Wedding Season!

I love weddings. Aside from the beautiful bride and groom, the constant smiling, and abundance of joy, I love weddings because it generally means Dr. J and I get to spend time with family and friends we don’t get to see too often. Oh the there’s the delicious food, excuses to buy dresses and shoes, and cake..mm..cake…

Anywho! Back to spending time with family and friends. The first wedding (of four!) for us this year was back in our home state of Massachusetts. Unfortunately, Dr. J had to work that weekend, so I left him with Luke Skywalker and flew home without him. While I missed him dearly, I wasn’t going to miss an opportunity to hang with my awesome sister who just got back from Kenya, my little/all grown up brother/chef, my older brother and his two new awesome pups, and of course, my parents in their gorgeous new townhouse in Newburyport.

Here’s how the weekend went:

Friday: Wake up at 4AM. Wake up dog to go for his (very early) morning walk. Arrive in Boston via airplane. Fried clams for lunch. Beach day with siblings (and green heads). Pre dinner ice cream (bubble gum soft serve!). Dinner with family. Settler’s of Catan to finish the night!

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Saturday: Drive around town with Mom. Pop in to meet my brother’s two new doggies – Fiona and Noah! Art Fair on town green. More ice cream. Do hair for our sister-in-law’s sister’s wedding. Shana and Scott’s wedding with the family in Boston. Food, cake, dancing, photo booth, candy favors. Yum.

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Sunday: Yankee Homecoming in Newburyport with my parents. Lunch at little brother’s place of employment/cookery. Torrential rain storm. On time flight back to Philly despite torrential rain storm. Back to Philly via propellor plane from Laguardia (they still let people fly those things?) No Dr. J at home to greet me because, you know, 27 hour call shifts in the MICU.

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Yesterday was the second anniversary of our very own wedding! Usually the traditional anniversary gift is cotton, but we decided to change it up this year to “bicycle” because that’s how you spin it when your husbands bike (aka primary mode of transportation) gets stolen. As just-got-off-over-a-month-of-MICU-service Dr. J put it, “there are much worse things that can happen to a person than getting their bike stolen.” #perspective

 

Happy days/more weddings ahead!

Bridget

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Airbnb for Dogs

Dr. J is almost done with his first rotation of PGY2 (post graduate year #2)! Yippee!

Thank goodness I have our dog, Luke Skywalker, to keep me company sane. Getting a dog during intern year was probably the best decision ever, even though I do most of the care taking/walking/feeding, our little guy has definitely our lives much happier. That said, for residency we find ourselves in a city without much family around and our only friends are other residents (or attached to other residents). This leaves us in a conundrum of what-to-do-with-the-dog-when-we-want-to-go-to-a-wedding/weekend away and can’t take our furry child with us.

Enter Rover.com

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This awesome little website is like Airbnb for dog sitting and is available in most big cities. And is awesome.

How it works:

Enter in the dates you need a sitter for your dog and your city.

Pick one of the reviewed/vetted/background checked/dog-loving sitters in your area to set up a meet-and-greet

If all goes well, pay via the website and voila!

Your dog gets to stay with a loving family/person and doesn’t have to go to a kennel during your vacation!

And! Doggies are covered by Rover Pet Insurance during their stay (just in case)

Rates are determined by the sitters but are often much lower than the cost of kennel (and without all the risks of a stay at a kennel!)

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Luke having fun with his staycation family!

Luke now has his own “staycation family.” We found a lovely young couple who live just a few blocks away from us who are our go-to Rover sitters. We were initially a little worried about leaving our separation-anxiety-prone-previous-shelter-dog Luke with strangers. However, because he was allowed to meet them and explore their home first, and he was the only dog in the house (aka center of attention), everything went great! We have four weddings this summer/fall, three of which we both get to go to (!), so Luke’s going to get several staycation weekends with his second family.

Wedding season here we come,

Bridget (& Luke Skywalker)

p.s. I have no affiliation with Rover.com nor did they pay me to write any of this, I am just a happy customer!

Welcome to PGY2…!

After a lovely, albeit cloudy, beach trip to Atlantic City to mark the end of the first year of residency (!), Dr. J and I have embarked on PGY2.. and oh boy, this year is going to be a doozy!

 

Dr. J and I enjoying a cloudy day at the beach

Dr. J and I enjoying a cloudy day at the beach

Had to go on a ride, of course!

Had to go on a ride, of course!

Dr. J and some his fellow rising JARs/PGY2s

Dr. J and some his fellow rising JARs/PGY2s

Doctors love boogie boards!!

Doctors love boogie boards!!

While intern year posed a steep learning curve and 90+ 80 hour work weeks, Dr. J’s program had a lovely 6+2 schedule, which means 6 weeks on the wards (with one weekend day off) followed by 2 weeks of ambulatory service with a golden weekend during ambulatory! Very predictable. Good for people, like me, who like to make plans in advance. PGY2 year…not so much.

On top of working 12-16 hour days, every fourth day he goes in at 9AM and stays until 12noon the next day. He gets every 8th day off. Predictable yes, easy to plan things together..no. I tried to write it all down on our giant calendar. Turns out despite only working 4 days a week I still won’t overlap many days off with Dr. J. Le sigh…

But! I know I still have it better than other residency programs, so I’ll end my little pity party there and be grateful I still get to go to bed beside him most nights of the week.

Luckily, I have lots of art/craft/sewing projects lined up while Jason is hard at work! And a super cute doggie companion. If you’re a medical spouse (or an MD to be with a spouse/SO), I highly recommend getting a dog during residency if both your schedules allow for it – there will always be at least one someone at home ready to happily greet you every day! We also found a great dog sitter service for when we do actually get to go to a wedding/weekend away – more on that to come!

Finishing up some Sunday night art projects! (Dr. J is at work 9AM until 12noon tomorrow!)

Bridget (& Luke Skywalker)

Oh Happy Day!

We got to add this wicked awesome memory to our daily calendar today! Dr. J wrote it in himself!

It’s hard to believe we’re already a third of the way through residency. So much has happened in this last year yet I feel like it went by in a flash! Even crazier is that Dr. J has decided on a fellowship track for after residency (Pulm-Critical Care) and we have to start thinking about the next step already. Can’t wait to see what PGY2 brings us!

But first, an end of the year/beginning of the year beach retreat to Atlantic City this weekend with his fellow rising junior residents!

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Happy days ahead,
Bridget

Dear Diary

About a month ago, Dr.J and I started a little family diary. Like really little. Only one memory a day. I saw the idea of a perpetual calendar diary floating around Pinterest for quite a while now and even made one for my sister for Christmas. Her daily entries are probably a tad more exciting than mine as she spends several months a year in Kenya studying ecology – see her awesome blog here! 

I don’t know why I put off making one for Dr.J and I for so long, but I finally did it!

Even Dr. J participates! His entries are usual related to his day at the hospital – May 18, 2014: Ran first code in CCU – while mine are usually related to a sunny day or something delicious we made for dinner – May 20, 2014: Fried Chicken and Waffles for dinner!

I can’t wait to see how the days fill up year after year.



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Make your own DIY Perpetual Diary Calendar

-366 Index cards (I cut mine in half)

-12 index cards covered in contrasting paper (to separate months)

-Box (I found the one pictured at Michael’s but I used this ceramic berry box from Crate and Barrel for my sister’s)

-Pen

1. Label each card with a day of the year

2. Cover your 12 extra index cards with fun paper to separate each month (this is optional, of course)

3. Every day add a short one-line memory to that day’s card in the following format –  year: memory

 

Happy Memory Recording!

Bridget

Two things that will change your life

So that title may be a vast overstatement but at least one of the things will definitely change your life (or death rather..?) and everyone should have it. The second is just awesome.

The first thing may be a little morbid but it’s something that everyone should have or at least have thought about once. An Advance Directive, also known as a living will, is an important document that allows you to document your wishes concerning medical treatment at the end of life. An Advance Directive addresses three things regarding end of life care:

First, a person defines the amount and kind of care he or she might receive under various medical circumstances. Second, a person designates a health care agent to make medical decisions when the person can no longer do so. Third, advance directives may also address other end-of-life care issues including organ donation, whole body donation to medical schools, funeral and burial arrangements, legacy recordings for posterity, and—in 3 states (Oregon, Washington, and Montana)—assisted dying. (1)

The reason I bring this up is because Dr. J just spent many weeks caring for patients in the ICU, many of whom would pass away during their time there. And he’s highly considering a fellowship in Critical Care after residency. Most people (myself included), when given the option, would choose to die in the comfort of their own home rather than in a hospital or nursing home. But more and more people  (78% according to the Congressional Research Service) are spending their last days in the hospital or nursing home. No doubt it is scary, unpleasant, a little depressing, and often confusing to think about what you want to happen in your last days. Personally though, I think an advance directive is way easier to complete or at least think about when you are healthy, able to make carefully thought through decisions, and talk through these decisions with your loved ones. No one wants to be the one making decisions about end of life treatment in the traumatic, emotional, and often confusing setting that is a hospital ICU.

The best part about an Advance Directive is that you can always change your mind about what treatment you would or would not want at the end-of-life. It’s not set in stone. It only takes a few minutes to complete and you don’t need a lawyer. So go fill out (or at least look at!) an Advance Directive! The forms for each state are easily found here.

 

And now for something completely different…

 

The second thing that will change your life is TOTALLY and completely unrelated. It’s a food, or rather a condiment, that makes almost anything better. What is this magical delicious topping you ask? Pickled Red Onions! I came across the recipe on Pinterest (where else?) a couple weeks ago and use them almost daily (I have made three batches so far). They add acidity to savory things you didn’t know needed a touch of acid! Seriously, make some right now. Your sandwiches and dinners and bagels and mouth and tummy will thank you (over and over again)! Thanks to the blog sharedappetite.com for the recipe because these are the most cherished thing in our fridge right now. Seriously, I’m in love. Get the recipe here.

 

Photo From: The Shared Appetite, Easy Pickled Onions

Photo From: The Shared Appetite, Easy Pickled Onions

So get these two things in your life right now!

You’re welcome in advance,

Bridget

 

1. Morhaim DK, Pollack KM. End-of-life care issues: a personal, economic, public policy, and public health crisis. Am J Public Health. 2013;103(6):e8-e10.

Things that can wait

When your husband (or wife or significant other or roommate) is in residency, there are a few things that end up taking a back seat at home. Luckily, for Dr. J and I we have an equal appreciation for cleanliness and messiness. Since beginning residency, our apartment might be a more messy lived in than we’d like, but we’re OK with that.

Most days, I see Dr. J for a few seconds in the morning when he kisses me good bye and then for about 2 hours before bedtime (his work hours only add up to “80 hours” a week, I swear). We always try to eat dinner together when he gets home from the hospital, if it’s still light out we’ll go for a family walk with Luke Skywalker, and then it’s almost time for bed! We could spend a portion of our time together cleaning up from dinner or doing the overflowing laundry or vacuuming or emptying the dishwasher, but we don’t. And we’re OK with that. And our apartment is kind of messy. And we’re OK with that, too. It all eventually gets done and clean, just not in an incredibly timely manner. Such is life in residency. Don’t sweat it. Spend time together first, the dishes can wait.

On another spending time together note, it’s finally spring in Philly! The trees are blooming, the pollen count is skyrocketing, and the dog park is full of happy doggies after work! Luke Skywalker and I try to get down to the dog park after work so that Dr. J can meet us there on his bike ride back from work.

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Here’s to a weekend of ignoring the dishes,

-Bridget

Sunday, Rainy Sunday

It’s spring (finally)! Here in Philly that means warmer temps, open windows, daffodils, and rain instead of snow.

Today is one of those stay-inside-nap-all-day kind of rainy days. Dr. J has today off from the MICU and we’re (trying) to take advantage of a full 24 hours together. We were able to check out a yummy little cafe down the street for breakfast and then went to a matinee showing (because when you can’t stay awake past 9 o’clock, that’s what you do) of the new Wes Anderson movie, The Grand Budapest Hotel. Now we’re back at home with time for a nice long nap (and some much needed loads of laundry).

Sweet Dreams!

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Oh yeah, I retired my puffy winter coat for the season (fingers crossed for no more snow). Prior to putting it away I gave my down parka a much needed cleaning thanks to the instructions posted around the interwebs. I didn’t even take pictures because it was embarrassingly dirty. Now it is much cleaner with no dry cleaning required!

How to clean your puffy down winter coat:

Step 1: Spot clean extra dirty spots

Step 2: Throw in your washer and wash on “delicate” with “warm/warm” water and some mild laundry detergent

Step 3: Wash again on “delicate” with “warm/warm” water – this time no detergent!

Step 4: Throw in your dryer with three clean tennis balls and dry on low heat for about 2 hours

Voila! Clean re-puffed down winter coat!

 

Also, don’t try to make macarons on rainy days..

Nap time,

Bridget

Match Day

Next week, fourth year medical school students (and some interns, too) will be finding out where they will spend the first years of their career as a doctor.

The Match is kind of a crazy system, especially when trying to explain it to non-medicine people/relatives/friends. The basic gist of it is that each graduating medical student ranks the hospitals where they were fortunate enough to have an interview from most desirable to least, the hospitals then rank all their applicants from most desirable to least – and then someone somewhere hits a button and a computer algorithm matches each applicant with their highest ranked program based on the hospital ranking of applicants and voila! The assignments are put into envelopes and fourth years everywhere open them on Match Day! (there’s actually more to it than that..but that’s basically what happens)

As you might have guessed, Match Day is not all fun and excitement…

First, for most specialty residencies, there simply aren’t enough residency slots at hospitals to match every single applicant. Luckily, no one opens up a blank envelope in front of their family/peers at Match Day if they didn’t match. That’s where Black Monday comes in. From the convenience of their home, applicants get an email the Monday before Match Day that tells them simple whether or not they have matched. Cue sigh of relief or panic attack. A note to all graduating medical students, if you have a friend who does not match, please do not avoid them on Black Monday – bring them pizza and ice cream and a box of tissues, because they need your support to jump right back into the applications for The Scramble (exactly what it sounds like, unmatched applicants scramble for for the small list of open residency spots after the initial match).

Second, nothing about the match is certain. You/your significant other could be at the top of the class, have a stellar application, interviewed at the best hospitals and still every hospital that is ranked is fair game for the match. If you truly have no desire whatsoever to live in a certain place, don’t rank it if you have the option, because you really truly could be matched at any of the programs you rank (yes most get one of their top three rankings but, especially in competitive specialties, any program is still fair game).

2013 Match Day at Mardi Gras World

2013 Match Day at Mardi Gras World

Last year at this time, Dr. J and I were getting pretty excited about the prospect of moving back to our home city. I was lucky enough to have a husband who was able to turned down an interview with a top ranking program because of the location and who allowed me to have a say in the rank list he submitted. I went into The Match convinced Dr. J was going to match at his #1 choice – we were already looking at houses to buy, dogs to adopt, gyms to join – wrong. wrong. wrong. Match Day at Tulane is, like everything in New Orleans, a party. After a group picture and introduction, graduates are called up one by one to collect their envelopes with their future neatly typed inside. Dr. J’s name was called and I thought I knew what was inside the envelope. Dr. J opened it and I saw the letters PA and all I could think was “What? No way! He must have got the wrong envelope! We were supposed to match in Boston!” Meanwhile – Dr. J was elated, smiling ear to ear and hugging and high five-ing everyone in sight. I was a little in shock at the situation – afterall a computer program had just determined the next 3-4 years of our life – but I didn’t (selfishly) cry until we got home. Dr. J knew I was not entirely thrilled with the results of the Match and kept telling me, “You’re gonna love Philly, I promise. I wouldn’t have ranked it if I didn’t think you’d like it.”

match results!

And you know what, he’s right! Philly is a great little city, we’ve met lots of wonderful people, we live closer to home and friends, adopted a cutie pie of a dog, and even found a place for me to take dance class twice a week.

Happy Match Day to All Next Week!

-Bridget

p.s. If you were wondering Dr. J ranked UPenn #2 (although sometimes I think he ranked it #1 and didn’t tell me)

(Better) Hair Coloring at Home

Contrary to popular belief, just because your spouse has an MD after his or her name does not mean you have a large amount of monetary funds to throw around you’re rich (there, I said it). In fact, especially during residency, a budget is key to affording groceries/rent and saving for things like a house or a baby (no, Mom, still no babies in our very near future). We try to account for everything in our budget – from dog food to wedding gifts to hair cuts. Which brings me to our DIY today! Coloring your hair at home, with results that you’ll actually like!

Face it – getting your hair colored at a salon is EX-PEN-SIVE! I know as a blonde if I want to go lighter, the best way is a full set of highlights. But that wasn’t really in the budget, so I started doing some research about the best way to color at home. I wanted some all over lightening that wasn’t too far from my natural medium blonde hair.

Here’s a round up of everything I’ve unearthed about hair coloring on the interwebs:

1. Mix two boxes together: this is how the pros get that unique not-too-brassy-not-too-ashy color
2. Use the same brand: don’t mix brands as they use different chemicals and you don’t want your head to turn into a chemistry experiment gone wrong (I used Clairol Nice N’ Easy)
3. Only mix colors in the same level or within 1 level of each other: Self explanatory. Mixing a level 7 + 8 will get you a 7.5 (I used a mix of 8-Ash and 8-Natural)
4. Avoid “golden” tones: Yes, they sound lovely, but when it comes to home hair color, golden = brassy red tones
5. If you’re going to mix tones choose an “ash” and a “natural.” Never mix an “ash” and a “golden”
6. Don’t go by the model’s hair color on the box, use the swatches on the back to determine what color you’re going for

With all these tips in mind – let’s get coloring!
(always start with a strand test)
1. Mix your colors individually as directed
2. If you’re using two different levels, apply the lighter of the two to the hair framing your face fist
3. Mix the entire contents of each individual bottle in a plastic bowl (not metal or glass!)
4. Apply your new mixed color to your roots first, then the rest of your hair
5. Cover with a shower cap and process for the time indicated on the box, checking the color periodically
6. Rinse and style!

I failed to take a before picture, but take a gander through the Tremblant post for my lovely grown out highlights

After: Blonde again!

After: Blonde again!

After: No highlights were used I swear!

After: No highlights were used I swear!

After: You can color at home!

After: You can color at home!

References:
http://beautyeditor.ca/2013/09/27/how-to-go-blonde-at-home/
http://www.harpersbazaar.com/beauty/hair-articles/home-hair-color-1110
http://www.refinery29.com/hair-color-how-to

Happy Hair Coloring!

-Bridget