Memorial Day

Last weekend was Memorial Day – and because I now work in outpatient, I had it OFF! I headed north to visit my uncles, their significant others, my cousins, my first-cousin-once-removed, and my grandmother. First I met the newest addition to the farm family – Bucky, the “young stupid Old English bulldog”-boxer mix. The a/c was going full blast, so he and my cousin were cuddling on the couch:


Outside, it was warm and humid – perfect planting weather. Here is an action shot of the farmers:

After having a tasty Memorial Day lunch, Granny and I headed a few miles down the road and managed to track down Richie and Alice, a couple of my relatives. They are excellent musicians and travel between Minnesota, Ohio and Florida, so it was quite a feat to find them! But we did and delivered some old sheet music. I’ve never seen anyone so excited about sheet music 🙂

After that, we had a short week of more work and orientation. I love my job because every day is similar (same coworkers, same basic type of work, an hour-long lunch)… and yet dramatically different. It’s a family medicine clinic, so the patients really can have everything from ear infections to becoming pregnant to end-of-life cancer pain. Most of what I am doing is problem-solving – connecting patients to providers, getting prescriptions refilled, responding to requests, etc, which requires lots of chart research and talking on the phone. I love it!

It was a busy week socially. On Wednesday we went to a History of Medicine talk at a beautiful historical home in Rochester (the Louis Wilson home) up by Assisi Heights, overlooking downtown. A beautiful view and a beautiful evening…

On Thursday I had smoking martinis with Chris and Nicole at 300 First so they could use up their gift card. Chris was working hard… but don’t worry, I’ll take him back sometime.

Last night I went out with my coworkers to celebrate a doctor “graduating” to another clinic (he will actually be working with Chris sometimes).  I thoroughly enjoyed sitting on the patio with some coworkers enjoying the sunshine and looking forward to the weekend. After that, the Chris, Nicole, and I saw X-men: Days of Future Past, which I thought was excellent. Of course I think pretty much anything with Hugh Jackman aka Wolverine is excellent. Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique really grew on me, and there is no shortage of other compelling actors in this series.

I am getting so excited about France!! Our departure is coming up before too long so I have been flipping through the guidebooks my mother-in-law got me (Frommers and Rick Stevens). Through listening to Rosetta Stone, studying a book, and using a French kids app, I have acquired some very basic French although I’m sure my accent is “tres terible.” But at least I don’t feel as lost as I would if I were going to, say, China.

Finally, I will close with a picture of my adorable doggies.  Aren’t they the cutest?!


Ready, Set… Go!

Last weekend we celebrated medical school graduation. While Chris graduated last year, most of his friends did an additional master’s degree (MPH, MFA, MBA, social work…) and either graduated this year or will graduate next year. The sweetness of celebrating graduation is tempered by the bitterness of goodbyes. So many goodbyes…

Here is a picture from our friend Nicole’s fantastic graduation party with me and several of our good friends and grads: Abby, Nicole, Larisa, and Yingying:

Tuesday was my birthday; Chris brought me Vietnamese food at work! He had to work evening shift and I went to a church meeting, so it was a pretty staid birthday.

But the next day we had some people over. It was a weeknight, so we had pizza, icecream cake, and rock band and went to bed at a reasonable hour – HA. Here is a picture of me blowing out my candle (we had only had one candle in the drawer):

I got some great b-day presents including Thor 2, some awesome Paris guides, some beautiful pictures for the wall, and money for our Paris trip which is right around the corner….!!!!

Today I did something very out of character for me. I signed up for and jogged the MedCity 5K, and made it to the end with only 1 episode of walking. If you must know, my time is available online… let’s just say I did better than 12 minute miles (but not by much). I ran into my classmate Diana and her boyfriend Dan at the race. Here is a picture of us  (Diana’s feet were hot so she took her shoes off):

If a picture is worth 1,000 words, this is at least a 3,000 word blog entry. So farewell for now… more updates next time! 🙂

Crawfish Boil and Clinic Nursing

Last weekend I went to a crawfish boil. Every May, Dr. N has his annual crawfish boil, right when it’s cool enough for the crawfish to keep but warm enough to party outside. Still, a Minnesota May is never quite as warm as you think it’ll be. It’s either too cold or too wet or both. No amount of poor weather can dampen the Minnesota enthusiasm for a party. We ate crawfish (correct spelling: crayfish), shrimp, corn, potatoes, wine, beer, and all kinds of other tasty treats.

Here is a “throwback picture” of me and Chris at this event back in 2011

And here is a slightly blurry picture of me and my friend Rachel with some live crayfish this year.

Now the reason I was able to be present at the crawfish boil was my fantastic new schedule. Yay! Yes, I started my new job last Wednesday and it is going great. 

During my first shift, my manager had me shadow different members of the care team. I never realized just how many people it takes to coordinate a practice like this; nor did I realize how much goes on behind the scene. This Monday-Wednesday I had ambulatory orientation – 8 hours of computer time and several useful classes and skill practice sessions.  I was back on the floor the last couple days, working on prescription refills and care reviews. I am slowly getting the hang of how everything works together.

Last night we had our end of the year Bell Potluck. We were supposed to bring a dish starting with the first letter of either our first or last name. So Chris and I decided to bring both Butter Chicken (tasty Indian food) and Brownies. Here is a picture of many of the ringers and our fearless director.

And today was the last day for my Bible study – a tasty potluck, a fun slideshow, and a great speaker. I think May is right up there with Christmas as far as busyness and socials go… but I’m not complaining in the least! I am so thankful for all these wonderful people, and look forward to celebrating more of them next week! And some other things as well 😉

Of Pilgrimage and Plays

Last week I made a trip to Colorado, partly to see my sister act in a play… partly to go on a pilgrimage.

My mother, grandmother and I had made this pilgrimage once before. I remember a hot, dry summer, and dust, and beautiful statues, and Mexican food – and not much else. Like apparently we never did get any sopapillas at that Mexican restaurant. Still, when I was thinking about “things I wanted to do,” reenacting that adventure was at the top of my list. And thankfully my mom made it happen.

A pilgrimage is best with other pilgrims. Take the Canterbury Tales – there really wouldn’t be any Tales if you didn’t have more than one pilgrim! My mom agreed to accompany me and we set off early in the morning, driving south as the rising sun beat in our windows. Sure enough, we got to share our stories… although thankfully nothing Wife of Bath-worthy.

Pilgrimages should be long and difficult. We were time constrained, so we chose to drive over 3 hours rather than walk barefoot along I-25. Pilgrims should eat simple food, and we did try. We stopped for coffee and bagels and cream cheese in the dusty town of Walsenberg. We couldn’t find a good “cream cheese” knife so we bought a really sharp one. We figured we could use it to fend off any bandits or wildlife. Then we headed West, past beautiful views of the Spanish Peaks, and then south to San Luis.

We began our ascent up the craggy trail, stopping to read the scripture passages and gaze at the stunning 2/3 life size sculptures by sculptor Huberto Maestas. I’m sure the guy got sick of casting crosses after 5 or so, but he did a stellar job communicating the pain and beauty of Jesus’s journey.

At the top, we gazed at the scene of the crucifixion.

Many people had left things there – rosaries, hair ties, rings. I hadn’t brought anything to leave, but I suddenly wished I had – some kind of tangible mark, an offering.

We walked around the side to the interpretation of the resurrection. Not all Stations of the Cross include the Resurrection, but it is the most important part. We sat at the foot of the sculpture and prayed for the future, for our plans, for guidance…. Alone at the top of the mesa with the most beautiful view imaginable, we could feel God’s presence and peace filling us with  joy and hope. He is risen, He is risen indeed! As we look forward to new jobs, new life changes, new challenges and new joys, we know that He is with us, guiding us onward.

After what was literally a mountain-top experience, we wandered through a walk dedicated to Mexican martyrs (as in Graham Greene’s The Power and the Glory) and then found our way back down. We soon discovered a local pattern of misleading signs. At least two places had open signs but were closed; a local cafe advertised paninis and salads, but sold only icons and cinnamon rolls. In Ft. Garland the one place we stopped wasn’t open yet. So we ended up getting Subway in Walsenberg.

Then we careened back to Monument to see Anna perform as Mrs. Paroo in the Music Man. Let me tell you, she did a stellar job in her dramatic debut!!

Here are all of her biggest fans:

And here she is with one of her friends (who is a girl!) They have a great makeup artist, right?! Switching ages, genders, no problema!

Well, there is so much more I could write about from my time in Colorado… like how I read the rest of what I thought was a trilogy but is actually a 4 book series… or  my parents’ new dog Sofie, and how we almost taught her to swim… or my adventure with dad in the convertible that ended in me buying him flip-flops… or the amazing kabobs that we assembled in which we experimented with grilled mango (not as good as grilled pineapple)…

But instead let me end with a picture that I call “the perfect afternoon.” Beautiful scenery (reflected in the window)… wonderful family…. and a glass of wine!

I had a great time in Colorado and can’t wait to see these people again.

Next time… all about my new job!