Monday, July 25, 2016

Lazy Day with Mom

When I was younger I didn't really, "keep a journal." I had a journal, that sat on a shelf, and sometimes on lazy Sunday afternoons, it would come out, pen in hand.

Buuuut then I would realize that I had missed writing about really a lot of important events. Sometimes I would remedy this by leaving approximately the right amount of pages for said entries, and write about what was current (you can bet I never wrote about those important events). Other times I would be so nervous about leaving the right amount of pages, that I would just give up and put the journal back on the shelf. Then, other times I would forget the empty pages/important events, and just write an entry on a loose scrap of paper, and tuck it inside the cover of the journal. 

You can see that from the beginning I've have a tenuous relationship with documentation and journaling. What I am, of course, saying is- you can't blame me for my sparse appearance on my own blog.

The more fun life is, the less time you have to sit around and type on a computer. The less time you have to worry about editing or uploading pictures or making collages. And, you know, I really love that. Constant motion. 

Just a few pictures: 


And speaking of constant motion.
1. Moving & settling in
2. Spontaneous road trip 
3. Ross starting work
4. Unpacking (totally different enough from aforementioned 'moving').
5. Familly visit and..
6. Ross's White Coat Ceremony
7. Visit to California
8. Impromtu family reunion
9. Return to Phoenix
10. Family visit

And in the blink of an eye I've been in Phoenix just a week shy of TWO MONTHS! Typing that made it more real....

But I started this post with the intention of documenting #10 on the list! My sister and her husband had to leave the party early, but luckily I get got a few more days with my mom. Unfortunately now that number is down to just 1.5 days. Which makes me really cranky, but what can I say? I really like the lady.

Today was a simple day, and therefore not much in the way of pictures (ugh- lots of words and few pictures!).

I am thankful for a mom that lets me be lazy. Maybe a little too lazy though, because by the time I was up and ready to go, it was a little late, but we headed out with a plan.

First stop was the Desert Industries thrift store in the next city over. As I say again an again, being from LA, us folks don't mind driving. So drive we did. This thrift store is really top notch and brand-spanking-new. Does that make me sound like a thrift shop weirdo? I guess I am.

What everyone's thinking and this box is saying about thrift stores: 


I of course found some great treasures and mom re-arranged the whole book section while I was trying on clothes and finding treasures. As you will soon learn from our previous adventures- she is a book junkie. But it is well supported with her extensive knowledge of literature. So there she went, making sure that Angela's Ashes wasn't mixed in with the children's books and that My Father's Dragon was. She might do house calls for the right price.

After that we went to Chino Bandido. Of course a "Triple D"! I kept this one up my sleeve so we would have to option of doing something a little closer to home if we wanted. I have only been once before but the food was amazing, so I wanted to go again.


The woman at the counter was super helpful and even gave us a few different samples! I love how friendly people in Phoenix are, have I mentioned that lately? Chino Bandido is a really fun place to eat because not only is the food packed full of flavor, but you have the option of Chinese or Latin American style food (oh, and even a little Caribbean!). You can choose between getting the entree as a rice bowl, quesadilla, burrito... or a combination! I'm not yet sure if this is an indecisive person's dream or nightmare. Between the two of us we got Jen Red Pork, Jade Red Chicken, and Emerald Chicken, with rice and black (Cuban style) beans.


Once again, everything was delicious. I decided that the difference between good food and great food is a single word, "flavor!" Good food tastes good, great food have flavor. Flavor = party in your mouth. And Chino Bandido has that. Added bonus that their awesome panda bandit statue is a Pokestop (not like I would be interested in that at all or anything...).


My favorite part of the meal is when my mom reached for the cookie, thinking that it was just an almond cookie or something, and was blown away by the fact that it was a perfectly soft and delicious snickerdoodle. As if the meal could get any better! :)

On our way home we stopped at a bookstore. But turns out it's closed Mondays. Boo. 


We headed back home after that, I wasn't feeling 100% anyways and sometimes you just need to sit in a cool apartment after running around. Mom and I brainstormed ways to transport this dresser that I bought (just BARELY did not fit in the car- uggghhh!). By then it was too late to do our last activity, so we just hung out.

Since Ross was awake earlier than usual (did I mention my nocturnal bat husband is doing night float right now?), my mom thought it would be a perfect time to go eat at a Triple D over in Glendale. 

When we got in the car: the temperature read 121 degrees. Maybe if there was more government regulation in this stare we could make it illegal. 


Unfortunately there is no convenient freeway that shoots you over to downtown Glendale (freeways are admittedly on of my favorite parts of the Valley). But we took the half hour drive on surface streets only to find that HAUS MURPHY IS CLOSED ON MONDAYS. Yes, we should've known better and checked, but such is life. I just want to eat German food on a bench in front of a giant soft pretzel!!! 


Odds were in our favor though, because there is another Triple D, just two doors down!! Buut, as the odds were evidently NOT in our favor, that place was closed on Mondays too. Lesson of the story is: Don't go to downtown Glendale, AZ on Mondays. But if you do, you might as well stop at the comic shop in between the two closed eateries and pick a few awesome $1 comics.

We made the slow drive on surface streets back and luckily still had plenty of awesome leftovers for dinner. My mom is so chill so we spent the rest of the night hanging out and watching movies. It was a lazy day and I am so grateful that my life is filled with flexible happy people that can easily roll with the punches.





Thursday, July 7, 2016

L.A. Zoo Day

Now that I'm an Arizona natural, pretty much any summer weather feels amazing. Like when your mom informs you that it will be 86 degrees, you debate whether a light jacket will be necessary. And you are easily convinced it's a great day for the zoo! 

Zoos are popular activities for children, babies, moms, and elementary school children on field trips. Which probably explains why I haven't been to the zoo in like 15 years. 

The great thing though, is that who doesn't love watching poor lil overheated animal friends? 

This elephant knew what was up and sucked up water in his trunk to spray all over himself.


I learned a little more about exotics animals like tapirs and axolotls. 

 
I was a little surprised to find myself loving a couple new friends in The Lair. 

Poison dart frogs- hard to see in the picture, but there's about 10! 

And this... Forest Bearded Dragon? There's two in that one. 


I also learned about this cute little guy, a Pudu. Cute, but also just fun to say. 


And of course there were old favorites like otters and meerkats and lions and these fighting giraffes.  



It was just fun to be together! 


I could tell we were all having fun because before we knew it, it was 4pm! 


It was a full day and I wouldn't have it any other way. 


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

D is for Diamonbacks

Ross has been busy with orientation for his residency program, but the clouds parted and the program director offered two tickets to a local Major League Baseball  game! We thought it might be a fun thing to do, and when I heard they were playing the Dodgers... well how could I say no?

To be honest, I could say no... to this summer heat. BUT as luck would have it, Chase Field where the Diamondbacks play is totally enclosed and air conditioned! It felt a little strange at first, but it is pretty awesome and definitely makes summer sports more enjoyable.


We payed $12 for downtown parking and could therefore not justify buying any ballpark snacks, but I didn't see any Dodger Dogs around so that's okay.

The Diamondbacks, or "D-backs" if you're a local, have a very confusing color scheme. I guess it was originally purprle, copper, teal, and black. Now it is "Sedona Red" and "Sonoran Sand" ... and white or something? What I'm saying is, you have lots of options. Ross and I just opted for a bleh red to show that we support our local team, but in all honestly I'm an LA girl and and total truth, I just don't like sports that much.


Still, it was fun to get out of the house and act like the Phoenicians we now are! Baseball seems to be a pretty big deal down here, maybe it's because of Spring Training ... or just true blood Americans!



Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Aunt Carrie Visit

Well, I may have just gotten back from my Phoenix trip last night, but that doesn't mean I'm not up for more adventure today! I like to jam pack my free time. That, and I am definitely starting to feel a crunch before I am once again moving.

Today I had the privilege of visiting with my Aunt Carrie and my cousin's son, Henry! It was so fun to show them around Redlands a little bit.



Prospect Park is always a fun choice for pretty much anyone. It was a beautiful day and we just took it easy and strolled around. I got a little sad though, realizing that with so much going on, it might be my last time at my favorite place in Redlands. Views like this make it hard to beat.

Palms and orange groves = Redlands.

 

Palm trees = Redlands. 

Henry and I hung out in the middle of this bamboo forest, but he wasn't too sure about Carrie's attempts to scare him through the shoots.



Carrie, being the awesome aunt she is, treated me to lunch at Five Guys where I learned that Henry loves ketchup and smashing peanuts (eating them- not so much). Still, he made less of a mess with the peanuts than most customers there.

The day was packed with parks and playing playing playing. I forgot how much energy a three year old has, and I'm not sure who was more worn out at the end of the day.

 





 
We went to a park by the University of Redlands and played there too! I learned that Henry loves the show "Paw Patrol."



He does this thing from the show where he (literally) sniffs out "tracks" and follows them to solve the mystery. I could not stop cracking as he hunched over shuffling and sniffing for tracks. He is so great!

We also took some time to cool off inside and read some books.



Henry loved racing me around the play ground and asking for my help climbing the small rock wall at my apartment complex. He is a super brave kid with a big personality. Somehow I still managed to visit with Carrie too. She is such an incredible person and I look up to her so much. I am so lucky that she had the time to come visit.

Ross came home early and outdoing herself yet again, Carrie treated us to dinner at Panera. Before long she had to head home with sleepy Henry in tow. I am so glad she made the trip out to see me in my natural habit, it was a special day and made me think a little too much about how much I am going to miss all this when I leave.


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Hooked on Phoenix

Let me just start by saying that I just recently became confident in my spelling of the word, "Phoenix". Luckily once I set my mind to it, success came swiftly and I am now sure I can spell it right, even when high on too much caffeine or low on sleep.

If you're ever in a spelling bee it should go like this:

"Feenicks, P-H-O-E-N-I-X, Feenicks"

But for the time being I'll pronounce it like "phonics" or "pho-en-ix." Because I'm all about clearing up confusion.

And in case you are confused as to why I'm devoting so much time to the central Arizona city in the Valley of the Sun- well- that's the next destination! Ross and I will move in June. :D For a post much more GIF-filled, check out this one here.

Still traumatized from the nightmare of apartment hunting in California, we decided to up our game and get the ball rolling early with a trip to Phoenix. We headed on on a shockingly short road trip Sunday.

Gotta get those Snapchat geo filters.



 In case you were interested in wander around in the middle of the Sonoaran Desert be warned:




Anyways, I'm still not sure how we pulled it off with two crazy schedules, but it happened! But not before I went full-blown Sherlock Holmes on any and every apartment complex under $1000/month (and some above) within a 20-minute radius of Ross's new hospital. I feel like I grew up in Phoenix with how familiar I am with all the street names, freeway off/on ramps, and shopping plazas.

But it paid off because whether the ease of the Phoenix housing apartment market, or my preparations beforehand (or a combo of both?) apartment hunting took significantly less time, and was much less stressful than last time.

In just two days we:
1. Viewed dozens of apartments
2. Narrowed down, revisited, aaand
3. Started the application process for an apartment!!

Yep.

It feels incredible. It didn't come without exhaustion and grief and pulling teeth, but dare I say... I'm kinda getting good at this process. I can't wait to do it all over again in 3 years!

I feel pretty confident about our new place and it seems like a decent neighborhood. I am so excited to move and start this next chapter.

I must say, apartment hunting in this neck of the woods is absolutely .... what's the word... stunning? We got optimistic and toured a couple complexes in Scottsdale, Fancy-dale, Snobsdale, whatever you want to call it. Ross and I were literally choking back chuckles.

 

Oh what? Concierge service? Professional chef lessons? Swimming pools with fountains? Poker table? Theater room? Game room with Xbox and Wii and Netflix and Hulu? Chandeliers in my kitchen? Bronze lions in the lobby?  Keep in mind, these were the ones at the top of our price range. Like- we would consider them if needed. I can't imagine the ammenities at the ones I immediately axed. Heaven help me while I crawl back over to the Phoenix city limits.

Along with intense apartment hunting I figured it was requisite to find some fun things to do in the area to break up the monotony. Thanks to my mom I have a great affinity for Food Network's Guy Fieri and his "Triple D" list. Phoenix is brimming with Triple D restaurants and I managed to eat at 3 of them in just three days.

Here is my quick breakdown of visited eateries: 

Chino Bandido 
Was incredibly close to the motel we were staying at, and therefore and obvious first choice. The place is small and offers Mexican-Asian fusion food! If that scares you, you can definitely choose just Mexican or just Asian. I went "safe" this time and got the Jen Red Pork bowl. It is deep fried pork with this red sauce that is kind of like sweet and sour, but 100x better. It was very tasty and different from your run of the mill Panda Express.



You also get a fresh baked snickerdoodle cookie for desert! Plus, their logo includes a Fu Manchu meets Pancho Villa panda. Does it get cuter than that?!

Monday was apartment hunting crazy day but I had a eatery in Scottsdale picked out for lunch:

Tom's Thumb "Not Your Average Gas Station"
Is very close to Ross's future hospital, so also a great choice! Completely different from Chino Bandido but kind of unconventional.

 

As you might have noticed from their tag line... this restaurant is in a gas station. But indeed, not your average gas station. In fact, the fanciest gas station I have ever been in (which, in fairness might not mean much). This gas station has over-stuffed crushed velvet chairs, and Papyrus brand greeting cards.





The food is classic American BBQ, and also amazing. I've had good BBQ, and mediocre BBQ... this is the good stuff. But how can you go wrong with jalapeno and bacon topped smoked and fried pork on a bed of creamy grits?! They have their own BBQ sauces put out in sets on the tables.


 
Of course I tried all of them, and it was really hard to choose a favorite. Even the spicy mustard BBQ was amazing, and I don't even like spicy mustard. The Coke Freestyle machine was a definite bonus.

Tuesday we had finished up with our second visit to our new apartment complex, and celebrated with a visit to:

DeFalco's Italian Eatery
Was yet another score. It is a deli, store, and restaurant located farther south in Scottsdale than Ross's future stomping grounds.


Since it has so much going on, there is little room for sitting but lots of food on your plate.

I got a calzone which I am pretty sure is actually just a medium sized pizza folded in half. I ate and ate and ate and still couldn't fit the leftovers in the to-go box.


Ross got a bruschetta sandwich, very fresh and delicious. The homemade cannoli and canned Dr. Brown's beverages just sealed the deal.

Are you done listening to me ramble about food? Just one more (but not a Triple D), and I'll change gears to dessert!

That's Amore Gelato 
If you're a hipster in the 21st century you're probably hoping on Yelp, Trip Advisor, or Google for your reviews of eateries before you go. Well, if you just so happen to stumble upon an establishment that has about 480 combined reviews with an average of 5 stars, well, you better stumble upon that place "IRL" (in real life). Besides the annoyingly wealthy wealthy people, this place is an absolute gem. They have 40 flavors of homemade gelato! I feel "amazing" doesn't do it justice, but until you come visit me, it will have to suffice. All words fail here.





 It's been an absolute pleasure to be here in Phoenix. I have a few more experiences from our trip that I will be blogging about soon. But for now I'll leave you with the story of

FANCY CAR ENCOUNTER #1:



Ross and I are sitting at a light in Scottsdale (duh!) and we see this fancy thing. Now Ross is a car dude, in that he can appreciate a beautiful car and if he plays his cards right he (believes he) will own a Corvette Stingray. So I ask him what the heck kind of car that is and he is stumped for a minute before he delicately declares that it is indeed a McLaren, a British car that is worth  some exorbitant amount that I immediately forgot because there's still children starving on planet Earth ya know? Ross sneaks a peak when the guy in the car next to us strikes up a conversation with Ross. From this conversation we gleaned that Mr. McLaren lives up the street from our new friend and this dude has not the one, but TWO FREAKING MCLARENS. What did I say about crawling back to the city limits of Phoenix?

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Lost

I think, there are times in life when we all feel lost. Not geographically. But you know the kind. I have this favorite quote, classically Pinterest-cliche, 
"Not all those who wander are lost." -J.R.R. Tolkien. But there are times in life when you wonder how long you can wander before you really are just... lost




My sister recently became the proud owner of a pair of birds.  Apparently birds can be tricky pets because they have an adjustment period and they can get sick and things can, "go wrong." If you know what I mean. My family was on pins and needles for my sister, hoping the birds would be okay in their new home. And after time, they appeared to be adjusting just fine. They are happy and healthy and the female even laid three cute little eggs. We were all so excited. 

But then the nervousness returned. Would the eggs be okay? Would the parental birds take good care of them? Is the environment conducive to hatching?! Well, one egg hatched!


And produced the most frightening and maybe cute looking thing. A baby bird.


I am happy to say that the bird continues to grow and grow! 



As I thought of this new little bird, I was reminded of this poem: 


"Some hatchings hurt: ...
The cracking 
of a hardened
fallacy.
The shatter-crumble 
of a bias
bind.
And the new learning 
softness
is so very tender. 
It's frightening to be
nothing more 
than the palest puff
that peeps.
And so remember
and remember
clarion call
to shelter:
"I will gather ...
as a hen
gathereth
her chickens
under her wings..."
A place to grow 
in strength." 

[Source]:Dianne Dibb Forbis, New Era, Dec. 1977, p. 7

When you're naive you think you're one big healthy bird cracking out of a one small shell. But in reality, life is one hatching after the next. And there are so many times in life when we feel like that brand new little bird.

Graduating from college-
Getting married-
Moving to a remote island in the Caribbean-
Moving back to America-
Moving to California-
Finding a job-
Moving to somewhere else (again)-

You feel exposed, vulnerable, and new. We have to find our own way. We may feel insufficient, especially without knowledge to fly, or wings to carry us. 

But it's okay. 

We will grow our wings. We will find our strength, and we will fly. 

Sometimes things just take time.



Friday, March 18, 2016

THE MATCH

They say that time flies when you're having fun. And I suppose it does. But time has a way of flying nevertheless. It's the theme of this blog and the main objective. Documentation purposes. No matter how good or how bad things are, they move. It's the way of the universe and sometimes the only thing you can depend on in this crazy path of life.
[To classic to not post]
Lately time has been hustlin'. Except for this past week when I could almost swear to you that each day actually had about 48 hours each. That's because this last week was Match Week. It is pretty famous in it's own world of medical school. It's the end all be all. It's the only (and worst) reoccurring nightmare I've ever had in the past 4 or 5 years of my life.
[Source]
The Match is a process where you interview and rank and get ranked to "match" with a program to get a residency. Residency is the next step of medical school. The step where you are a graduate and a doctor but can't do crap unless you get a residency. It's 3 more years of training and specializing in a specific area of medicine so you can practice as a physician afterwards. They pay you just a tiny bit of money and work you about 80 hours a week and you get to pay back student loans. Yeah. It's loads of fun.
[Source]
You spend months interviewing and stressing before you turn in your "list." You rank all the programs you applied to/ interviewed at and a computer algorithm compares it to how each program ranked applicants and you get matched up. It's of course more convoluted and involved but that's all you really need to know.

Monday you get an e-mail notifying you if you matched. It was scheduled to come at 8:00 AM local time. And came even maybe a minute early. Well, HE DID! He matched.

[Source]
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I said, "HE MATCHED"
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Have you captured the feeling that I am incredibly relieved and excited?!

It was strange. Even with all the things that went wrong with the application process and how stressful it was, and how the odds weren't really in his favor (IMG over here)- I had this calm feeling that he was going to match and that everything was totally okay. Easy for me to say. It was so cool to be there when he opened the e-mail and see relief just wash over his body entirely. I could tell it was kind of taking all day to truly set in.

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The week lumbered on while speculation and anxiety increased- for me at least. By the time Friday morning rolled around I couldn't sit still. I was more anxious than Monday morning by far. It was the mix of excitement and the fact that I had been waiting for this day for 4 years. THIS will be the place we will live for the next 3 years which is still longer than any other place we have been on this med school path. The minutes slogged by and I worked my hardest to stay focused at work.

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I asked Ross if he had any regrets about his rank order list. He said he had a feeling we would end up in Vegas. I had this feeling about Phoenix, but at Ross's mention of Vegas I started thinking of my next three years in any of the places on his list. Tulsa maybe? I still had this feeling that he would match at his #1 spot. So when the text FINALLY came, I wanted to scream for joy (and relief).

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SCOTTSDALE, AZ! Texted with plenty of cacti emojis.

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There you have it folks! Come June the Petersens shall move again.

From Somewhere Beyond to the Sea, to Somewhere in the Golden State, to Somewhere Among the Cacti! Time to change the blog name cos there's nothing these two crazy kids can't do.