Thursday, March 19, 2009

Match Day

For the last 3 years, I have been explaining one confusing concept of the medical school path to friends and family alike: Match Day.

“Yep, just one day in March when every 4th year medical student in the country finds out at noon where they’re going to spending the next 3-5 years of their life.” If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times. Match Day always felt like this elusive, far off day that would signal the grand finale of medical school. Finally, this morning, Match Day arrived.

The long journey of medical school is nearly over...
So, what's next?

The months leading up to Match Day are a flurry of reviewing programs, submitting applications, writing personal statements and interviews. Gracious, the interviews. Who came up with this plan? Let’s take a bunch of cash-strapped, anxiety-ridden students and make them tour the country, staying at Super 8’s and making meals out of heavy appetizers at the interview dinners, all in an effort to narrow down which programs you like and vice versa. It’s a process that is exhaustive and exhausting, all in one. (And I was just the casual bystander, who graced but one interview dinner with my presence!) Despite the insanity of interview season, there seems to be value in the process of elimination that takes place on both ends and somehow, someway it all works out.

Fast forward to March 19th. Students, spouses, children, parents, and even some residents and attendings crowd the common area outside the room where the envelopes await. The tension is palpable, as people anxiously glance down at their watches, willing it to be noon. At twelve on the dot, the doors open. Much like the gunshot of a foot race, there is an initial rush and then a traffic jam as people clamor to get through the double doors. We head back to a table where envelopes with C last names gather and there it is, waiting for us. Without much fanfare, the envelope is opened. I’m behind the camera lens, and it’s hard to tell what his initial reaction is and my heart skips a beat for just a second. But then, there is a smile and he’s waving it at me and I put down the camera to see… “Wake Forest, Wake Forest,” he’s saying. There is relief and smiling and laughing and hugging.

The envelope, please.

The one day in March when every 4th year finds out where they are spending the next 3-5 years of their life has arrived, and with it has arrived good news. We are staying – we are staying here in this little city that has become home to us over nine years. We are staying with good friends with whom relationships have blossomed through the shared journeys of being students and better halves, respectively. He is staying in an emergency department with attendings and residents whom he respects and looks forward to working with, and I am staying in a job that still excites and inspires me each day. With one swipe of the letter opener, we are staying. Match Day has come, and with it the news that medical school comes to an end but our life in Winston goes on.

Future Docs. The Wives. Happy to be townies!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

If I'm Going to Drop a Lincoln Every Time I Study, I'd Rather it be on Lattes than Benson Candy.

Matt and I decided to take a trip over to a familiar scene today, the Z. Smith Reynolds library. Circa 2001, when Matt and I first started dating, Z. Smith was where we spent at least 80% of our mutual time together. Heading back to the Z today brought back good memories, only now instead of swiping my Deacon Dollars at Benson and sneaking in a half a pound of candy corn, today I swiped my debit card and got a skinny vanilla latte. Spending your own money = way less fun.

But that was just the first change. For starters, as we were packing up to go, Matt looked at me and said "Do we need Ethernet cords?" The last time we hit up the Z, finding a prime locale meant hunting out a study carrel that was near an internet plug. Because OBVIOUSLY you couldn't get anything done unless you had the capacity to update your away message and/or check eBay for fake Kate Spade purses every 5 minutes. (2009 version: update Twitter and check out Listingbook every 5 minutes. We've come a long, long way, baby.)

Next big change: the scenery. The front two rooms of Z. Smith were always the All Night Study rooms and were decked out with sturdy, pine oak carrels with crude messages about Pi Phi's penciled into the sides, orange-ish shag carpeting, and a pegboard wall. And to think, I spent a couple nights in here... ALL NIGHT. can be appropriately surmised as masochistic, to say the least. (A little shout out to Mark Sperry and his vampire-esque IM habits, that accompanied me through many a 3 am paper writing session.) Today the orange carpet and pegboard wall have been replaced by Starbucks counter, leather couches, glossy pine tables, and upstairs lofts. The old geezer in me wants to tell the current student body how good they have it. you know, the ol "in my day.." But what's the use? Never does a generation really get that they have it better than there predecessors, and these chai sipping, iphone texting, facebook updating coeds would be as impressed by our hardship of smuggling Sprite into Aquafina bottles (NO SODA POP EVER IN THE LIBRARY, GASSSSSP) and renting out wireless cards as I am when my brother waxes poetic on the days of using the phone instead of IM to make plans in college. So while the times they are a changing, there was one constant in Z. Smith today that hasn't changed in these 8 years: I still have a huge crush on the guy I'm sitting there studying with.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Food with A View

Food with a view, originally uploaded by dancindeac.

This morning Monica and I slept through the start of the first session ("Better turn my phone to silent so my emails don't wake me up. OH WAIT. MY ALARM IS NOW SILENCED." Brilliant.) Once we realized we weren't going to make the first talk we decided to take advantage of our locale and go for a walk. The resort (a golf club that apparently boasts to having Tiger as a member) is so stunningly green. I am totally sold on the recent claims on "nature deficits" - that less time spent outdoors plays a role in many of present day maladies. There is something to be said about that restorative feeling you get being surrounded by all things green (or blue, if you're like me with an inexplicable serotonin surge near water.) Our walk ended at one of the resort's restaurants with a quiet, empty patio overlooking the first tee and we plopped down for coffee, eggs and fruit. Clearly, exercise and a healthy breakfast serves an acceptable proxy for my presence in a conference based predominantly on the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. I mean, I'm just trying to practice what I preach!

The leisurely morning was a nice contrast to what proved to be an intense day of presentations. I feel like my brain has just taken a Pilates class. Although I try to keep abreast of the recent research in my field, I'll be the first to admit that my version of continuing education is some elliptical reading of the oh so laudable Prevention and Women's Health. (Which genuinely do report research, but in a Crystal Light kind of way - seems like the real thing, til you have the real thing.) To actually sit in a room and hear the most recent, hot off the press research not just presented, but argued, critiqued and debated... there is nothing like it. I got goosebumps today when someone discussed the effectiveness of a health behavior change theory that I use in my program, and I did a happy dance in my seat at a presentation on the ROI of workplace wellness programs. I'm pretty sure what this all boils down to is this: somehow, someway, I ended up in the right field. For that, I am thankful.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wish I Was Here

Wish I Was Here, originally uploaded by dancindeac.

Today I'm in Tampa for the Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism conference put on by the AHA. I'm excited. I even wore my red shoes. For those of you who know about the 1997 Valentine's Dance Fashion Fiasco, I assure you my current day red patent leather loafers are totally appropriate and cute. (Red shoes, apparently, look quite hookerish with 3" heels Who knew.) Anyways, I digress: conference.

I love research. I love learning. I was nearly breathless with excitement reading the program guide. However, as much as I anticipated hearing the latest on vitamin B supplementation and the DASH diet, we are in Tampa. i.e. There's a beach. I want to be there.

So, come lunchtime my coworker Monica and I mapquested directions to a cafe in Clearwater we'd been recommended. 14 miles? Totally doable for a 1.5 hour lunch.

45 minutes later as we sat in stop-n-go beach traffic with no hopes of finding parking we admitted our folly. Sadly enough, neither of us wanted to miss the presentation on findings about prevalence of vitamin D deficiency that was scheduled for right after lunch. With a wave to our beach front cafe, we turned the car around and headed away from the gorgeous beachside town (see happy feelings inducing photo) to our dark, a.c. blasting conference room.

Research presentation over beach? Nerd status prevails, per usual.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Life in the Dash

Life in the Dash, originally uploaded by dancindeac.

ACC bball: just one of the many reasons to love life in the dash.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Amateur restaurant review: I Like To Eat, I Like to Write, This Should Work

Holy guacamole. Tonight my mom and I ventured downtown to try out a new restaurant called Dorado, opened by a friend of mine from high school. I had followed the progression of said restaurant on Facebook, drooling over mobile upload pics of tortilla soup, stuffed poblanos and other delectables. Unfortunately MY phone did not work, so no food pics ala megeats for this meal. You'll just have to trust me when I say it was holy four-letter-word-dropping good. Little known and unvalidated fact, North Carolina has one Mexican restaurant for approximately every four citizens. So needless to say in my nine years of living here, I have become an expert at all things tequila and/or cilantro themed. This cuisine, however, takes the cake. Or rather, the torta.

Even my mom, who is a sworn anti-avocado eater, was spooning the guac as if I might snatch it across the table from her in any second. (In her defense, I did.) It was was smooth, light... almost like a guacamole mousse. And there was a hint of something unknown - was it amaretto? That doesn't make any sense but I couldn't place what was there besides cilantro and avocado. If the waitress knew, she wasn't telling.

And that was just the appetizer. Mom had a salmon taco and I had a mahi mahi taco. There wasn't a hint of fishy-ness, and the sour cream, avocado and fish blended together perfectly. I loved that the side dish was field greens with a light vinaigrette dressing on it - instead of the usual rice and beans side that leaves you feel worse than a post-thankgiving food coma. What's this? Mexican (or Central American, I should say) food that might actually be healthy? Love it.

The atmosphere was awesome as well - it would make a great late night spot to go with friends for a few glasses of wine (or some 'jitos? por favor) and munch on tapas plates. My only complaint: HURRY LIQUOR LICENSE. A guac without a rita just ain't right.

All apologies to those of you with no Rochester ties, but to sum up my impromptu restaurant review in 2 words: Go Eat. Before I beat you there and polish off all the homemade chips in the house.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

In Like a Lion

Today absolutely tested my work-life-sanity balance skills. I think they passed the test, although my deodorant may not have. Let me just say this: when someone invites you to come do a workshop in their office place, it'd be nice to know ahead of time that they'll be doing hot yoga in that room first. It's hard to come across as Calm, Cool, Composed Life Coach when sweat is rolling down your rib cage. Sweet. Oh, and the workshop participants? A little too mellow and blissed out. We're talking EMOTIONS people, thus I need REACTIONS. After I made about fifteen jokes about the moratorium like silence in the room, they started coming to life and it ended up being a fantastic workshop with lots of question asking and head nodding and note scribbling. Phew. Just the way I like - minus the excessive sweating. (Much like my outdoor August wedding, only less tulle worn today.)

Site of my emo eating workshop.
I love visiting this campus and they have the BEST employees!

Prior to my lunch and learn workshop, I started the day with 4 coaching sessions starting pre-dawn. As crazy as it sounds, I LOVE starting the work day at 6 am. It's when I'm at my most creative and feel so productive. I also find that the person on the receiving end of my coaching questions is a wee bit less guarded before their coffee has fully hit their bloodstream and they're cognizant of what subconscious mutterings they're sharing. And, I'll tell you, there is nothing better than saying goodbye to my 4th session and noticing the sun is just coming up, but half of my day is already done. Booyah.

It's still a little shocking to see that time of day on a regular basis.
And yes, that's a.m.

Post-workshop (and an extra swipe of Degree) I hopped in the car to head down to Charlotte to begin my adventure home, compliments of a lovely AirTran e-saver. I had scheduled what I thought was a quick phone session for my drive - a "graduate" who had emailed me the day prior to request just a quick pick-me-up to help her get back on track. The session turned out to be pretty intense, and I kept glancing over at TomTom worried I would short change her arriving at her own A-HA moment before I reached my exit. She had an epiphany literally as I pulled into my space in Long Term 1, and I had a homework assignment in place before the shuttle arrived. Phew - last thing I wanted to be doing was asking How's That Working For Ya questions while cruising around on the long term parking shuttle.

Flying through BWI. I scoffed out loud at this poster. Take that, Terps!
(We beat them the night before.)

The rest of my day was pretty uneventful, even for airport travel; but I remain amazed that I built all that into one day while somehow still keeping my wits about me and my pantyhose without a run. However, the more I look at my March calendar, the more it seems like most days are going to be like that. My schedule for the last year has been either Feast or Famine. One week I'm home by 3 watching Dr. Phil every day, the next week my Outlook calendar looks like a mosaic. I think I'm toeing the fine line between "just busy enough that I feel productive and energetic" and "so busy I'm losing my every lovin' mind." As long as I keep my toes on this side of the line, March - usually my least favorite month - should fly riiiiight on by me. And who knows, my horoscope for March (compliments of Yahoo's astrology experts) promises good things in spring. And Yahoo astrology is never wrong, clearly. So, March, bring on the good things. And maybe a nap or two, while you're at it?

I come home to these 2 little buggers - how happy is that?
(Although the weird blurred face on Dickens is extremely creepy.)

Make Your Bed, Part 2

More progress made on the bed! It looks AMAZING. I can't wait to have it in my house! Now to start shopping at PB for some duvet covers...

Coming together now...

Looking down the mortise - the places where the joints come together.
(Precision pays off!)

Look how big the headboard is compared to my dad-in-law!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Snow Day Number Three

Snow Day Number Three, originally uploaded by dancindeac.

I think this time we legitimately earned our snow day. Another day to read
food logs and do nutrition analysis (and blog, claro que si) on the couch.
I'd almost forgotten what REAL snow looks like. (I'm sure my parents in NY
are still scoffing at that statement.)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Dips for Dinner

In the midst of gobbling up greasy Burke St pizza after leaving Finnegan's on Friday night with the Forseys, we decided to revisit two of our other favorite greasies: artichoke dip and hot wing dip. See, here's my beef with appetizers: either you eat your share of them and then you're too full for dinner (which you end up eating because you've paid for it or made it) or you're "saving room" so you just have a few nibbles. We decided to eliminate both problems and make the dips our main dishes, so we could indulge without guilt. So last night for dinner, that's just what we did. Dips for Dinner. It should be an annual thing. But the pregaming should involve salads and sprints, because holy cow, post noshing food coma.

Check out that grease

After our indulgence into all things mayo-based, we laid around talking about hard wood floors, fridges and crown molding. Both of us are considering moving in the next couple months (anyone want a 3 bedroom in a lovely neighborhood with a crazy landlady?), and so the conversation was a spin off from our recent forays into the world of Open Houses and Resale Value. After much hypothetical talk, we piled into the car and drove through freezing rain to Lowe's, which is open surprisingly late on a Saturday night. Jamie and I purred over stainless steel refrigerators and flat top stoves (OMG!! you don't have to use foil and scoop crumbs out!! EEEE!!!) while the boys discussed how to install under cabinet lighting and window treatments. Remember being 12 years old and how you couldn't wait to be a grown up? Yea, why was that? (Maybe so you could decide to eat 1/4th pan of artichoke dip without someone telling you you'd spoil your dinner?)

Admiring us some Corian

I did notice half a dozen other couples pondering Corian samples and Dyson purchases. Methink Lowes could be on to something if they had a workshop on Saturday night for couples with wine & beer and some kind of DIY project. Esp in this economy where I'm sure more and more people are more willing to take on DIY adventures and less likely to be picking up bar tabs on a Saturday night. A pinot gris plus a demonstration on Electrolux? Um, yes please. Now if THAT'S not excitement....

Or, maybe the pinot samples are not in their best interest...