Playing Catch-up: May/June, Weddings and Camping!

Early on a Saturday late in May, Michael and I left the pup with the ‘rents, and drove from Cleveland to Madison (a drive we would mimic a little over a week later, but with a moving truck instead). Our friends Erin and Annie were getting married that day.

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It was a beautiful ceremony on a ridiculously hot day, but the heat didn’t keep us from dancing the night away. The next morning, we were able to say goodbye to Erin and Annie as well as our friends Neima and Jackie, all headed to Boston; and our friend Jordan, who’s doing his surgical residency in Philadelphia.

Because we had all moved out of the Shaker house early, our housemates the Hedges invited us to go on a camping trip with them– one that would take us from the wedding in Madison to our next destination: Molly’s wedding in Traverse City, Michigan the following weekend.

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Our campsite the first night in northern Wisconsin

The tent on the left was one we inherited from Mom and Dad H. It had a very short life with us; it poured that evening and the tent flooded before we even got a chance to sleep in it.

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The next day, we drove into Michigan via the Upper Peninsula, where we hiked for a few hours along the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore before finding our next campsite.

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It was so, so green.

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It also happened to be our anniversary that day, so we counted this as an extra little celebration.

We loved our campsite that night so much, we ended up staying there for the remainder of our trip. If you ever go to the UP, look for Twelvemile Beach Campground.

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During the days, we took little trips out– one was an ill-fated kayaking excursion on Lake Superior during which most of us got seasick. BUT we also went to a part of the shore that’s lined with steep sand dunes– this specific one is locally famous; called the log slide.

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We slid down to the bottom, of course.

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… But then had to climb back up. That little black speck in the middle is Michael, taking a break about halfway back up the dunes.

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More hiking on our last full day, with my trusty Montrails.

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Then we trekked on down to the big house we were renting in Traverse City, big enough to hold five medwives and their husbands. After five days of camping, a shower has never felt so good.

Our time at the house in Traverse City and during Molly and Josh’s wedding was exactly what we’d hoped– my dearest friends all running around, borrowing each other’s curling irons and jewelry, cooking together, playing games and talking late into the night. Not to mention the main event:

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Our first time at a wedding with “Dr.” and “Mrs.” on the name cards. 🙂

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And when the last song played, and the lights came up, the evening found us like this:

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Except despite our smiles, we were all actually crying. In fact, I’ve never sobbed so much in my life. Saying goodbye to good friends is hard enough, but this was different. I might not have survived medical school without these girls to lean on, and we left each other that night knowing exactly what we were facing: several years of residency, the most difficult time in a medical family’s life, without our friends by our side. It was the loveliest last hurrah, but the saddest farewell.

To NOT end on that note, though, I also remember this: later, driving back to Cleveland with Michael, and thinking that even though this new step is scary, at least I get to do it with him.

Next up: Our move across the country to Seattle!

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Playing Catch-up: April

The last two months have probably been the most intense, action-filled, and stressful of my whole life. They’ve also been filled with a LOT of once-in-a-lifetime experiences, big and small. Because I haven’t been posting, I can’t give every event its own due diligence, but I’m going to try to include it all!

So, starting at the end of April, we had:

  1. My dear friend and fellow medwife Molly’s bachelorette party. She was the last of us to get married, and we went all out with matching tank tops. We walked around Ohio City all night with people squinting at our shirts, asking “midwives?” Nope. We just like to be confusing like that.IMG_0651

Bonus: Some hilarious outtakes…

There is probably more collective laughter in our friendship than over some lifetimes. ❤

2. One of Michael’s best friends from undergrad, Lesley, got married the next day. It was a beautiful ceremony and a great time for Michael to connect with a lot of Akron friends he hadn’t seen in a while– including Ethan, who flew in from Seattle for the occasion.

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Photo: Lesley Booher Buga

3. The week that followed was my last working at the library, with my final day being the 29th. It was bittersweet. After three and a half years working for the library, I was (and am) ready for a change and some new challenges. But I had such an amazing group of coworkers in my fellow “Noblettes,” and leaving that work family was sad and difficult. I’ll forever be grateful for having the chance to work in that tough– but extremely supportive– environment during some formative years of my career. I’ll always love CHUH and I’m proud of my little legacy there.

Next up: May, and our cruise! A big trip that deserves its own post. 🙂

 

Steps

It’s been difficult, lately, to think of anything but our schedule over the next five months. Michael is currently in Nashville on his penultimate residency interview trip– he’s going to Durham, NC at the end of the week and then he’s done! We predicted the exact number of interviews he would do: 15, over a period of three months. It’s been a pretty crazy season, but very, very soon, we will be making real decisions about our rank list, which needs to be finalized by late February.

Our travel isn’t quite over yet– I am leaving in a little over a week to spend some time in Minnesota with my parents, and to be there when my mom’s cochlear implant is turned on. I’m grateful that after that trip, we’ll have a relatively quiet February and early March– and maybe we’ll be able to slow down enough to process some of the coming changes.

Today I am missing the baby shower of Amanda, one of my dearest friends, because she lives in Lawrence– and alas, I have to work. Distance has taught me that time close to loved ones is precious. I don’t want to take this time here and now for granted– I won’t always get to share these milestones (like addressing my friend’s wedding invitations yesterday, or getting to see my future sister-in-law try on her dress tomorrow) with the people I love. And so we come back to the idea of presence: Being here, now. Looking for my purpose here, now. Praying that I am right where I need to be, doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing, here and now. And waiting for that next step.

Hang in there, folks.

The Rain City

Two weeks ago, we traveled to Seattle for Michael’s last interview of 2015. The night of our arrival was the dinner for the applicants to the University of Washington’s internal medicine residency program; they had combined it with the department’s holiday party to avoid conflicting schedules, making it quite different from other dinners Michael has attended. Probably through divine intervention, we (two introverts) managed to strike up a conversation with the two people ahead of us in line at the bar, discovering that they were also applicants doing a couple’s match. We spent the evening with them talking to residents, attendings, and their spouses– even the program director. Everyone was so kind, impressive, enthusiastic about the program, and happy to spare a few minutes out of their holiday party  to answer our questions. One older physician and his wife even drove me to the pharmacy and back on a Benadryl run when Michael had an allergic reaction to some hidden nuts in a mushroom appetizer. They happened to be leaving as I was and sensed my panic… Talk about a first impression. 🙂 (Michael was fine after about 15 minutes.)

The next day as Michael was interviewing, and our hosts, the Shaws, were at work, I got to explore the city by myself. It was the perfect way to experience Seattle. First stop: visiting the Fremont troll, an homage to the troll from “The Three Billy Goats Gruff.” He lives under the Aurora Bridge, a landmark famous in its own right.

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They said he was a sculpture, but I didn’t picture this guy, who looks like he’s emerging from the wall under the bridge.

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Coley pointed out later that it’s a real VW bug under his left hand.

After visiting the troll, I took the bus downtown and then went up to the Starbucks on the 40th floor of the Columbia Center, on Nicole’s suggestion. The views were unreal.

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After that I went to see the library, because why not?

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Yes, this is the library. I was loving the architecture.

It was a huge 7-floor affair, with tons of small collections, reading rooms, and community areas. I went to see the children’s room and talked to the librarian there, who was delighted to show off her space.

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It was colorful but not cluttered, and their collection was huge. From a professional standpoint, it was interesting to see– also I am that much more proud of our libraries in northeast Ohio, especially my little four-branch system in Cleveland Heights. We have just as much to offer! But I liked the SPL too, and it was great to see the ways they engage their community.

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One last view of the city from inside the library.

From the library, I walked down to the famous Pike Place Market.

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I spent a LOT of time there, exploring every market stand, listening to the fishmongers, and people-watching.

The original Starbucks is down there-- Michael actually took this on our first afternoon; we met Luke at the market to get a key.

The original Starbucks is down there– Michael actually took this on our first afternoon; we briefly met Luke at the market to get a key.

I met this street-performing bird and talked to his owner for a bit.

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This sign caught my eye for obvious reasons (three sisters bugging each other! 🙂 ) and I decided to get lunch here. I took my food down to a park with a view of the harbor to eat.

I headed back into the heart of downtown after lunch to see it all decked out for Christmas. Shortly I was able to meet up with Michael and a few other applicants as they took a tour of the city. Our guide was a hilarious English man who has lived in Seattle for decades. He was a great resource, talking about the history of the city and the personality of all the different neighborhoods.

That night we got to see Ethan! I was so exhausted, though, that I fell asleep on the couch right after dinner. I wouldn’t call it jet lag, but the time difference combined with walking all day was killer. The next day, though, after resting up, we took the Coley-tour!

The University of Washington's main library

The University of Washington’s main library

We walked through the undergrad campus, had some great miso (there is good Asian food everywhere in Seattle), and then visited the unique Card Kingdom– where you can sample board games over a snack or a drink at the coffee bar next door. Perfect for a rainy day.

As soon as I heard about Hot Cakes, I knew we had to go. Molten chocolate cake with ice cream? Sign me up, please.

We picked up sushi for dinner and spent the evening back at the Shaws’ apartment, playing games and talking for hours with Luke, Coley, Ethan, and Ethan’s girlfriend Kim. It was pretty much perfect.

We really liked Seattle, and it was hard to pick out any downsides. It’s rainy, but we like the rain. It’s gray like Cleveland, but the vibe is so different and so much more lively– it’s hard to explain, but I can’t imagine the cloudiness ever getting me down. There is a lot of traffic and the cost of living is high, but that’s true of almost all the cities on our list– it’s just part of living in a major center. There is so much to do and see, and not just in the city– it’s surrounded by mountains, national parks, and ocean (!!!). We have close friends living there whom we love and miss: a pre-built support system. Michael absolutely loved the program, which is fantastic and would open up so many opportunities.

The next morning, we visited the Shaws’ church and then they drove us to the airport, where we had to say goodbye.

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I sure loved my time with this one.

Until next time, Seattle.

Autumn, Etc.

We’re deep in the middle of interview season, and time is scarce. Between airport runs and work, taking care of the dog and trying to shower every… once in a while, it feels like time keeps slipping past too quickly. I know that’s not true. Time doesn’t really change. Each person has as much as the next. But it feels precious these days, and I’m grateful to say that amidst the crazy, we’ve made room for a few really good things.

At the beginning of October, I went on a weekend trip to Columbus with my friends here. It was a perfect intro to fall– cool weather, thrifting, and an all-women 10K (one of my favorite races I’ve done!).

Obligatory silly jumping picture.

Obligatory silly jumping picture.

On October 14th, Patrick and Lauren got engaged!

VERY excited for these two.

VERY excited for these two.

Woohoo! I have sisters, and I have brothers-in-law, but Lauren will be my first sister-in-law. I didn’t even think about the fact that I get to have more sisters until now. 🙂 They’re planning on marrying late next summer, and we are SO. EXCITED.

Mid-month, my friend Cait came all the way from LA to visit for just two days. You can tell she really loves me. 🙂 It was FREEZING while she was here– crazy weather in the 30s (as I write this, three weeks later, it’s a balmy 68). But it was nice for her to have some respite from the heat, anyway, even though she had to unearth her jacket from deep storage to come here. We did Cleveland-y stuff (the botanical gardens, Town Hall, metroparks) and also Cait-and-Dana stuff (sitting at Starbucks for two hours, reading our separate books).

This is exactly how I want my garden to look.

This is exactly how I want my garden to look.

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A very welcome and familiar sight. <3

A very welcome and familiar sight. ❤

The Cait-and-Dana stuff was the best part. I’m so grateful to have a friend who’s willing to cross three time zones just to hang out with me for a little bit. Love you, Cait!

Since September, I’ve been taking an online career coaching course– I’ve mentioned it before. It’s wrapping up now, and I can say that it’s definitely been worth it! The course I took had a ton of information packed in, and I still have a lot of processing to do. It would be nice if I had come out of the course with an exact job that I know is perfect for me, but we all know it doesn’t really work like that. The great coaching I received helped me to start thinking about my work and my goals in a more productive way, so that I can figure out the type of work I want to do– something a lot of different jobs will probably fulfill. But like I said, I’m still processing! And I loved my coaching experience. If you are trying to explore career options, or you know someone who needs some guidance, I’d highly recommend Clarity on Fire. I found them when I was searching for career quizzes (desperation will do that), and theirs is the best one I’ve ever taken. They offer different levels of coaching, but I subscribed to their free blog for several months before deciding to take the plunge, and their blog is extremely helpful and inspiring, too. They care so much about the work they do that they put a lot of their best advice out there for free.

On Halloween, our household (including our downstairs neighbors and friends) hosted a Harry Potter party for the Medwives. I feel pretty lucky to have found such nerdy friends who are willing to make fun stuff like this happen. I’m also thankful for the cheap rent in Cleveland, which allows us to have a big enough place to host parties. We’re doing our best to really soak up our time here, in this place, with these friends.

They're the best.

They’re the best.

Michael has had a crazy month of travel, and November might be even crazier. Within the last four weeks, he’s been in San Diego (for a research conference), Wisconsin, Connecticut, and Chicago (all for interviews). We’re hanging in there, but I can’t even imagine how exhausted we’ll both be in late January when this season is over! We’re just taking it one day and one trip at a time.

My mom also had some big news to share recently, which she can tell you about much better than I can. You can find her story on her blog. I’m anticipating January with nerves and excitement, along with the expectation of lots of adjustments to be made. We love you, Mama, and are so proud of your courage. And we’re praying for you at every step.

Molly and Josh – ENGAGED!

In my group of “medwives,” we had one member who was technically a “medgirlfriend.” But not for long! Molly and Josh got engaged on Valentine’s Day, and since the rest of us have already passed through that lovely stage, we couldn’t pass up this chance to help the couple celebrate.

So we threw them an engagement party on Saturday. If I had planned this party, you probably could have expected some food and possibly a vase of flowers… But thankfully my friends have much better Pinterest skills than I do, making for MUCH better blogging. 😉 And a cuter party, I suppose.

Favors for an engagement party? Don’t mind if I do. (Get it? I do? *groan*) 

Of course, setting up for the party might have been just as fun as the party itself.

Silly candids.

Much better. 🙂

Emily putting the finishing touches on our card.

Emily putting the finishing touches on our card.

But showering Molly and Josh with love and support was obviously the best part.

(Soon-to-be) Mr. and Mrs.

A toast to the happy couple

Lots of extra champagne!

Emily did some pretty exemplary cutting and pasting in this bridal magazine… We were cracking up all night as we found more Josh and Molly heads pasted onto models’ bodies throughout the magazine

That gorgeous cake and banner on the left is courtesy of Lauren, the hostess. Em made the puff-ball banner. I… wrote on the chalkboard (but Devyn phrased it).

We loved spending the night celebrating– good friends, delicious food, fun games, lots of stories being told, very little medical school conversation… And actually, I don’t think even one piece of marriage advice was administered. Just the way it should be.

I’m endlessly grateful for these women, and I’m so happy we get to be together for this time in Molly’s life! Congratulations, Molly and Josh. We love you.

A Brite Winter Night

Last Saturday, we ventured out to Ohio City to surprise our friend Ethan for his 25th birthday. (Happy birthday, Ethan! We love you!)

We first met up with our recently-engaged friends Lesley and Jason for dinner. Lesley went to undergrad with Michael and is in the same year of medical school at a different program. It’s always refreshing to hear her perspective on the medical school process, and it’s been fun to talk wedding stuff, having just been through it ourselves! I’m sending Lesley this book, which my friend Cait gave to me after my engagement– it kept me sane throughout the wedding-planning process.

We ate at Town Hall, a new favorite– on one side of the restaurant, the seating is first-come, first-serve; you order your food at the counter and get your own drinks. No servers, no waiting for the pitcher to come ’round (and no tipping). It’s lovely.

The bonus of being in Ohio City on Saturday was that the Brite Winter music festival was going on. There were TONS of live local bands playing, including our friends The Modern Electric, whose show we got to see after dinner. The temperatures actually rose above zero that day, but I still couldn’t believe the guys could play outside without gloves on.

It was the best show of theirs we’d been to. The sound mixing was fantastic. We happened to be standing next to the sound guy, who was mixing with an iPad (uh… cool), so having that vantage point was lucky, since we were hearing the same things he was.

After our feet grew completely numb (for real), we managed to find Ethan and the rest of our party in the crowd, and headed inside. We warmed up with some spirits from the Market Garden Brewery, and some good conversation.

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Love those faces. 🙂