Sunday, June 30, 2013

It's my birthday, too (yeah)

I went to bed last night and my hair was brown. When I woke up I looked in the mirror and noticed it was a little grey. As the day progressed, I passed by mirrors and noticed it became more and more silver until I was completely grey. All in one day!

This of course was a dream. Luckily, I didn't literally turn in to an old lady overnight. But maybe symbolically...

I have a lot of thoughts about this birthday. When I was "younger" I felt like 30 was OLD. I took pride in my youth, as if it was a carefully cultivated character trait I had developed or maybe even an innate goodness I had always possessed. I would accept the comment, "You are so young!" as a compliment. Now I look at the "young" people I know and it feels weird to think they must look at me and think about how old I am.

With this faulty pride, I am surprised by my response to the big 3-0 (even if my dream showed some innate insecurity about it I didn't realize I was feeling). At first I admit thought it was pretty miserable. Despite my continued brown hair, 30 felt sore, tired, headache-y.

And then I got out of bed.

I guess I can't blame my butt kicking at the gym yesterday or my late night on my new age.

But now I feel pretty optimistic. I see great things ahead of me in my 30s. Residency graduation. Children, hopefully (even though it is a little icky to think about being one in the "advanced maternal age" category). Getting in shape. Becoming a better housekeeper. Re-learning some old talents (piano...). Enjoying friendships. Spending more time with family. And all with relief that I have a good 10 years before I have to face 40. Okay, just kidding.

Kind of.


On a separate birthday note, I am feeling a little nostalgic. This isn't the first birthday I have celebrated "alone" without my sister, Amber, but I am noting the solidarity of this one. I'm wishing this year we were sharing a cake, even though my mom was always good about making sure we each had our own, even they were exactly the same (you can't get away with a whole cake yourself when you are 30). Which reminds me of a story from college:

I had a roommate who was getting married. She found out another girl from back home was getting married within a few weeks of her wedding. She was unhappy about this and told me, "It's like stealing someone's birthday!"

She was unfortunately venting to the wrong person. I didn't have a lot of sympathy for that argument.

So Amber, do you want to steal my birthday again?

I wish we could share our golden birthday in body and not just spirit. And I found it surprisingly embarrassing to be sung to alone. I guess I am usually focused on singing to you, too.


And the last I have to say,

Thank you Facebook for encouraging me to say hello to Amber Jackson Collins for her birthday.

I almost forgot!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A letter to vent

Dear Amber,

After almost 30 years I am wondering why you decided you could no longer share. Maybe you felt like this year was too significant. Or you just developed a new sense of assertiveness. Maybe you thought that without mountains to watch for melting snow I wouldn't notice*. But I'd appreciate a little heads up. Some common courtesy.  I had to find out myself without a word from you without any room for discussion. I had my suspicions from Facebook the past few days. But a phone call today really tipped me off.

So thanks for kicking me off our birthday!

I haven't been dreading the big 3-0 as much as I expected. But I was planning on a few more days of 29. You know, just for good measure.

It's tricky how you clued everyone else in on this. I keep receiving FB Happy Birthday messages from friends, even those I thought you didn't know. Except they have actually been more like apology messages, "Hope it was great," which I think shows they still feel a little guilty about the whole thing. Messing with a birthday is a pretty big deal.

Our sister Brenna texted me today asking, "Why does everyone think it is your birthday?" I guess she couldn't keep it up so decided to play innocent even while hinting to me what has been going on.

I wondered, "Do they? I thought they were just being on the ball wishing me a few days early."

And then I received a voicemail from Abe's grandmother apologizing for missing my big day.

What's a girl to think? The only logical choice is that you decided you were done sharing. Maybe the split calendar day seemed like a good jumping off point. Half a square on the calendar is pretty hard to fit in two whole birthdays and I am the older twin so pushing me to the 23rd week may have been logical. And I do appreciate you not relegating me to "June 31" like our kindergarten and 1st grade teachers ("No, sweetie, it says June 31 so that must be your birthday. You are only 6 so you just don't know. . . What do you mean there isn't a June 31?). 

If you take me back, I promise not to eat all (or any) or your cake! I was just thinking that we haven't really shared a birthday in a long time which was kind of sad. Hope you will reconsider.

Love you old girl!


PS Now I get it. This was our GOLDEN birthday (30 on the 30th). That is a big deal. How about we compromise and you have your day in Utah and I'll have mine in Iowa?

* My mom used to tell us that our birthday would be "When the snow is melted off the mountains." This was also when we could start running through the sprinklers and wear our swimming suits outside.

Friday, June 21, 2013

One of those days

This post has nothing to do with toothbrushing, except for the casual mentioning of the profession of dentistry in a general sense. But I feel it portrays the overall broad feeling of the post, my life at times feeling very ordinary and regimented--like the need to brush twice per day, regardless of the daily circumstances.

I stayed after clinic today to tie up a few loose ends for case presentations on Monday and my OR cases for next week.

About 7 pm I tried my best to dust off the lab materials from my face and clothes, changed out of my scrubs, and headed to the after-hours cafe. I made the seemingly long walk down to the cafeteria to pick up some dinner to feed my husband and myself tonight. As I walked, I checked my facebook and instagram (Yes, I am one of THOSE people who walks and phones at the same time. There just isn't enough time in the day to check those things when I am not walking.).

And then I realized, everyone is on vacation right now. Everyone is having fun right now. Everyone is enjoying time with their family right now. Everyone has summer off. Everyone never has to work. Everyone gets to do what they want to do, like clean the bathroom sometime this month, see their husband, have friends. Everyone.

But me.

As I carried my glamorous cafeteria-made pizzas in my backpack, hopped on my $14 garage sale bike (for commuting), hoping to see my husband sometime soon and that we will be awake enough to enjoy each other's company, I was definitely feeling the sacrifice of residency.

I enjoy my job. And today was over all a pretty good day, and I'm not meaning to complain. But sometimes it feels like I am living a very artificial and sterile life. I wonder what it must be like to actually know what the weather is like outside without having to ask someone. To go to the grocery store or bank in the middle of the day. To have a chore chart or laundry schedule (and stick to it). To notice a difference between summer and winter besides the setting on my thermostat at home.

I try to remind myself, "This week I fixed three faces" (among other things). I changed the lives of these people forever. Hopefully they will have an easier time eating the foods they enjoy. Maybe they will have the increased confidence they need to be successful. Perhaps they will be free from physical or emotional pain associated with their facial deformity.

I guess maybe it is worth the sacrifice.

But sometimes I still think it would be nice to go for a mid-morning jog or take a spontaneous overnight trip.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Keep Talkin' Happy Talk

I like to talk. 

If you know me, you've probably figured this out.

If you don't know me and read my blog, I assume you have also figured this out.

Sometimes being chatty can be helpful. I think it is easy for people to get to know me (even if I don't get to know them). I am often open and outgoing. I know other talkative people who I find quite endearing and entertaining. I hope that this is sometimes the case with me.

Unfortunately, this isn't always a good thing. Talking is an easy way to get myself in trouble! Along with my hobby of talking comes such habits (or even talents) like the overshare, interruptions, poor listening skills, self centered-ness, poor judgement and lack of discipline, and conversation piracy. "Aye me matey, this be my conversation now. Argh!"

It isn't uncommon for me to leave a party kicking myself for dominating a conversation. It is almost every week at church I have to de-brief with Abe. "What did you say THIS week?" With my guilty confessions of having one (or two, three, four) things too many to say in our lesson. And I am all too free to share my problems or frustrations with just about any one. I'm sure some of you are laughing because you know when you ask me the trite phrase, "How are you doing?" You'll often get way more than the "Fine, thank you" you were bargaining for. And I tend to trust that others will be on my side and wont use what I share (ever so easily with them) against me.

Sometimes I wish I were more of the quiet, stoic type. Abraham and most of his family are this way. They come across as cool and collected. Maybe even mysterious. They rarely have to account for their words, spreading them around carelessly or leaving them to be picked up by the wrong people. They are great conversationalists and rarely put themselves in situations where they have to feel bad for what they have said.

I have some things to learn from my more quiet friends and family and hope to be able to master my tongue. With all of the embarrassment, guilt, and frustration that I tend to bring on myself in conversation, I felt some relief when Abe read me a part of the book, How Will You Measure Your Life? by Clayton Christiansen. He states that 
Being chatty, thinking aloud, and commenting on what the child is doing and what the parent is doing or planning to do.
Oh boy, do I do this (with adults even!).

He also says, 
In short, when a parent engages in extra talk, many many more of the synaptic pathways in the child's brain are exercised and refined.
And my favorite part, 
That means children who have been exposed to extra talk have an almost incalculable cognitive advantage." 

I don't think I will be ever able to change my chatty nature but I hope to have more discipline in the future in what I say. I also apologize if any of my (many many) words have hurt you in any way. 

Until I get better, to keep myself out of trouble I guess I need to just have some kids to talk to (and grow their brains) instead!

I should be in bed...

I really don't have anything clever or thoughtful to say but as I realize I should be in bed (and hours ago-- esp considering how dead tired I am!) I thought I would give a little life update for those who want more details of my glamorous and exciting life.

We are heading into the summer months which inevitably mean extra busy schedules at work. Currently, I am what we call the "clinic chief." This means I am the senior resident in charge of coordinating and preparing ("working up") patients for all of our elective OR surgeries this month. This can be quite busy with a lot of lab work and presentations to prepare after hours. It has been really fun to finally be performing the procedures I've been watching from the sidelines for the past four years. I have also been amping up my study efforts. It seems there really isn't much time for much of anything outside of work lately.

Next month will likely prove to be even busier. As the weather heats up, so do our traumas. I will be on call the month of July for trauma as our "trauma chief," meaning I will be taking back up or second call the whole month. Our new residents start July 1 which means some extra work to get everyone amped up and ready to go.

I am excited for the new year. I think it will be a lot of fun to get to do more things in the operating room and I look forward to working with our upcoming residents. I hope I can be the kind of chief I would want while helping them learn what they need to know to be successful in residency.

In the meantime, my blogging will probably suffer. As will my housework, cooking, exercising, and much of anything outside of work which has been harder to get done lately more than ever. And I am going to try even harder to not ignore my husband too much. I think we've been accidentally neglecting each other much more with our crazy schedules.

Here's to one more year!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Dirty Trick Bad Picture Monday

My friend Tawnya keeps hassling me about the bad photos I've been posting of myself on Mondays. She states they simply aren't "bad enough." Every time I see her we have this same discussion, "Did you see that picture I posted? You need to post some pictures that actually are bad." I guess she maybe feels a little betrayed I encouraged her to be brave and then I didn't hold up my end of the bargain. I now feel like we are in competition to have the worst actual bad picture online.

I think this is a perfect example of being hard on yourself because I thought I was posting legitimate ugly pictures. My rebuttal is, "I can't help it if I am so beautiful even my ugly pictures are great." Sadly, I don't really believe that.

But in way of placating a friend (and moving on to more interesting future conversations), I will try yet again. In doing so I am taking a big risk --

I am posting said actual "bad picture" of Tawnya.

These are my reasons.

1. Objective comparison. The scientist in me needs to SEE the raw data.
2. Competitive spirit. If I have to look this bad, you should too.
3. Moral support. Isn't that the whole idea of these bad pictures, anyway? To take ourselves a little less seriously, and see others do the same.

And if that isn't good enough,

4. Tawnya, remember you were the original poster to put it out into internet land for all to see and repost? (And wouldn't it be funny if I ended here and didn't put my picture tempting.)

This is a particularly risky venture as she did not give me permission to repost the picture and she did not confirm to me which picture was indeed the said bad one.

I really am hoping for that reason that this is the one you meant! Wouldn't that be awkward if this was one of your faves.

So as promised above, here is mine for comparison. Should we start taking votes? Would anyone else like to join the competition for the title of "Actually Ugly" bad picture?

I sure hope this meets the criteria Tawnya! I don't think I can do much better (or would it be worse!). What can I say, I like Taco Bell.
Or we could say I am trying out to be on The Walking Dead. Don't I look like a zombie about to bite into someone?

Thanks for being brave Tawnya! I hope you realize I love that picture above as it gave me a good laugh and reminds me what a fun person you are (and probably a good cook, too). It doesn't make me think you are any less beautiful. (Hopefully you can return the favor!)

And a picture to prove it.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

I always cry at weddings

Weddings make me cry. It seems everything makes me cry lately, but weddings definitely do. I remained relatively stoic at the wedding of Abraham's brother and his adorable fiance just this past week but I did have a few moments of wiping the tears from my eyes ever so discretely.

My initial post for today was going to be related to weddings, inspired by this wedding...but then I thought people "love weddings" so here is my recap (rather than a long-winded wedding related deep thoughts post).

The wedding was beautiful and simple. Held at a restaurant in downtown Chicago called Nellcote. 

It was a hip restaurant with a vintage feels and eclectic details like orange chandeliers, an old fashioned bar, and teal chairs.

Upon arrival each guest had their picture taken with a polaroid camera and the picture was placed in the guest book with polka-dot tape. There was room to write messages and congratulations to the couple. So cute!

The ceremony was short and sweet and in the morning. The elder performing the ceremony was actually the physician who delivered the groom when he was born! He joked he was now delivering him again, to his new wife. What an unexpected but cute and interesting coincidence.

You may kiss the bride (with a much more dramatic and theatrical dip-style kiss than I would have been clever enough to think of let alone pull off!).

And then on to Brunch! 

Everything was simple yet elegant. Her wedding colors must have been black and white as I didn't see any other colors. There were no bridesmaids, no toasts, no bouquet toss.

But there was food! And it was quite colorful. Yummy appetizers, including mini pancake balls and lemon cream for dipping.

I had my first experience with the brunch classic "steak and eggs" and was not disappointed. This was by far the best menu option in my opinion.

The other menu selections were pan perdu (which I guess is french toast-- I guess I'm not very cultured to know that) and a personal cheese pizza.

It was a beautiful wedding and fun to see all of Abe's family together. Definitely a cool group of people. The sunglasses help confirm that fact (a fun wedding favor).

One of my favorite parts of a wedding is the cake. I love to see the unique twist the bride puts on this classic dessert. This was a pretty chocolate cake with buttercream frosting decorated with rose petals. And it got a thumbs up from Abe, which means it was pretty yummy.

Congrats to the beautiful bride and groom! Wish you all the best in the upcoming years!

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