Little Piece of My Heart

On Life

Hello, folks! I miss writing, especially since my job is more technical in nature and I recently finished up a business statistics class.

It looks like when I last wrote, life was rolling merrily along: I was taking two graduate courses, gearing up for a big project at work, and planning Dr. H’s birthday.

But fast forward several months and the most wonderful thing happened:

baby-h

Meet Baby H! He’s a little piece of my heart that is out and about in this world.

Dr. H was lucky enough to have a month-long easy rotation after Baby H was born. Or perhaps I should say I was lucky because those first two weeks of parenthood were rough. In addition to the sleepless nights, I ended up getting PUPPP, which I wouldn’t wish on anyone. Essentially, they’re itchy hives from pregnancy that don’t respond to anti-itch products or medications (we tried hydrocortisone cream, Benadryl ointment and medication, Calamine lotion, Caladryl lotion, ice packs, prednisone, triamcinolone ointment, and finally triamcinolone cream). I’d wake up scratching myself until I bled. Dr. H held my hand at night and would pull me back if I moved so I wouldn’t scratch. By the time I was prescribed the tub of triamcinolone cream, it’d been three weeks and the rash was finally subsiding. Ooof!

Now? I love being a mom. I’m head over heels when Baby H smiles, and I can’t tell you how proud I am when he lifts his head up during tummy time. He currently has a cold (sigh), which is just a small taste of the many things I won’t be able to protect him from as he grows. Since this picture was taken, he’s gotten over his jaundice and his face has filled out with some adorably kissable cheeks. He’s fairly easygoing (from what we’ve gleaned) and is starting to sleep for longer stretches at night–whoo hoo!

On Faith

Baby H will be getting baptized this month, and parents and godparents at our parish are required to take a class to learn about the importance of the sacrament. In my one-on-one meeting with the instructor, we discussed how our lives are like a pop can. Imagine it being crushed (because of original sin) and that baptism pulls that pop can back out. The only thing is, there are now lines and creases. Over Baby H’s life, our goal is to help smooth out those lines and creases through faith formation.

On Call

After that glorious first month with Dr. H by my side, he returned to work on a cardiology rotation (considered one of the rougher rotations an internal medicine resident will complete). So far, he’s been superstitiously dubbed a “white cloud.” If you’re at all curious, the opposite is a “black cloud,” which spells bad luck.

We’re approaching the end of third year (the end of residency–there’s a light at the end of the tunnel!), but unlike other medical specialties, chief residents in internal medicine complete an additional year. So for us, there’s a sparkle at the end of the tunnel!

There have been several times Dr. H has looked at me and mused, “Do you realize if I weren’t doing chief year or fellowship, we’d be close to being done and could do/afford x-y-z?” This usually happens after a more difficult shift, but as quickly as it comes, we both look at each other, know that that’s not the point, and understand that his medical training path goes on for a little longer.

 

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Salute the Chief!

On Life

We took another step into adulthood: Costco membership, executive level. I hope it’s worthwhile! On the day we went in, Dr. H stepped off to the side to take a phone call.

On Call

While I was at the membership counter filling out some paperwork, he was offered a chief resident position…and he accepted! He and a handful of others from his program are the creme de la creme, the bees knees, the ones who have top-notch clinical and leadership skills.

From my vantage point, internal medicine residents kind of “campaign” to be chief. I put that in quotes because the selection process seems to be shrouded in secrecy after the nominations are in. I’m not sure how other programs choose their chief residents, but to me, it seems to be less about spouting off qualifications and more about letting colleagues know that you’d be receptive to the post.

A chief year is another year of residency, which begs the question: does one really need to be a chief? No, you don’t have to accept if they offer it to you, and obviously, it delays #itgetsbetter. But sometimes you do what you need to do what you want, and being a chief resident is a neat thing in the medical community. Dr. H wants to pursue a fellowship; being a chief resident carries some weight.

My MIL is an OR nurse. When we told our families the good news, she sent a card with this little gem:

Salute-Chief-Web

She received this when she was the director of the OR and wanted to pass it on to Dr. H. My favorite part is the “i” that was drawn in.

On Faith

I gave up Facebook for Lent to grow in faith. Not only because it can be a time suck with link bait, but also because it was a space in which I found myself comparing my life to others. I think these two points from Christianity Today really hit the nail on the head about comparisons:

1) They can make us feel better than the person we are comparing ourselves to, leading to pride…

2) They can make us feel worse than the person we are comparing ourselves to, leading to low self-esteem, which still keeps our focus on ourselves…

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Never Let the Things You Want Make You Forget the Things You Have

Can I be honest for a minute? Because as much as I love that quote, I want to shout this at it:

AwPhooey

Delayed. Gratification. Sucks. I said that to my father-in-law recently, and he laughed, “Yes, it does!”

I’m grateful for everything God has given me. Truly. I’d have to use Dr. H’s fingers and toes in addition to mine to count everything up. And even then, we’d have to use Rue’s paws to keep on going.

I just get a little tired of the wait sometimes…four years of undergraduate education…four years of medical school…three years of residency…another year if Dr. H becomes a chief resident…two or three more years of fellowship…

Marshmallows

Note: I believe the LDWs had a talk about marshmallows at the annual conference.

You know the marshmallow experiment they performed on 4-year-olds back in the day? A child would get one marshmallow. If after 15 minutes the child didn’t eat the marshmallow, he or she would get a second one.

We’re still waiting for the second marshmallow. Sigh.

Perhaps It’ll Explain the Silence?

On Faith

My final presentation is tomorrow. Whoot! I remember August like it was yesterday. I remember sitting cross-legged on a kitchen chair penning (typing?) my hurt and anger over being slighted. But my friend M said something in Bible study a couple months ago that really stuck with me: “The Devil will do anything to take away your happiness.”

Bam. Amazing.

On Life

I’ve become a bit anti-technology when I get home from work. I realize I’m on my computer right now, and I have more than enough social media apps to keep me entertained, but I’m all for putting the phone away and being present in the moment. Someone showed me this sign and I wanted to applaud:

No-Wi-Fi

I’ve chided Dr. H a few times when it comes to his phone. I’d be saying something to him and he’d look up from his phone and ask, “What?” “GRRR! I SAID…!”

One thing on my mind lately is the frequency of posting here as well as sharing what goes on in my life on Facebook. I actually don’t do much of it, at least anymore. I used Facebook as a lifeline when I lived in New Mexico by myself to keep up with friends and family. I started this blog because medicine was a fascinating world as an outsider–who knew it’d affect our lives so profoundly? Now that we’re well into residency (and more than seven years into our relationship), medicine is normal. It’s the “short” 40-hour weeks that are weird. One day when we have kids, I’ll get to tell them about the time before medical school when he and I could be lazy all day together.

And tonight as I was typing notes for my slides, I took a break and read up on some entertainment news. Who knew I’d be quoting Josh Hartnett?!

“I purposefully didn’t want people to know too much about my personal life because I think a lot of people give it away for free,” he said. “I think if you spend too much time courting people’s attention into your personal life, you lose your ownership of it.”

I like writing. I also really like privacy. I’m at odds with myself, but perhaps this explains my online silence.

On Call

We’re at a point where opportunities abound!

Lions and Sheep

“A lion doesn’t concern himself with the opinions of sheep.”

It’s nearly midnight, and I’m still turning the situation over and over in my mind. Whether intentional or unintentional, I can’t help but wonder if it happened because I look Asian.

I suppose it’s because I am Asian.

Actually, make that Asian-American.

But do I need to drape the United States flag around my shoulders to demonstrate my Americanness?

I have a tendency to overanalyze things, so I pray I’m wrong.

It’s just. I rarely feel racism (if any) directed my way. It obviously doesn’t happen at home. It doesn’t happen at school. It thankfully doesn’t happen at work. I haven’t felt this in a long while.

I jokingly tell my friends, “Buck up, young camper,” when things aren’t going their way. So here goes.

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Happy Two Years, My Dear!

From meeting Bart and Whiskey to the brave mink to the very interesting hot springs to the meals by the river and creek to the last hike out to the waterfall, I wouldn’t change a thing.

Happy anniversary to my #mcm. Or, if truth be told, my #mcf (man crush forever).

Two-Years

Highs and Medium Highs

Highs

I’m writing here because they made it Facebook official–I’m getting another sister! Congratulations to my brother-in-law and his new fiancee! I love the happy tears and the wedding-talk and the blending of families and the hope and joy that comes with the beginning of a marriage!

B-L-Getting-Married

Medium Highs

On a similar, celebratory note, Dr. H and I are coming up on our two-year “cotton” anniversary. I ordered his cotton gift more than a week ago with the hopes that it’d arrive at our house so I could assemble it before we dashed off on our anniversary adventure, but note to self: plan and order at least one more week in advance.

Many people say, “My wedding day was the best day of my life.” Heck, I say my wedding day was the best day of my life. But then were does a couple go from there? Down?! I surely hope not! But inevitably, there will be ups and downs in any relationship, and love matures/changes along the way.

My friend M once told me that her husband can do nine things wonderfully and then “mess up” on the tenth thing; that tenth thing ends up being a point of contention in which she gives him grief about. But…

But…

Sigh. But then all she has to do is back up and remember those nine things and that helps to put things back into perspective. It can be a struggle sometimes to look for the good when the Devil throws a cloak over our eyes.

So, with that.

“As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” -Joshua 24:15

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Months That Begin With “A”

So.

This is awkward.

The last time I wrote, we were in the other month that begins with “A.”

It’s kind of like greeting an old friend you haven’t seen in a while and then making up silly excuses for why you don’t see each other more often.

Technology sabbath? Psh, how about technology summer?!”

“I had homework.”

“Oh, the joys of home ownership.”

“I essentially had one free day a week, and I chose to spend it with family.”

Three out of the four excuses are true. No, I wasn’t on a technology sabbath or summer, but after reading up on the benefits of unplugging and watching this video that left a bad taste in my mouth, I vowed to be less attached to my phone at home. Side note: I dropped my iPhone in…ummm…dirty water…back in May and ended up using my old Blackberry for a month before I got a replacement. Not only did it run fantastically slow on 3G (30-second page load times on a good day), it also had a low-resolution camera that liked to turn every scene I shot about three shades darker than what it actually was.

I know, I know, First World problems.

I Had Homework

I had the brilliant idea to take a C++ programming class this summer. I’d come home from work (eight hours in front of a computer, give or take an hour), eat dinner, and then spend three hours reading and programming each night. By the seventh week, I was burned out. My eyes would be so very tired at the end of day.

And whaddaya know? I really enjoyed the class! Yes, it was challenging; one time, I spent 24 hours mulling over code without the faintest idea of where I went wrong. But I can’t explain the bursting joy you feel when your program runs correctly. I will say that this class has given me a greater appreciation of humans and software.

Oh, the Joys of Home Ownership

We’ve been renovating parts of our house and adding decorations here and there. I’ll just leave you with pictures of what we’ve done. Note: you can click on any picture to start a slideshow with larger pictures.

Basement

Not pictured: the slate gray sectional sofa we wiggled into the room. Wiggled is an understatement, but the basement family room has been a really neat space.

Backyard

Not pictured: the stump that grew right on the fence line is gone and we have a brand new fence on the east side! Also, our garden, which I’ll give an update in another blog.

Free Time is Family Time

In May, I watched my older cousin marry the love of her life in the mountains of northern California. We’d heard about the drought, but on her wedding day, it ended up raining. Good for them (if you believe in superstitions) and good for Mother Earth!

Dr. H had almost every Sunday off this summer. And Sundays in the summer means days at the lake. We don’t normally take pictures while we’re there, but his dad captured this one of me getting up on one ski.

Waterski

Until next time, which will definitely come before that other month that begins with an “A,” hehe.

Tomorrow Will Take Care of Itself

“But seek first the kingdom [of God] and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil.” -Matthew 6:33-34

House Hunting and Having Faith

We. Are. Almost. There.

It comes with the territory: your faith will be tested the moment you begin your house search.

If someone had told me that two months ago, I would’ve laughed. How in the world will it test my faith? It’ll test my pocketbook, that’s for sure.

Naivete. I can’t tell you how many times I cried and asked God what in the world He was up to. In many parts of the country, the housing market is cooling down. Where we live, well, we’re on this 10 hottest housing markets for 2015 list compiled by CNN Money. After losing out to a cash offer on the third house, I was a ball of stress. I must’ve been so unpleasant because Dr. H ordered me out of the kitchen (we were preparing dinner together) to go somewhere quiet and pray.

Though I’m not proud of it, my initial prayers came out along the lines of this: “Please, God! Please, you know we loved that house! I’m begging you, Lord. You know a desire of our hearts is to have a home–why hasn’t it happened?!”

Yikes. Sounds like I’m a needy, selfish person who treats God like a genie with a magic lamp. But by His grace, my prayers changed: “God, thank you for this day. Your will be done.”

Just wanted to share a bit of our future backyard. You can even see St. Francis, whom I’m sure helped to seal the deal.

Future

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Classical Music

On Life

For the first time ever, Dr. H and I donated to public radio.

And not to the news station, which we enjoy, but to the classical music station, which I’ve been playing on my morning and evening commutes. I find it calms the nerves.

Ahem. Calms the nerves.

Calms the–COME ON, FOLKS! MOVE IT!

Yeesh. I may have a slight problem when it comes to driving in rush hour traffic. But seriously, the music does help. I play the piano, and though I’d rather play contemporary songs, such as “Let it Go” or “Pure Imagination,” I find myself rocking out to Symphony No. 5 I. Allegro Con Brio and drumming my fingers on the steering wheel to Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 in D.

We also recently subscribed to the hard copy newspaper. To me, they both scream, “I’M AN ADULT!”

[So I threw it on the ground!]

I hope that made sense to you. If not, enlighten yourself with this ridiculous SNL short with Andy Samberg.

On Faith

At the beginning of the year in my Bible study, we pick out virtue cards from a deck and work on that particular virtue throughout the year. I swirled the cards around and plucked out generosity.

Interesting.

One, on a monetary level, I’ve been tightening my belt and encouraging Dr. H to do the same to build a cushion for when we buy a house. Three days after that, I was offered a full time position. You can read into the situation however you’d like, but to me, it was kind of, “Stop letting ‘house’ consume your thoughts, Monica. It’s okay if ‘house’ doesn’t happen when you want it to. No one’s going to die. Think about others first; give back.”

Two, on a personal level, I can be generous with my time, more specifically being present in the moment.

Want to know what gets my goat? It’s when I’m talking to someone and the person reaches for his or her phone to pull up goodness-knows-what. I can only imagine there’s someone else out there who feels the same way. I know I’ve done it speaking with Dr. H. In fact, a couple days ago, I wanted to show him this chateau that’s being renovated in the south of France. As I grabbed my phone off the kitchen counter, I realized what I’d done and told him it could wait. As he was on his way out for the night shift, that’s when I quickly pointed out the beautiful architecture, landscape, and hidden gems they’ve captured on their blog and Instagram.

Note: being generous with my time definitely extends beyond my marriage.

Lent has begun. And I completely missed out on making gumbo or something else Cajun-related for Mardi Gras, but that’s not the point now, is it?

During this season, we ask God to change our hearts. Fr. C explained a little bit about the different virtues, gifts, and charisms of the Holy Spirit, which can help us grow closer to Him and draw others to Him as well.

I’ll let you in on a secret: when I went through confirmation as a freshman in high school, I could’ve cared less about Catholicism. I was fulfilling the sacrament to please my mother and to check another “church thing” off my list. I never rebelled (the battle hymn of my tiger mother prevented that), but it wasn’t until I was 20 that I started taking my faith a little more seriously. I started asking questions and reading. A couple months after Dr. H (then, Mr. H) and I started dating, I knew something was different. Beyond his general good looks, big brain, and fun-loving personality, I was drawn to his faith. I knew back then that I’d need a strong faith leader in our home (yes, I knew within a couple months that I was going to marry Dr. H) and I’m completely blessed to say that’s still the case.

Now, as for changing my heart, I’ve never really considered the virtues, gifts, or charisms–inherent or developed–in my life. Was I sick and missed that chapter in religious education that day? Well, here we go.

On Call

It’s becoming a pattern: I write when Dr. H is on night shift. But do you know what else is a pattern? I buy granola bars around this time as well. I guess it’s my concerted effort to make sure he has a healthy enough of a snack when the cafeteria closes at night. I’d rather he NOT be nocturnal–he’s missing out on sun!–but I think it’s starting to “get easier” when he’s off saving lives and I’m at home entertaining our cat. Or more likely, doing homework, housework, or both.

Mostly because I love him, trust Him, and know that life can’t stop just because we’re not together. I have a feeling I may eat my words when we have children, but for the time being, it’s really about cherishing each other in the time you’re given.

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