Working On My Old Europe Blog – Spain

Please see my latest page, all about my trip to Spain! It was a long time ago, and doubtlessly many of you have read it years ago, but here is what I’ve edited so far!

Fanciful Flight, A Diary from my 2011 European Adventure


Christmas Season ’tis Here…AlrEAdY?!?!?!

It never ceases to amaze me how time seems to, with each passing day, sprint by even faster than the day before. Really? It’s already time to start preparing for Christmas? It felt like it was only yesterday when I was getting off the plane from Japan, when I climbed out of the car after the long, north-ward drive from Alabamian boot camp, and when we were all fantasizing about Thanksgiving, tasty turkey, and heavenly pumpkin pie slices! I just got back from an entire week off – 5 days of 0 school – and yet it all seemed to evaporate, and I got a total of 6 things scratched off of my extremely long 20+ item to-do-over-fall-break list (with some items as carry-over from my summer to-do list!).

But I can’t really complain – its so exciting! The Christmas music, the anticipation of MORE days off of school, the coming of time to just worship and be with family! And all I have to do is get through three more weeks from school – should be a piece of cake right?!?


Life lately certainly has been cutting me its share of breaks: school’s work load is much MUCH lighter than it was last year (you wouldn’t think it from the number of posts I’ve been writing! Ooops…), I’ve been able to leave school early most Fridays to make my way across the state to be with the hubby and the family and friends – sometimes I’m even in time to have lunch with one of them! I’ve had the GLORIOUS opportunity to once again make my pilgrimage to North Carolina this fall, journeying this time by myself to see my awesome college friend, Stace, who is now studying crazy hard to get her masters degree in that sunshiny state.

And we went zip-lining!

And we went zip-lining!

My new roomy, whom I moved in with this August, is a vibrant, almost to my equal in craziness, full of thrilling, joyful, hilarious, tragic, and deep stories acquired from her many previous lives as a young girl in Africa, raising her kids in Cali, and working the night shifts as a nurse. Lord only knows why she’s come from afar to be in cold Ohio-school-land for 4 long years of medical school when she already knows and does so much with medicine, but boy am I blessed to have her as a roomy! Occasionally we sympathize together, whine about being away from home and family or talk about husbands and such. When I have a question about a certain confusing topic in school or when I just need to clarify something – she’s always more than happy to be there for me; she’s even taken care of me when I had what must have been my worst migraine ever!

celebrating her birthday :)

Celebrating her birthday! Same weekend as our anniversary!

To top this all off, Anne, the eldest among the sibs, is…… PREGNANT!!! Words can’t describe my joy! And, not only will I be free from school around the time of the baby’s due date, but I shall be stuck in the same local area, forced to not travel, planted in study mode in the advent of board exams that are scheduled just after the baby’s due date. Therefore, I shall be there awaiting, and most likely be present for the glorious birthingday, and most likely get to spend a few weeks with the little baby before having to go back to school. The timing is PERFECT!


I happily sat down this evening, about 20 minutes post-slog (slow+jog=slog), full of motivation to pipe through some of those things left stagnant on that old to-do list along with the afresh items from today. I put on some of that good old Lindsey Sterling youtube music – man that girl is inspiring! Dancing and playing violin!

I first heard about her via a friend who shared a link to her piece, “spontaneous me,” on my facebook wall. I opened it and was instantly mesmerized! Within the link, was a fun, full of frolickings music video which she had skillfully, but seemingly effortlessly choreographed, taking place most memorably at a playground with wide open blue skies, and little Lindsey dancing around with that violin of hers. It was beautiful!


Oh I want to be just like Lindsey, dancing around while playing out some exotic crazy song from my flute, but FIRST, I have to get through med school. One. Night. At. A. Time. But alas, I found that as I listened to her hip beats pumping up through my little laptop’s speakers, my energy was made far less focused on school than I had hoped. I sat there re-reading the endocarditis outline on Firecracker, (the review site that had conned me into spending yet another $100 or so on board prep materials) my eyes began to glaze. I had been studying the same paragraph for the past 10 minutes – pretty sure I was going at the speed of oozing molasses.

Maaaybe it was because I was, from time to time, like maybe every 5 seconds or so, clicking over to my email, or to web pages open to cyber monday deals; half the time, it was one that led to the other (advertisements – why must you torment me?!… I can only be so strong! I can only bring myself to delete the first 90 emails from Victoria’s Secret, TJ Max, or Michael’s… to name a few). And of course I had my usual issues – getting hung up on little details like Chagas disease – I was studying cardiomyopathy, but it was somehow associated with Chagas and I could NOT remember why: I tried to remember it and how exactly it was related to this dilated cardiomyopathy. I gave in eventually and googled the topic. I ended up lost in wikipidia. Finally, I found myself returning 5 or 10 minutes later to my page in the Firecracker cardiomyopathy study guide. Next, I got stuck on a detail that made no sense to me – brain just sayin’ WILL NOT COMPUTE!! Over and over I read this confusing statement on the study guide for endocarditis that said the tricuspid valve is the valve most often damaged in endocarditis…huh? What about rheumatic fever and mitral vavle damage? … so of course I had to dig up at least 3 different other review sources, (Pathoma, Goljian’s, First Aid) none of which would refute or validate this fact stated in the Firecracker study guide, unless I missed it. Why is the answer so unclear?! I just want to know if my Firecracker study guide is wrong! Ugh…  I had another 10 or so new emails, so I checked them, then, half reluctantly, half simply forgetfully, I gave up on digging any further on the topic of mitral valves in endocarditis and proceeded down the study guide. After an hour or so of this painfully slow progression, I had to surrender to my ADHD and start writing; it’s really the only compatible activity (besides facebook stalking) to do when you’ve had less than 5 hours of sleep and just ate dinner (mmm eggs), you’ll have to forgive my nonsense in this post!

My facilitator recently told me that I think in a rather scattered way; I don’t know what she’s talking about.

So, Christmas is coming! With this sweet, fantastic occasion comes the inevitable stress of procuring presents of insurmountable worth for all of one’s closest most beloved of fellow man kind. I can’t take it! I told my family that I wasn’t buying Christmas presents for them this year so don’t get me anything! That didn’t go so well. My mom gave me a rather unimpressed look and informed me that she thence expected to be getting an even awesomer birthday present; Anne sighed and stated that she had already procured a Christmas present for me (I should have known, she always seems to have present schemes drawn out at least 6 months ahead of time!); Dad laughed dryly, “I’m SURE you are.” … he’s just jaded from years of trying and failing to do the “no presents for Christmas” thing. Alas I must admit, I have already failed at resisting present buying.

Dad’s disillusionment was rightly placed… but how can I refuse to get my beloved ones presents if, on Christmas day, love means giving them stuff!? I gave in slowly – at first I told myself that I would get my family presents – but all presents would be home made and I would make most of them over thanksgiving break… well it’s after break and I can tell you that idea most certainly didn’t happen. Now its cyber Monday and I’m sending my poor hubby dozens of paragraph-long texts trying to plot out the presents. I hate it but can’t keep from it! Half of his family has already sent out actual wish lists, how can I show up to celebrate Christmas with his family with nothing to give in exchange for the gifts that they will surely be reaching over to hand me? I sent out our wish list in relpy, “we are going light on Christmas present shopping this year – too focused on the studies, but if you must have a wish list from us – know that I like Starbucks and James likes amazon!” Guilt consumes me as I think of the cliche “starving children in Africa” motif / the ones starving or freezing just down the street from me in my warm apartment, as I visualize my  opening a $30 gift card for Starbucks, or my frantic last minute Christmas shopping the week before Christmas day, throwing money at anything that looks remotely pleasing to wrap and give to the target family member/friend. Ahhhh!!

maybe I'm just not gifting smart enough...

maybe I’m just not gifting smart enough…

Maybe someday I will have more time for Christmas present making and I’ll get my wish and just hand make all the Christmas presents for my friends and family! As for now, I still don’t have an answer to this confounding of the purpose of Christmas with gift giving and the high expectations. In my perfect little hypothetical world, people don’t live through the days leading up the Christmas feeling pressured to find and wrap the perfect material gifts on Christmas day, but instead just sing and dance and celebrate together in awesome joy for the One who came to save us!

...and they will all feast on my diet jello!

…and they will all feast on my 3-layer diet jello!

And at the same time, I know I was spoiled as a child and was given a great many material presents every year on Christmas day! Susan, that cool new roomy of mine, told me that one year for Christmas she had her kids go shopping, buy, and wrap up beautiful presents, and then she told them the presents were not for themselves, but instead for children in need. She said that they all gave her a fit for this great misdeed, but they saw the good in it in the end. Maaaaaaybe… the moral of this story is that I need to train my kids to expect NOTHING wrapped up to open up on Christmas day. Ahhh I’m going to be such a crazy insane mom!

Anyway, I have rambled quite enough, I hope this blog post gives y’all something to ponder, and if anyone knows the explanation to the tricuspid valve thing… do share! 🙂

It’s Finally Happening…

It’s one of those wake-up-at 5am-Mondays to get my hubby out the door, on the road, to get to work, and now I can’t go back to sleep days. PERFECT! I says to myself… I’ll blog! see this blog has been on my to-do list for a litttttle bit of a long while now…

So I get up, I’m starving (per usual) therefore make myself breakfast, crack open that bible to get myself one meager chapter further in my endlessly long journey towards reading the bible all the way through, get lost in one of those stories about some king of Israel who did terrible evil things in the eyes of the Lord, but still the Lord helped him and His people when he begged for it, then he went right back to doing evil… #thehumancondition. Next, I finish up my good-ol’ breakfast with Jesus time, sip on some coffee that I made much too weak (Sarah – I always think of you when I do this – you’re right – there is nothing you can do about crappy-weak coffee D:). I pop up the ol’ lappy toppy, get distracted on facebook with watching a freshly posted video of a girl I went to collage with, back in my BG days (totally awesome: she graduated, and is now a hula-hoopist in Hawaii! Check it out: Next, I scroll down to a story about this homeless guy who was randomly extended an offer to receive code-writing lessons from young, ambitious, kind kid who wanted to see how this homeless man took on the challenge to learn this incredibly valuable skill (5 1/2 minute long clip, you gotta watch: I seriously like the homeless man’s answer to how he keeps up such a positive attitude: “Faith and prayer,” he answered without hesitation, “It works, try it!” The guy’s name is Leo Grand, and the kid who invested time and effort in teaching him is Patrick McConlogue. Such an inspirational story!!!

THEN, I finally open up my blog page and start typing… after almost two months of nothing… Yay!! It’s finally happening!!

Last weekend was hubby & lil sis birthday time! We threw a fun, day-long party at the rents house with lots of food and drinks, with some ice cream cake and chocolate (naturally). All my sibs were there: older sis, lil bro, and of course the birthday girl, along with the bro-in-law, rents, and my grandparents! James and I, after a lackadaisical,  PJ-full morning, had scrambled to get ourselves out the door and to the party, but we got there, almost on time!

For the main meal (lunch + dinner: l-inner), we had some juicy pork with delightful green beans and way-too-tasty roasted redskin potatoes (I was like I’m only going to have 3, mmmok 4, maybe 5… 6, What the heck! 7,8,9…). I sat down at the end of the table, next to Mammaw, where I found myself with one of those rare opportunities to speak with her for more than just, “How is school going?” small talk. It was nice 🙂 The convo started relatively slow; she asked me about classes and the newly married life. However when I asked about her an Pappaw’s health, I guess you could say the conversation took off. Next thing I knew, it was happening. My grandmother was asking me those questions all medical students start to get from family and friends right around now: those questions that we don’t really know the answer too, but we think we know the answer to, but should really get the answer from a real doctor… Over the past few weeks, I’d been encountering similar situations,…from my older sis… my mom… I couldn’t help but think to myself, “It’s happening…” just like they said it would, it’s finally happening. And it’s kind of exciting 🙂

After the meal that left us all half-comatose (oh the postprandial somnolence!). We did presents and games. The lil sis opened her array of random gifts:

  • Trader Joe’s wares from a shopping trip with the older sis (I especially liked the guilt-free popcorn!)
  • A new book to add to her library
  • Some other things I can’t remember because it ‘
    • a) wasn’t from me
    • b) wasn’t food
  • James and I got her a fun infinity scarf and the requested iphone-exercise-arm-holder-thing (technical term) – bright pink – ho-yah!

James opened his big present: a large grey plastic thingy. tee hee hee. I informed him that this was part 1, from which he had to guess part 2 (which was really huge and I kinda didn’t want to wrap). He was a little slow in interpreting, just couldn’t understand what this big plastic thing was. So we passed the clue over to Mammaw to see if she could help him out, and sure enough she dropped a huge hint, “Is it something for a bike?” Thus after lots of laughing and teasing, he finally got it: part 2 was the bike trainer he had requested. Now, I explained to everyone…after some teasing…that I may have tried to convince him he wasn’t getting the bike trainer for his birthday (what?! I HAD to – he randomly guessed it earlier that day). This may have had something to do with him not guessing the gift. Nonetheless, we gave him a hard time for it!

It was a fabulous evening! James and I decided to slip out the door for a slog (slow-jog) when everyone decided Sequence was too slow paced and the more thrilling game of Nertz was to be next. This was our out on getting sweat up. You see, my family has a special disposition towards competitiveness which especially pervades the realm of card-games.

This was their stance when we left for our run:


Playing Nertz: start of game (some, but not all, people are already on their feet)

Playing Nertz: start of game (some, but not all, people are already on their feet)

And after (notice the increase in number of “table hover-ers”)

Climatic end of Nertz (all, but one composed brother-in-law, on feet)

Climatic end of Nertz (all, but one composed brother-in-law, on feet)

Ahhh good times. The run was nice, but slightly chilly. That was a week ago. This past weekend, on the other hand, the chilliness had all but disappeared! After what seemed like an endlessly brutal winter – much more endless and brutal than usual, it was finally a gorgeous perfect spring weekend! The weather is changing – it’s finally happening!

Tons of other things are finally happening… not only does birthday weekend mean fun and good times, but it also signifies my baby sister growing up…!?! What?? My baby sister is a tall, beautiful, grown woman! She’s outta high school-out of the house (mostly)-she’s joining a sorority-she can drink in Canada-she’s going to college-has an awesome co-op job, a whole world of new friends… And that’s not even the half of it. I remember holding her in my arms, a teeny little babe – staring in awe at her teeny little fingers – each with their own mini fingernails – there’s no way I could have imagined all that has come to pass since then-and I still can’t believe it’s finally happening!

What else? Then there is my bro – that crazy son-of-a-gun finishes that last undergrad term of his with awesome grades, a certified, bonafide company of his own, and a ticket to fly standby to Berlin for a conference for invertor people (another technical term)/innovative technologies. Thus marks the end of a nearly 5 year endeavor – I know my mom can’t believe it’s finally happening. 😉

School is backing off. Anatomy and Histology, two giants of the medical school curriculum, have fallen off my plate. I have subsequently loaded my plate back up with: worry over board exams (which start a year from now), crazy, and, yes I know this sounds crazier, but I’ve started thinking about clinical rotations/residencies. 2nd years are all about to be taking their first boards, the 4th years are all about to be graduating/heading off to residency – so I just can’t help but reflect on those things a bit. Not only that, but the hubby may be re-stationed anytime between the end of my-2nd year sometime in 3rd year (but hopefully not till 4th!). I know its stupid to worry about the future, but there comes a point for every med student when they start to think about this stuff – and for me, it’s happening…ant this one might be a bit early.

But don’t let me fool you into thinking I am stressed right now… oh no, my class-load reduction has done wonders for me, as has the change in weather. I’ve taken several random mid-week trips to Dayton to see the hubby and last week we had a birthday-date-night at the wonderful old restaurant in German Village, southern Columbus. The weather is awesome, classes are much more manageable, and summer break is on its way! I feel like it’s finally happening – a brief break, a pause in the storm, and I’m loving it.


Roof-top studying in some sunshine!

Roof-top studying in some sunshine!

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Romantic B-day dinner at Schmidt’s!