Monday, May 28, 2012

Fully Engrossed

Well friends, I finally jumped on the The Hunger Games wagon! I seriously don't think I've ever read a book so fast because I wanted to. Deadlines may have forced me to read quickly before, but this book had me engrossed from the very beginning. I am so glad I didn't start them before school ended because I would have been a useless teacher! Just kidding.

I highly recommend reading the first book. As of right now I cannot speak for the second and third book, but you'll be able to ask me soon :)

This weekend we drove up to Paris, VA for the Delaplane Strawberry Festival (more on that later!). Jim left today for home and I stayed to ride up to PA with Willem and Phoebe. You may not hear too much from me for the next few days because I'll either be reading furiously or visiting with family.

P.S. My summer has started! I have a few more things to do at school and then I'll be officially done.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Belated 26th Birthday

 Yes, it is that time of the year again! Jim's birthday was on Thursday, May 17th. Some of you may remember the tradition we started last year. You know, the one where Jim makes up some dessert he's sure doesn't exist? The reason behind this being that he doesn't really want anything for his birthday, so why not make it as difficult for me as he can, right? Fair enough!

Well, last year it was a banana carrot cake and he was surprised when I actually found a recipe and made it. This year he decided on a mint chocolate chip cheesecake! I had never made a cheesecake and so I was a bit apprehensive. AND I cannot believe the ingredients needed to make such a rich, delicious thing! Almost very kind of cream was included in the ingredients: cream cheese (not 1, not 2, but 3 packages!), heavy cream, and sour cream. He was a bit shocked when I was collecting the ingredients at the grocery store!

Anyway, it turned out to be great! We had some friends over for the afternoon and they enjoyed it with us. He had decided earlier in the week that he would rather have his birthday dessert on Sunday.

 I am sorry to say that I didn't take any pictures of the birthday boy with his treat. Suffice it to say that it was a hit and he's already brainstorming another "impossible" dessert for me to make for next year.

I enjoy these challenges because I've learned how to make icing from scratch, crust from scratch, and cakes I wouldn't have come up with on my own! Keep 'em coming, babe!

He's almost done with his second year of medical school! This also means that he will be DONE with the classroom portion of his studies. He is more than ready to get out of the classroom and into some practical situations. Before beginning his rotations, he takes the boards (aka Step One) on July 7th this summer. This is a nine hour test, all multiple choice, and all on one day. This tests holds the highest yield content questions of any of the medical boards. This is the first of four tests and, so we've heard, the most painful of all.

Needless to say, Jim will be, and has been for at least five months, occupied with long and intensive study sessions during the next month. He's also been taking a board review class for four and a half hours every Tuesday and Thursday for the past month. The life of a medical student...

I am so proud of his work and diligence so far. Happy 26th birthday, Hon!

Camping in Kachemak Bay, Alaska. Summer 2011

Monday, May 14, 2012

Lessons & Shock

2012 hasn't proved to be an easy year so far.

My injury coupled with my grandpa's cancer is just a bit too much...

There are a few things I've been learning and continuing to learn in the five months of this year so far:

  • There's no substitute for a great conversation.
  • It's okay to cry.
  • There IS time to just drop everything and go.
  • Work and school can be the greatest therapy and include the most detrimental stresses.
  • There is a season for everything.
  • Everything that needs to get done WILL get done (it just may happen according to a different timeline)
  • People/students need you to be consistent.
  • Lyrics that never had any meaning can speak directly to my heart.
  • It's so important to have good friendships and support networks.
  • Stick to your guns and cover your bases.
  • Go straight to the source.
  • Having your own vehicle is a glorious luxury!
  • There IS time in each day, you just have to prioritize.
  • People will surprise you.
  • Sometimes storms just need to blow over.
  • Make the most of the time you have.
  • Campfires have a way of bringing out conversations you never realized you'd have.
  • Money is money.
  • Periods of turmoil can lead to new skills and abilities.
  • It's okay to ask for help.
  • Time for yourself is only healthy.
  • Sometimes just being there is all you need to do.
  • You don't have to wait until summer to relax.
  • Stay in touch with the people you can't live without.
  • Pray. When it seems there's nothing you can do,  remember to pray.
Okay, maybe I didn't have a "few" things. I have a lot of things and I'm sure that many of the lessons haven't been included in this list because I honestly haven't realized I've learned them yet! Some of this may seem quite cliche and obvious, but I've learned these lessons again and again. Right now they seem to be so much more fresh. 

Unfortunately, I am a very stubborn person and so many of these keep beating at my door throughout the days, weeks, months, and years. Some are like old friends who I greet and allow in the door, but I only entertain them for a short while. It's like I'm willing them to return again in just a few short hours because I am too thick-headed to willfully allow them to touch me deep inside. 

I've found that any sweet song brings me to tears and any encouraging song gives me the energy to move forward. Music is one of the few mediums that can cut straight through me and into my core, no matter how driven I am that day.

This weekend I had the opportunity to visit my grandpa in the hospital a few times, stay with my grandma, and have long conversations with my dad in the car to and from Pennsylvania. I am so thankful to my principal for being understanding and allowing me to take Friday off even though my SOL (state test) is on Wednesday. 

The days and evenings filled with conversations with Grandma were hopefully as great for her as they were for me. We needed each other. The time spent in the hospital with Grandpa talking, sharing pictures, and just being was more than wonderful. 

I will never forget two things he said while we were there:

1) "Tell Jim I love him and that he will do just fine on his test." Grandma was so shocked that he said "love" because he seldom speaks of love to other members of the family other than her. He shows his love in other ways. The test he spoke of was Jim's board exam that he'll take on July 7th.

2) "You're a SUPER-looking chick and I love you!" This was spoken right before we left the hospital. I answered "And you're a very handsome man" but he laughed and smiled and said," You must be joking. Now you're just kidding with me!" How fantastic it was to see his humor return and his spirits so high! He is one sharp cookie.

I cannot wait to get back up there again soon. But I know that the lessons I've been learning assisted me in getting there last weekend. One thing's for sure, those lessons will only continue to strengthen and knock on my door. It's easier to let them in sooner rather than later.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

He's a "Sharp Cookie"

  ....that grandpa of mine!

This 91 year old is strong, determined, steadfast, diligent, talented, intelligent, stern, goofy, creative, musical, and loved by many. My prayers and thoughts flood to him, Grandma, and the Tippery Pines crew right now; I can't wait to be with you on Friday.

 The following are my favorite sequence of pictures, perhaps ever.

Thank you to Lucy O Photo for capturing those moments!

Grandpa and me- I've always looked up to him from day one.
He's a model of strength and hard work, as well as a talented musician and athlete.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Call of the River

Oh joy of joys! I love mail. A friend from college just returned from her Peace Corps experience in Senegal and sent me a package. The first thing I pulled out was in the picture below. This quote is perfect for this blog and its blogger!

"The river has always appealed to the imagination. The sound of the brook has been music to the boy with the fishing rod. To follow a brook to its source has furnished enjoyment to many a lad. Following a river to its beginning has tempted many a man to perform a courageous deed. Hudson, LaSalle, and many others are historical testimonials of this lure.

The inventor, too, has heard the call. The stories of Fitch, Rumsey and Fulton are proofs of those who have answered it.

As civilization has progressed, the river has demanded that man harness its power, control its floods, and store its excess waters. The genius of many an engineer has been summoned to carry out its demands.

The river has been an inspiration to the religious man. The poet has sung of its beauty and the artist pictured its grandeur.

Adventurer, explorer, fir trader, pioneer, engineer, inventor, soldier, sailor, artist, and poet, one by one have answered its appeal. Each one will continue to respond in his own best way to the end of time."

In her note she says that she found this at her favorite used bookstore and it reminded her of me. I italicized that last paragraph because it really struck me to the core. The pictures are fantastic, too. This will soon have a place in a frame in our house.

And THEN I pulled out this beautiful apron!

This gorgeous apron was made by her tailor in Senegal out of one of her holiday outfits. How neat is that?! I am so touched by and grateful for these gifts. Thank you, Jennie!!!


My INR was at a 2.2 on Tuesday! I'm staying on my current dose and will check back with the family doctor on 5/15. Next Tuesday (5/8) I have an appointment with Dr. Marrufo, the neurologist, and so we'll learn more then.