Monday, December 31, 2018

Happy New Year!

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Happy New Year!  I actually love this day - a chance for new beginnings and a backwards glance to see where you've been.  As always, a mix of happiness and sadness - sometimes all in the same 30 minutes.  But that is what it is and what it will be always. 

To you and yours - a happy & healthy new year!  I wish you all good things.

Live your life, live your life, live your life! -Maurice Sendak

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Friday, December 28, 2018

Mary Poppins.



We did see Mary Poppins Returns over this winter break.  I enjoyed it and thought the songs were pretty good.  And it's nice to see dancing too.  And you can see how charming Lin-Manuel Miranda is and how he persuaded people to shell out an obscene amount of money to see a Broadway musical about American history. 

Edda is asleep, Vince is at a friend's house.  Jeremy is working on Philmont stuff.  I'm ruminating about my nursing side hustle.  I'm afraid this scheduling nightmare might cause me to end this side-gig little experiment.  For example, I didn't know I was going to work Christmas Eve until 5 days before it - seems a bit unreasonable, no?  I'm constantly confused about how to schedule my shifts which is causing me a lot of stress.  We are planning many, many things in April, May & summer that requires a degree of flexibility I was hoping I could get with nursing and I think I can get, but somehow seems impossible now. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Pecan pie, creche, zoo, mountain biking.

On our Christmas - the 23rd - my mother made her famous egg rolls.

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Jeremy made a turkey where he first deboned the entire bird and then stuffed it and then roasted it which made it a roast which looked like a turkey, but you could slice through it like a loaf of bread.  It was delicious.

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We unboxed sherah's pecan pie from Zingerman's which is a deli in Ann Arbor which is where Seth went to school so we spent time talking about Ann Arbor.

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We demolished the pie.  (of course, like the rest of the country, I ate too many sweets this holiday season.  I was down a few pounds from a mild GI issue earlier this month and now I've regained that and a tad more from all the chocolates and cookies and cupcakes. hmmm... no good.)

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I did spend Christmas Eve and Christmas at the hospital working.  In a strange way,  I was happy to do this, though always, always, as I'm pulling out of my driveway a little past 6 am, I never want to go to work.  (I think that maybe I'm just psychologically set up to always hate going to work?  Might be true unfortunately.  I'm working on it.)  I am forever grateful to my family for adjusting Xmas slightly for this.  The patient load was lighter for the two days - trying to rush people out in time for the holiday and setting up some cheer for people who knew they were going to spend it in the hospital.  I'm good enough friends now with my coworkers and comfortable enough on the unit to relax a bit and enjoy banter and baked goods in the staff lounge.  Though it might have been lighter - it still was filled with drama - a couple of stat team calls, a few folks walking out AMA on the unit.  It really never stops. 

Working in a Catholic hospital on Christmas, I don't think I've ever said Merry Christmas as many times as I did on Tuesday.  I honestly think I more than quadrupled the number of times in my life I've said Merry Christmas.  Normally, my greeting over this time of year is the non-religious, all-inclusive Happy Holidays but then it also occurred to me that I normally don't see so many people on Christmas to wish them a Merry Christmas.  It's not only the medical staff that has to work on Xmas, the food staff, the housekeeping staff, the transport staff - everyone still shows up.  That's a lot of people to say Merry Christmas to.

My favorite patient on Christmas had set up this lovely creche by her window:

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Complete with the three wise men with camels.  Note the empty 495 beltway in the background:

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I took care of so many funny, lively, tired, confused, hurting tummy & short of breath grandmothers on Christmas!  So many!  They all loved talking about their grandchildren or were surrounded by them. 

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Jeremy makes me my lunch everyday.  Such small pleasures!

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He even packed a small holiday kiss in the middle of my cashews.

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Edda went to the zoo on Christmas Eve with Jeremy, Kiki & Kappa and Louisa.  She was all smiles and was quite taken with this hopping rodent which I've forgotten the name of.  It's nocturnal, so they are tricking it into being active during the day with this red light.

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Jeremy and Vince went mountain biking on Christmas day!

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Sunday, December 23, 2018

Christmas is today (for me).

I think the winter solstice is one of my favorite days of the year because now we are turning towards the light.  Just thinking of that makes me feel good - better than I did at the beginning of the month.  Today was Christmas in the house.  Actually, there are two Christmases - one today with the Martins and then one on Wed with the Lees.  We are splitting the difference because I'm at the hospital tomorrow and Tues.  It was a very satisfying Christmas celebration day for me - Jeremy said it was less stressful for him because he knew that if he needed something extra for dinner, he could just go to the store and buy it. 

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Breakfast which included an incredibly delicious panettone from Williams Sonoma.

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Gift opening where Vince got the most presents (as expected).

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Max got a chewy and a holiday cumberbund.

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Vince flambe-d some mushrooms (?)

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A doggie run/walk in the afternoon at the C&O.

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Then a full on dinner for 20 with the Martins and my parents and the extended Martin family.  Pecan pie from Zingerman's from sherah, my most loyal commenter.  It was delicious.  Now to bed early.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

International night, Apple, Hufflepuff.

International night was Thursday at RM.  Vince worked crew (recording).  It was fast and furious (which is good for a mid-week holiday-week event) - act following act and no lost time.  We traveled all over the place with many, many cultures represented.  Lots of mispronounced names by the HS emcees, they forgot to prep by getting the phonetic pronunciation from the performers like they do at graduations.

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It was surprisingly fun.  The most interesting part to me was there was so much hip hop influence in many of the international acts which were not intentionally hip-hop.  I guess the "American" part of international night would have been all the straight up hip-hop dancing.  And also surprising to me were all the Asian girls participating in hip hop dancing.  Never before have I felt like this - where I see female Asians in some role that I want to be in - but I'm like - I want to be a female Asian hip hop dancer.  That'll be for later.

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We do love RM for its diversity:

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This is Wootton (Edda's school and my old high school) - these two schools are 3 miles apart:

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Though I still am very loyal to my old high school.  Go Patriots!  Are my kids in the 2+ category?  I'm not sure. 

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Bob and Katherine are in town for the holidays.  I'm working Christmas eve and Christmas (probably the first and last time in my life I will ever work these days) so we are doing Christmas on the 23rd and so therefore today is Christmas Eve in the Martin-Lee household.  We went to Bethesda to the Apple store so Katherine could buy a new laptop.  She picked one that was 2 pounds!  Two pounds!  Crazy.

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Edda and I were impatient waiting in the Apple store and walked around the rest of the downtown.  We stopped off at Joe and the Juice where I bought an overpriced drink.

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Edda really enjoyed this smoothie.  It was thick enough to spoon feed it to her.

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Then we went to Anthropologie where I marveled at dresses.

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We walked around Williams Sonoma to look at the Harry Potter spatulas.  Do you need a Harry Potter spatula?  Does anyone need a Harry Potter spatula.  I think in my 20s, I'd want to be a Ravenclaw, but now I want to be in Hufflepuff.

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Thursday, December 20, 2018

Updates.

Vince got elected patrol leader - he's leading the Panther pack (it was uncontested).   It'll be good.

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We went to Edda's school today to throw a little holiday party.  Georgetown Cupcakes and juice boxes.  A lot of sugar.  We got to give little gifts to all the staff and say hello and introduce ourselves.  We also got to say hi to a bunch of kids, some of them we last saw in Edda's elementary school.  Edda was surprised that we showed up to school in our Xmas clothing.  We did so few holiday things this year, so it was nice to make this one happen.  Thank you Jeremy.

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Vince is still on his baking streak, making cookies every Sunday.  These gingerbread ones were surprisingly eagerly eaten by the high school crowd. 

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Sorry, the photos are out of order - here we are with Edda's teacher waiting for the buses to pull in after the party.

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This is nice, huh?  I spy my friend Camille - she's wearing purple scrubs.  Molly is in the PICU this holiday season.  As much as I'm struggling with my job, I do try to remember it's 1000x easier than being a patient.  It's nice to be reminded of that by Santa/Obama.  Also, peds nurses?  Those people are amazing.  Superhuman.  I can barely handle sick grown ups. 



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I'm beginning to enjoy medical humor.  Even though no one on my floor is dying, I do have a similar this feeling about math. 

I like this one too:

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Monday, December 17, 2018

vent.

It was a beautiful day today.  I'm trying to tamp down my apprehensions about going to the hospital tomorrow.  I have very strong feelings (v.s.f.) of not wanting to step into the hospital ever again - but I can't quite tell if it's because of my seasonal blues or because I really hate the hospital.  I absolutely knew this part of the year would come (when it's cold/dark outside, when I feel like I should know more, but I'm still clueless a lot of the time and just like - omg, the patients are so, so needy), so it's not a complete surprise to me that I don't want to go to work tomorrow but, man, I just don't wanna.  I want to take two weeks off and spend it all under my warm, warm covers.

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I'm 10,000 times thankful I never became a doctor because I think the training would have killed me.

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Usually I think I take Ning and Noah out on walks, but today, they definitely took me on a walk.  I needed a reason to find myself out in the beautiful sunshine getting some Vitamin D.

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holiday blues.

I'm tired and my regular seasonal blues are back.  I don't know why it surprises me every year, but it does.  You'd figure after 46 years of feeling blue in Dec/Jan/Feb (I'm sure I was blue as a three month old infant, lol) I would remember that it always happens and to give myself some grace, but I always end up semi-berating myself for not enjoying the holiday season like a normal person.  Hahaha.  I go through the same cyclical thing: I have a strong desire to stay in bed all day which I indulge on the days I can indulge, then I make myself do something and then I feel better and I remind myself that doing something always makes one feel better and then somehow I find myself tucked back into bed squirreled away under the covers again.  Then I ask myself what do you have to be blue about because, really, I'm #blessed and then I make myself feel bad for feeling bad.  Anyways, I'm fine.  Fine. I just really really want the days to get longer and the weather to not be rainy.

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My parents took Edda and me out for lunch on Saturday afternoon.  It was pleasant.  My mother ordered the mussels as usual.  We hashed out some end of life issues which, honestly, surprised me - both in the sense that we talked about it and also in the sense that they answered some questions differently than I would have guessed they would have answered. 

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Jeremy called me frantically Saturday night from the cabin campout because he thought he booked 15 flights on the wrong date.  He is planning the scout trip to Philmont next summer and he thought he had booked the return trip a day early.  I'm like - crap, I can't make him feel bad about this because no good will come from more bad feelings so I said (calmly) - don't worry, we'll just rebook them all and cover the change fees.  Even though, O.M.G.  All the change fees!!!  But then he texted back 4 hours, oh, I take that back, I think the flights are fine. 

Jeremy and Vince had total control over the food (which is what they desire at all scout events, but sadly, hardly ever have total control) at the campout which resulted in a delicious fajita dinner. 

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Mostly it was Vince planning the menu and cooking.  That boy loves to cook.

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Yesterday, the thing I made myself do was to finally put up the lights on the tree.  The tree has been standing in the corner naked since Thanksgiving weekend when Vince gallantly decided to put up the tree, but ran out of steam to actually decorate it.  So it was a little sad - a little Charlie Brown Christmas special looking.  But Eliana loves Christmas, so we turned on a spotify Xmas playlist and went through all the lights and ornaments which included little trinkets that Eliana first got us when she met us almost 10 years ago.  Very nice. 

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While we were putting on the lights, the boys came home from the campout bringing all the extra food.  So hot dog all around for lunch.  xoxo.

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Friday, December 14, 2018

campout.

The boys are gone this weekend on a cabin campout.  Vince seems excited about it, Jeremy is less so.  It's going to be rainy and cold so I'm not sure what is going to go on at the campout beyond epic long games of Magic and Cards Against Humanity and Jeremy wishing that he was at home.  At least there will be cooking.  I think Jeremy and Vince are in charge, so there will be actual cooking instead of instant noodles.  Jeremy even packed our toaster oven.

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I asked for a subscription to the New Yorker for Christmas.  I know, a pretentious gift, but I'm having trouble these days reading things longer than a tweet/meme/youtube video.  Novels seem to be incredibly insurmountable.  I'm trying to bridge the two by going to long form essays. 

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I am still struggling with my nursing side gig.  I'm on the other side of working 4 out of the last 6 days.  Not terrible, but still not great.  By the last day, in the late afternoon, I could tell I was losing control of my composure.  I basically went around the unit at 5pm and made all of my coworkers give me a hug. 

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Orienteering, Sunday night dinner.

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Vince and I went orienteering today.  It was cold, but it was a good running day - temps in the low 30s.  Vince ran the intermediate course (Orange) and I ran the course I should run for my age which is the 2nd longest advanced course (Green).  Vince and I both covered about 5 miles.   I tried to not get my feet wet.  When it's warm, I don't mind splashing through streams, but in the winter, I don't want to be cold/wet for so long.  I'm not in terrific running shape (nor am I in good navigation shape - one needs practice and I'm not practicing weekly), but it's really nice to be outside exerting oneself in the woods.  I really would love to be out in the woods at least once a week, it reminds me that I am a living, breathing being and need time away from the built and connected world. When I pick up a little speed in the woods, it feels good - grateful that my body works well enough to weave through the trees with the leaves crunching under my feet.  Unlike running on the roads, I'm always compensating for uneven footing balancing and rebalancing with each step.  With the nursing gig, I tried for a while (maybe 6 weeks?) to keep up my routine of running workouts (1 long run a week and 1 speed workout), but I just couldn't sustain it.  Being in good running shape makes the woods running exhilarating.  It's even better when I'm in good navigation shape too. The hospital gig is physically and mentally draining, that I feel like I can't spare the extra energy to running hard on my off days which I miss.  I'm still running most days I'm not at the hospital, but I'm trying to figure out how to get the workouts back.  Will I be too physically overextended?  I think I could do it if I could sleep 9 hours a night.  I'd have to go to bed at 8:45 every night - which is basically impossible - I'd be the first person asleep in the house.  As for Vince, he missed a control, but he didn't give up, he completed his course - a good thing.  He even said that he kind of enjoyed it.

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The orienteering was near my parents' house, so we stopped by for a quick minute to visit them.  Dad was in the basement building it out.  Mom was napping.  We invited them to Sunday night dinner.

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Sunday night dinner with the family.  Joan passed away early Friday morning.  I hadn't talked to Christine & family since we visited on Thursday morning, so we all caught up and gave hugs all around.   We lit candles for the last night of Hanukkah and we sang happy birthday to Eric.

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This week is going to be challenging, my shifts are close together so I'm going to be tired, but I have 4 days off in a row soon, so I'll keep that on my mind until I see you on the other side.

Sleep.

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You know, actually getting 8 hours of sleep is difficult.  But when you get it, it feels great.  Actually, 8.5 is the best.  mmmm. 

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Friday, December 7, 2018