Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

We hope your holidays are filled with love, laughter, happiness and family.

"Bread - so that you may never know hunger.
Salt - that life may always have flavor. 
Wine - that joy and prosperity may reign forever."
It's A Wonderful Life

Photograph by Anna E. Burns

Monday, December 23, 2013

Visit to the Christmas Tree Farm

This year Travis and I are celebrating our third Christmas together as husband and wife.  So like years past, we visited the same Christmas Tree Farm in Pennsylvania to find our tree. This year it finally felt and looked like winter down here. The last two years (see here) it was 50-60 degrees and sunny. While I can't complain about that weather, the snow and chilly temps (to a certain extent) put us more in the holiday spirit. It is always fun to head out on a snowy expedition to search for and chop down the perfect Christmas tree. This year was no exception. Not quite sure why this is one of my favorite holiday traditions. Perhaps it is because I get to walk around and find the perfect tree while Travis does all of the hard labor. Well, actually this year he made me work a bit. But it was still fun, nonetheless. 

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Monday, December 16, 2013

What I learned in Emergency Medicine...

Another rotation down! I am happy to report I survived 5 weeks in the Emergency Room. This was the rotation I was most nervous about, but it actually ended up being one of my favorites. It is definitely a different world compared to primary or inpatient medicine, but I guess that is what's exciting about it. You never know what it going to walk through the door. 

While this picture is not actually from the ED, it is one of my favorites. One of the best parts of PA School for me has been meeting three phenomenal girl friends. I don't know if I would have made it through these two years if I didn't have them by my side. I am really going to miss them come May. Looking forward to making this last semester, the very best. 

PA School

So with that being said, here are 10 things in learned in the Emergency Department: 

1. 90% of the cases that walk into the ED are NOT EMERGENCIES

2. With that being said I think I did more throat swobs in the ED than I did in Family Medicine

3. I love suturing and stapling. It's rewarding in the sense that it provides immediate resolution to the problem.

4. I really need to get better at my own CT scans. It is a learning process.

5. When a patient starts their chief complaint with the words, "I was just standing there minding my own business.." it's never a good thing.

6. Routine in your history and physical examinations is so very valuable.

7. ED Nurses are amazing. Be appreciative and kind. They have so much knowledge and experience. You can really learn from them.

8. You have to be quick, yet detailed and thorough. A difficult combination to master.

9. The one major aspect I did not particularly like was the lack of follow up on patients. After we discharged, admitted, or referred patients to other providers, it was easy for that to be the end of the road in terms of contact with the patient and their condition.

10. I worked mostly night shifts. I actually really enjoyed them. Often times, interesting cases would walk through the door on Saturday evening at midnight. With that being said, it also made me even more of a night owl.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Europe Trip 2014

Attention all travelers and expats! 

I am looking for some advice and tips! Travis and I, along with my sister and her boyfriend are planning a trip to Europe this May. We plan on visiting Ireland, Belgium and France, all in just about two weeks. This trip is a chance to celebrate our birthdays, my graduation, our anniversary and it's basically a trip for us making it through graduate school and two and a half years apart. It is the light at the end of the tunnel and has kept me going through school. I am so thrilled to go back to Europe, travel with my husband and share some of the crazy moments and adventures with two of my favorite people. 

While studying abroad in England during college I was able to travel to Ireland. However it was on one of those cheesy bus tours and I think I spent about 4 days there. I am so excited to head back and really soak in the Irish countryside and culture. As for Belgium, it is the home of beer, frites, and chocolate? Duh. Need I say more? And France, specifically Paris. The one place I wanted to see while abroad and I never had a chance to explore. But you know what? I am so glad I didn't, because now I get to gallivant around the city of love with my husband! I am squealing with glee right now. 

So, I am asking you travel experts for the lowdown. I am looking for the must see sites, to die for places to dine, pubs we absolutely must drink a pint in, you get the idea. Any small piece of advice you have would be greatly appreciated. I am all ears. 

Europe Trip
Europe Trip
Europe Trip
{Photo 1 Credit}
{Photo 2 Credit}
{Photo 3 Credit}

Friday, November 29, 2013

Another year, another ball

This year marked the fifth Marine Corps Ball Travis and I attended. Each year I am in awe of the men and women in uniform and the daily sacrifices they make. Even though I know what to expect I always get chills and a little choked up during the ceremony. The traditions, honor and history of the Marine Corps continues to impress and inspire me. I am so proud of my husband, grandfather and my father-in-law as well as the many friends we have made throughout the years. Travis and I enjoyed spending the evening together getting dressed up, sharing in a few drinks as well as some dancing. Here are a few of my pictures from the evening. 

Happy 238th Birthday United States Marine Corps!

Marine Corps Ball

Marine Corps Ball

Marine Corps Ball

Marine Corps Ball

Marine Corps Ball

Monday, November 25, 2013

What I learned in Internal Medicine...

I have started to realize that I do not share much about PA school and my studies on the blog. First of all it's difficult to know what I can say about my experiences with patient confidentiality and secondly I am not sure if anyone is necessarily interested. However, this is a huge part and sometimes the only thing that is going on in my life. Well, since school is going to start winding down pretty soon, I thought maybe I should share and document some of my experiences, after all this is why I have a blog. Here is a list of things I learned in my last rotation...

PA School

1. I really enjoyed this rotation, more so than I ever thought.

2. There is SO MUCH I don't know. Not that I wasn't aware of this before, but it is just even more apparent.

3. It made me critically think more than I have in other rotations, and I liked that. 

4. Sometimes you have to shout really loudly for patients to hear you.

5. You talk about bodily functions WAY too much, but it's necessary and I just had to learn to get over it.

6. Polypharmacy, sometimes it's the cause of the problem. 

7. Certain diseases and processes have distinct smells. I am not going to say any more.

8. Regulations & Paperwork - there are a lot of them. 

9. Nine times out of ten patients have more than one problem at a time. Sometimes three or more. It can get kind of confusing and difficult to keep track of everything.

10. You can order alcohol for patients. Seriously, I have seen it on the med list: 1 can of beer PO Qdaily. Who knew?!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Mountain Getaway


Over Columbus Day Weekend Travis and I took another little weekend getaway to the Adirondacks, and let me tell you, it was absolutely perfect. We found the most quintessential, peaceful, tucked away spot in the entire state park, it's called the White Pine Camp. This place hosts an interesting history from private to public owners such as Paul Smith's College and even served as the summer getaway for President Coolidge during his term in office. It includes adorably rustic cabins, two beautiful boat houses, a Japanese tea house, and an old wooden bowling alley. It was the perfect weekend to unplug and unwind. Plus, if that is not enough it has also served as the location for J.Crew photo shoots and even the fall L.L.bean catalog cover. I mean that pretty much sold me. 

We spent the weekend mostly just cooking, reading and hanging out with each other. We did adventure out and do a few activities. On Saturday we climbed Wright Peak, our second of the 46 high peaks in the Adirondacks. Phew, that was a workout. On Sunday we spent the morning sleeping in and eating pumpkin bread & drinking coffee on the dock. Now that is my perfect morning! Then it was off to canoe and enjoy a few beverages out in the canoe. We lucked out and had a beautiful weekend, clear, sunny and in the 60-70's. I mean you can't ask for anything better. I am already looking forward to booking our next trip back.

White Pine Camp
Canoe Adirondacks
Canoeing in Adirondacks
Canoeing in Adirondacks
Adirondack Mountains
Wright Peak Adirondacks
Wright Peak Adirondacks
Wright Peak Adirondacks
Wright Peak
Wright Peak
Wright Peak
White Pine Camp
White Pine Camp
White Pine Camp
White Pine Camp

White Pine Camp
White Pine Camp
White Pine Camp

Friday, November 15, 2013

A new 'do

Short hair cut

A couple weeks ago I finally worked up the courage to chop my hair. If you know me, you might have heard me talk about it at some point in the last year or so. One Friday when Travis was at work, I simply decided I was going to go through with it. At 1:00, I googled the nearest hair salon and made an appointment for 1:30. I guess that was the way to do it. Spur of the moment and no looking back. So just as quickly as I made the appointment, the hairdresser (whom I had just met) pulled my long locks into a ponytail and severed 14 inches. I am not going to lie, I may have had a few tears in my eyes. I know it sounds crazy, but for us women, our hair is our identify. It seems silly and I pretty quickly got over it. It's not like I lost an appendage, even though that is what it felt like at first. My sister helped me realize it's just hair, it will grow back. And hopefully it will make someone else happy. 

Things started to look up when Travis came home from work for the day. It took him a little while to work his way through the dogs, but when he saw me and my new 'do, his eyes lit up. He said my hair reminded him of when we first met. YES...score. Melt my heart, Travis. After that I was golden. As Travis likes to remind me, it will cost less in shampoo & conditioner and takes less time to dry. The only thing I really miss are my top knots. Overall I just love the new 'do. What do you think? 

If you haven't seen a before picture here is one from this summer.
Boat Basin NYC Wedding

Monday, November 11, 2013

Happy Veteran's Day

Veteran's Day

"As we express our gratitude, 
we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, 
but to live by them."

John F. Kennedy

Friday, October 25, 2013

Just be.

“People are always worried about what's happening next. They often find it difficult to stand still, to occupy the now without worrying about the future. People are generally not satisfied with what they have; they are very concerned with what they are going to have.”

Garth Stein
The Art of Racing in the Rain


So I am a little late on this one, but it is time for me to officially say goodbye to summer. A great one at that. This summer was pretty damn near perfect. Most of my free time spent on the St. Lawrence River with family and friends, which is one of my favorite things in the world to do.

So now that summer is over, and fall is practically done, I want to go back and do it all again. Do you ever feel like you are never living in the present? Always dreaming and thinking about the future? Never happy with where you are in life? I am so guilty of this. This entire time in PA school I have been wishing time away. I constantly dream about May 10th, 2014 and never stop to think about and appreciate where I am right now. All I have been obsessing about is graduating, moving to our next duty station, and living with Travis again. All good things mind you, but as soon as we get to where we are going, I know I am going to look back on my time spent in upstate New York and yearn for it. Because that is what I do. Why?

I will miss summer Sunday dinners with my family on the porch watching the sunset over the River. I will miss my grandfather (Mimp) making fun of me, "Don't you have enough pictures of the sunset by now?" I will miss playing golf with my family and congregating with everyone at the 19th hole for a refreshing beverage. I will miss time visiting with the new additions to the family, like my adorable godson. I will miss the girls from school who have become some of my closest friends and who have saved me numerous times. I will miss the changing of the seasons. I will miss the incredible fall foliage, hiking, canoeing, and enjoying all the Adirondacks have to offer. I will miss my college friends scattered throughout the New England area. I will even miss PA school. Well a little. 

I need to slow down. I need to stop and appreciate all I have at this very moment. Because where I am in life is not as bad as I have been making it out to be. And I will never be here again. So the last 6 months of school are going to be different. I am not going to wish time away. Instead I am going to spend my time enjoying and remembering these precious moments with friends and family before they are gone. 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Hurry up and wait

Marine Corps Duty Stations

 A common conversation topic is starting our new life together. A life after two and a half years apart. A life after graduate school, separate apartments, 800 mile round trips and tear jerking Sunday goodbyes. A life where we are living together again as husband and wife. So this is something we have talked and dreamt about for so many months. Finally, it is starting to become real. Well, maybe I shouldn't get too ahead of myself. We still have another 6 and a half months. But hey, that is better than 28 right?

A common topic is WHERE we are going. It works out perfectly (for once) that when I graduate next summer Travis will be finishing up his time in Marine Corps Recruiting. After taking this job to be on the same coast and closer to me during school, it is time to start thinking about and ranking our next duty stations.  The way the Marine Corps assigns it's personnel is a little complicated.  Each military occupational specialty (MOS) has a person called a monitor in charge of placing all the officers with that MOS where they are needed throughout the Marine Corps, some are in the fleet (deployable) and some are not in the fleet (non-deployable).  Because Travis has been out of the fleet for two and a half years, it is time to go back.  Now back to the monitor, every fall the monitor puts out a billet (open jobs) list for all the officers scheduled to move the following summer, once the list comes out, Travis has to give the monitor a list of his top six billets and wouldn't you know it, the list just came out this past Friday. There is a pretty good spread of billets everywhere with the exception of Hawaii where there are only two. 

Possible Fleet Locations:
1. Camp Pendleton Oceanside, CA
2. Marine Corps Base Hawaii Kane'ohe Bay, HI
3. Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, NC
4. Camp Smedley D. Butler Okinawa, Japan

For the past year or so Travis and I have been back and forth between the east coast and the west coast. I have been itching to travel and do something different while he is wanting to go back to California. While we have only spent approximately 8 months total there together, I feel like it is time for something completely new and different. Clearly we are not on the same page about this. So to compromise we placed our two top choices (Hawaii for me and California for Travis) and handed them in. Now it is out of our hands and up to the Marine Corps. When it comes down to it both places will be amazing and fun. Plus, no matter where we go I won't have to deal with another upstate NY winter! So I am happy. I have a feeling deep down that we will probably end back up in California and I am ok with that. There are still so many places we didn't get to see and things we didn't do. Time for a new travel list!

In reality it doesn't really matter where we end up. Even though we rank choices, the needs of the Marine Corps always come first and there's always the chance of being thrown a curve ball. Who knows maybe we will end up in Okinawa Japan! The most important thing though, regardless of where we end, is that we are finally together and starting our life together all over again. Too bad we have to wait until February to find out our next duty station location. Until then better hurry up and wait. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Climbing Cascade

Earlier this fall Travis and I had the brilliant idea to head up to the Adirondack State Park to hike and explore one Sunday. I can't believe how long it has taken us to finally get up there! Granted, I did not have a lot of free time didactic year, but what have we been doing? Seriously, if you have never been, better start planning a trip, right now! I highly recommend a nice long weekend in the fall. 

Anyways, we were so shocked to discover that the State Park "blue line" is only about an hour away! So we decided to start our 46er. This "46er" club is a group for individuals who climb all 46 high peaks in the Adirondacks, meaning the elevation is above 4,000 feet. In actuality there are more than 46 high peaks in the State Park, but I digress. This is always something that has interested me, but I have never really been able to do it. So we made a pact that we would start while I am here in school and probably finish years on down the road. It makes me a little sad that I have found a spot and an activity that we both enjoy doing so close to graduation. Now as soon as we start our 46er we will be leaving, with the military's promise of never being this close again. Wow, I actually sad about leaving! Shocker. These are going to be some of the things I miss most about the North Country, specifically the fall and the Adirondacks. 

Now back to our 1st peak. We researched and decided on Cascade Mountain as our first climb. Most books and individuals claim this is the easiest climb and most often the first attempt. What is great about this hike is that the trail head is located right off the main road (always a plus). So we start out, you sign in at the beginning of the trail, put your names, address and phone numbers in a book. I always like to peek and see who else has been there. But this is actually an important part of hiking. It lets people know that you were there, climbed and came off the mountain. Actually at the time, a man had been missing for several days and was last spotted in the range right next to us. Scary stuff. So after we secured our whereabouts we began our ascent. The beginning is a beautiful meandering hiking trail. I start thinking to myself this is going to be cake. Then the incline starts to creep up. Gradually at first, then steeper and steeper. Now the trail isn't really a trail but a series of large boulders you are zig zagging your way through. Almost the entire time we were hiking I thought to myself, "We have got to be close." I had to refrain from asking every passing group making their way back down, "Excuse me, but how much further to the top?" Yeah, I am that girl. 

HALLELUJAH. Finally we make it to the top, or what I think is the top. Nope. It's not. Just another look out point. Come to find out the summit is another 1/2 mile up a steep slab of rock. Wait, I have to climb this I thought to myself? With the two dogs? After a couple slips and falls and one minor meltdown where I SWORE I tore my rotator cuff after I slide down a rock wall, we finally made it. At the summit we met a nice volunteer steward who chats with you, answers your questions and evens takes your picture for you. Proof that we made it! Now it was time for some trial mix and a cider to celebrate. And then I realized we had to get back down. 

Travis and I are making our way back up to the Adirondacks today to make good use of the long Columbus Day weekend (for him, I still have to work on Monday). But at least we get a full Saturday and Sunday with each other. Usually Travis has to leave on Sunday around 5 so I will very gladly take an extra night with him. Can't wait to get back up there see the changing colors, get another high peak under our belts and just spend some quality alone time with Travis! Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend. 


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