Sep 30, 2012

From Blog to Book

Ever since I started my blog about a year and a half ago, I have been looking for ways to make it into a hard copy.  There are many sites out there in the internet world that you can use to turn your blog into a book.  But until I saw that my friend Sara had done it with her blog, I hadn't been motivated enough to really put an effort into doing it.

I followed her lead and used this site which allowed me to upload my posts and pictures into a program I downloaded on my computer.  I could then sort through the pictures, edit spelling errors in posts, and design my own layout for each page.  It actually took a somewhat significant amount of time, but I also had 143 posts for 2011! 

I finally finished my editing in August and was able to order my blog book.  It cost less than $100.00 and considering it is hard-bound and over 260 pages, I think it was very moderately priced.  I received it in less than two weeks and I am so pleased with the final outcome.

It makes a great coffee table book!
Since my blog really only serves as an online public journal, I think it's great to have a physical copy of all of our adventures over the last year.  And I thoroughly enjoy rereading my posts and reliving all of our great memories.   I can't wait to have years worth of blog books and I don't have to wait long, I already need to get working on 2012!  Where has this year gone?

Sep 26, 2012


You'd think I'd be a pro at them by now.

Let me let you in on a little secret...I'm really not. 

But I'm pretty good at hiding it to everyone except my husband.  Poor guy has had to deal with an emotional wreck lately.  I'm sure most of you are familiar with the ugly cry.  You know, the one where your face is all wrinkled up and there is snot dripping from your nose and you can't really understand a word the person is saying because they are about to hyperventilate.   Yeah, if there were an ugly cry award I would win.  Hands. Down.

I've moved to the UK, to the island of Grenada, and back to California in the last two years and for some reason, this transition of being back in America is equally as hard if not harder than it was when I moved to Europe.  I'm not even kidding. 

I'm crazy...seriously.

When Josh and I moved to Newcastle in 2010, I kept saying to myself only two years until we are back in the states.  The move to England wasn't easy.  I missed my family and friends, my car, American food, the sun, my husband and it took at least 4 or 5 months until I felt like I could call it "home."  Maybe it took until Julie moved there.  Ya, I'm pretty sure that was a big part of it.

Then we moved to Grenada and that transition was EASY compared to Newcastle.  We had already made friends (that felt like family), we had Toby, American food was abundant albeit overpriced, I was living in the land of sunshine, my husband was still MIA, but I also found LIMES and in that found my purpose in life on the rock.

And before I had time to blink an eye, the two years abroad were over. 

We've been living back in CA for four months and I am STILL trying to transition back to "normal" life.  This should have been the easy part!  I'm finding ways to fill my time by working at home, blogging, and taking care of my husband and dog but it's been hard.  Harder than I ever expected it to be.  There were nights early on in England when I cried for no reason other than the fact that I missed home and now, I'm back in California and I cry because I miss Grenada.  I can look at a picture, read a status on facebook, or watch a video of Kyla and tears stream down my face.  I'm jealous.  I'm so very jealous of the people who are still on the island, loving on those kids.  And I'm angry.  Angry at the people who are there and aren't loving on them because I wish so bad that I could be.  What is wrong with me!?!? 

I never could have predicted this two years ago.

I've talked to a few girls new to Grenada who are struggling with the transition to the island.  I want those people to know that it's a struggle for most people to deal with transitions. Whether it's moving to an island, starting a new job, ending a relationship, or moving back to your home state, change is just plain tough.  And I've told them it just takes time.  Time to adjust to new surroundings.  Time to make new friends.  Time to find new hobbies.  Time to develop new routines.  Just...time.  And here's the kicker, there's no time limit on time and there's no way to speed it up. Which really sucks by the way.

So I need to follow my own advice.  

Life must move on, move forward.  Change is the only constant and there's no way to run from it.  Especially not while on this medical school journey.  I have to figure out a way to embrace these transitions so that I can be thankful for the experiences I've had and look forward to the experiences that have yet to happen. 

Sep 23, 2012

I'm a Killer...


My plants, They. Are. All. Dying.

I can hardly seem to keep any of them alive.  I want to put blame on the 100 + degree heat, but something tells me it's me.

I'm watering them like their instructions told me to and I'm googling "ways to keep orchids alive," but nothing is working!  The only plants still alive are the ones I don't have to do anything too!  Maybe I'm just destined to own only succulents.

Any gardeners read this blog?  I'll talk any and all help I can get. 

I can't keep my plant children alive and my doggie child Doyle bit the neighbor dog last week and drew blood so I'm failing on that end too.  Dog obedience school is currently in the works.
Such a vicious attack dog.
At least I can (for the most part) successfully take care of my husband child.

Sep 13, 2012

Redlands Market

Every Thursday from 6-9pm on State Street in Downtown Redlands, there is a market.  This week Josh and I, along with our new SGU friend Lauren (who is in the midst of her Peds rotation) went over to check it out.

It reminded me of a county fair.  Along with the typical farmer's market style tents, where I of course got lots of fresh produce, there were also many other vendors.

These included food vendors of all kinds including carmel apples, chocolate dipped icecream, cotton candy, funnel cakes, and much more.  There was also a live band, bounce house, pony rides, and lots of other fun tents with knick-knacks for sale.

We got there right around 6:00pm and we were curious if it really would get busy enough for the vendors to make a profit, but sure enough, by about 7:30pm, the street was packed!
It was a lot of fun and it really makes you feel like Redlands is a small community rather than a big city, which we happen to like.  I can't wait to go back and I may make it a weekly trip so that I can buy my produce since it was cheaper than the grocery store!

Sep 11, 2012

Internal Medicine

Josh is now well into his 12 week Internal Medicine rotation and I know that as an SO during his first and definitely during his second year of school I had so many questions about the clinical years.  It seemed that while there was an over abundance of information on how the basic science years went, there was an equally large lack of information regarding 3rd and 4th year.  I feel like we started year three blindly.  Yes, SGU had a couple of meetings during 5th term to inform us of the health criteria that needed to be met and the names and locations of hospitals that we could choose from but there was little to no information that explained what the day to day life of an MSIII might look like.

While I can't speak for every hospital that SGU is affiliated with, nor can I speak for different clinical rotations within each hospital, I can tell you some information about Internal Medicine at ARMC (Arrowhead Regional Medical Center). 

First of all, Josh is really enjoying the hospital.  He likes every intern, senior resident, and attending that he has worked with thus far.  At ARMC, students are placed on a "team" consisting of four student physicians (some may be 4th years), two interns (first or second year residents), a senior resident, and an attending.  If you are keeping track, that's an eight person team.  Four students, four MD's.  Pretty darn good ratio of students to MD's which is especially good for learning.

At the meetings during 5th term, SGU hammered into the heads of the students that what makes or breaks your time during clinicals is not so much the hospital, but the attending/residents that you are working with.  But, maybe you are thinking to yourself small teams are great but what if my student hates their attending, maybe your husband just got lucky.  Well, the good thing about IM at ARMC is that every four weeks, you switch teams.  So you get to be on a total of three teams.  You rotate with the same students, but your attending/resident team changes.  That way, if for some reason you didn't get along with your attending on Team 1, your grade isn't solely determined by that attending. 

Which brings me to grading.  How does it work?  And this can be said for all hospitals during clinicals.  Your final grade is broken up into categories.

80% of your grade is based on your attending(s):
          -20% medical knowledge
          -20% clinical skills
          -20% professional behavior
          -20% performance on end-of-clerkship oral exam (given by attending)
For the oral exam, the students at ARMC were given a list at the beginning of the clerkship with all the topics they could possibly be tested on.

The last 20% of your grade is the NBME clinical subject exam or shelf exam as you will hear it referred to.  This exam is the same for every SGU student in every hospital for each clerkship.

SGU expects that many/most students will get A's and B's in their clerkships. 

So how much will your student have to study?  Well, I suppose that all depends on your student.  So far, Josh has had mini assignments from his attending where he has come home to read up on certain topics or if there have been things he has seen in the hospital that he feels he is lacking knowledge in, he has come home to read about them.  But overall, his nose hasn't been in the books like it was first and second year.  Hallelujah!  At ARMC, in Internal Medicine, the students will get one week off at the end of the 12 weeks to study for the shelf exam. 

Okay, so he doesn't study much, but really, how BUSY is he?  The answer to that, extremely.  The students at ARMC in IM work A LOT.  Maybe more so then most SGU students at other hospitals.   Josh is taking two 28 hour call nights a week (about every 4 days) and when he's not taking call, he's going in at 7am and getting done around 3 or 4pm.  Those days aren't half bad, but when you are still lacking sleep from your last call night, it can be rough.  He's averaging about 80 hours a week in the hospital. 

I suppose you can look at this as a negative, but Josh and I are seeing it as a positive.  He has his own patients (since day 1) that he sees.  I'm talking Josh goes in the room by himself, no doctor, no resident, and sees patients and then chiefs it (reports to the attending).  It's actually pretty darn cool.  And because he is in the hospital so much, he is learning a ton!

We know that not every rotation will be this intense.  We can expect that Internal Medicine and Surgery will be especially time consuming, but that Family Medicine and Psychiatry will be a little less stressful.  Thankfully, we already know his schedule for the whole year.  Twelve weeks of IM, followed by Surgery, Pediatrics, OBGYN, Family Med, and then Psych.  I'm sure I'll be able to post the some information on those as they happen.  For now, we are taking one rotation/one week at a time.  Over two years in and this medical school thing is still a learning process!

Sep 10, 2012

We've got...

...a noodler.

Doyle is quickly finding his way into our heart.  And our bed.

I could explain, but I think the pictures do a better job.

I promise he's in this picture. 

He's right....


He "noodles" his way down under the sheets to the very bottom of the bed, right between your legs.  That's where he prefers to sleep.

We are currently making him sleep in his crate most of the night and just letting him in the bed in the morning for a little while.  But once on the bed, he goes straight under the sheets.  It's really quite funny.  We really love this little guy!

Sep 9, 2012

Trip to Big Bear

Josh surprisingly had Labor Day off of work and so we took the opportunity to head up the mountain to Big Bear last Monday.  Neither Josh or I had ever been but with it being less than an hour away from Redlands, we were anxious to go check it out.  Plus, Josh's Aunt Wendy and Uncle Mike live in Big Bear and we couldn't wait to pay a them a visit. 
Off to Big Bear!
We arrived at Wendy's adorable quilt store in The Village right around lunch time and then proceeded to get lunch to go so that we could eat it on their boat on the lake.  What a treat that was! It was such a beautiful day on the water and we had no idea we were going to get to experience Big Bear Lake on this trip!

After lunch and a ride around the lake, we went over to Wendy and Mike's cabin/home.  We spent some time on the deck drinking iced tea and Josh and I definitely hope to come back soon, especially once there is snow on the ground.  Then, Josh and I headed back to The Village to look around at the shops some more.  Many of them were closing up for the night, but we were able to get a yummy cup of coffee and just enjoy the quaint atmosphere that Big Bear has to offer.
The Village, Big Bear Lake
We ended an absolutely wonderful day with a great dinner at a local mexican restaurant called Jacalito Grill.  It was delicious.  We can't wait to go back to Big Bear to do some more exploring and visit our family.  What a blessing it is to have family so close to us after being out of the country for two years.  And it doesn't hurt that they happen to be in a picturesque mountain town does it? :)

Sep 8, 2012

New Baby

No, not that kind of baby.

A doggie baby!

Josh and I have been wanting to have a dog of our own since before we were married.  But living out of the country for the last two years has made that less than ideal.  Taking a dog to England was practically out of the question unless you wanted to put it in quarantine for a mandatory six months.  No thanks.  And I thought long and hard about taking one to Grenada, but wanted to check out the island first and once I was there, I got so busy with volunteer stuff that I didn't feel like I would be home enough to have a dog.

But, once we got to Redlands, we decided that this would be the perfect space and place for us to have our first dog.  The question was what kind of dog?

While I would prefer to have something like this...
Josh's ideal dog looks a little more like this.
Can you see a difference in opinion here? Ha!

We discussed getting a puppy, but Josh isn't home much and I don't know that I'm necessarily ready for that much work.  In the end, we brought Doyle home to Redlands.  He's a 3 year old mutt that I found on the side of the road in the mountains only a week before we left for England.  He's been living with my parents and their three other dogs for the past two years.  But my Mom and I have always felt like he was my dog.

He's pretty timid, a definite scaredy-dog, and he suffers from a little bit of separation anxiety but I'm home a lot and I can give him the love and attention that he needs.  And he's my snuggler and is helping to fill the void that leaving my Limes kids left in my heart.
He's already making himself at home and both Josh and I love having him here.  Even if it means I have a constant shadow at my feet. :)