the time to be uber-productive.  Less distractions, more doing.  More running, more cooking, more studying....In progress (said like a true procrastinator!)
4. Lovability.    Taking out small moments to love on my husband, love on my family, and love on my friends.  Poor TJ puts up with a lot.  I am kind of a bear sometimes. Isn't love always a work in progress?  This has been our best year yet, in terms of time together.  Especially the last six months.
5. Employability.    I put on my cap, gown, and earn my hood in May.  The end-all-be-all until then is to study-study-study so I can fly through my board exam, as well as find an awesomely wonderful job.  A big, fat, DONE on this one!  Graduated. Passed boards.  Working as a nurse practitioner. Woot.

* * *

There will be no resolutions for 2014. Just a nice little motto for the year:

I began to realize how important it was to be an enthusiast in life. If you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it full speed ahead. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it and above all become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good. Hot is no good, either. White hot and passionate is the only thing to be.
Roald Dahl

White hot and passionate indeed.  Let's do this 2014.

image via