2013 in review

Given that this will only be my fourth blog post for the whole year, it is probably obvious that 2013 has been a busy year for me!

Professionally, this year has definitely been the best of my life. In the past 12 months, I have more than found my footing at med school. With the help and dedication of some amazing friends, we have successfully opened and operated a student-run free clinic since September. This project was conceived a little over a year ago, and the clinic has now been open and thriving for over three months!

Two med students practicing sutures on pigs' feet

Practicing before we treat any real patients!

This free clinic has opened so many doors for me – I have the amazing opportunity to work with so many students and faculty on this project. I really feel like I am doing important, meaningful work, and that I am respected by my peers and mentors for it. It is a wonderful feeling.

The second year of med school has also been so much more fun and interesting than first year. My classes are so much cooler and there is so much less “busywork”! My grades are much better this year than last year as well, which doesn’t hurt.

2014 is going to be another big year for me. The whole first half will be spend studying for “the boards”, the big USMLE Step 1 exam that I will take in June. Then, Daniel and I plan to move down to Chicago where I will start the clinical part of med school, my third year clerkships. I’m also working on a big project this spring with the goal of expanding the types of services we’re able to offer at the clinic.

But it hasn’t all been work, work, work! I have had a wonderful time with friends, family, and of course my two guys Daniel and Walter! Here is a little recap of 2013 in pictures:

In March, our friends Kaitlin and Chris came to visit, and we met up with Pamela and Javier in Chicago for a bite.

Grabbing pizza in Chicago, March 2013

Grabbing pizza in Chicago, March 2013

Then, in June, we traveled back home to Washington for a couple of weeks. We stayed at Kaitlin and Chris’s apartment in Seattle and explored our favorite city like we were tourists:

Me and Daniel on the Bainbridge ferry

Gotta wear that lifejacket!

Chris and Kaitlin at Tilth

Then we drove to Spokane for my sister’s wedding, which was lovely:

Megan and Shaun

Me and Daniel at my sister's wedding

Couples selfie

Then we settled down for a chill, relaxing summer at home in Waukegan:

We hosted a big 4th of July barbecue with with pulled pork and all the trimmings:
Backyard BBQ

We daytripped down to Chicago:

At Intelligentsia

Pamela visited for a few days later in July and we just hung out and bought matching “friend” watches (the brown one on the left):

Me and Pamela

Clocks on clocks on clocks

In August, we bought bikes and started commuting on them! I did the 13-mile round trip commute on my bike quite a few times until the weather got too cold, and I plan to start again in the spring.

New bike

In September, my mom visited, and she even went to school with Daniel and me each for a day! This is us at a school picnic where she was a big hit with all my friends:

Mom and me

Before we knew it, the holidays rolled around! We had a big Thanksgiving this year, with 14 people at our house, including Pam and Javier, plus a bunch of people from med school. Daniel outdid himself again (well, I helped a little,) and Pamela generously provided flowers for me to arrange and play with (one of my favorite things to do, but I always feel guilty about how much flowers cost). Everyone had a great time and left with full bellies.

Thanksgiving with friends

Cranberry-blueberry pie

Thanksgiving flowers

Thanksgiving with friends

Which brings us to Christmas. This was our very first Christmas away from our families. Daniel and I kept it very homey and cozy and just focused on being with each other.

Christmas cookies

Christmas decorations

Christmas decorations

Christmas Day dessert

Enjoying snow and sunshine

Wearing my Christmas scarf and pin

Modeling his new Christmas gifts

We still have a few more days until we go back to school, so we’re getting ready to tackle 2014 with our usual energy. As you might have heard on Facebook already, Daniel and I will be eating vegetarian for the month of January, as an experiment more than anything.

Here’s hoping that you had a great 2013 and that your 2014 is looking even better!

First visit to the Bean


Goodbye 2012!

Well, despite the fact that 2012 was the worst year ever for this blog, it was a pretty good year for me in real life!

I started off 2012 with my best friends Kaitlin and Pam at a raging party at Miss K’s house (no photos of that, thankfully). Daniel and I also rescued a stray dog last New Year’s Eve, and reunited him with his owners on New Year’s Day.

Here is a picture of me and my bestie Kaitlin at our last dinner party in Seattle:

Kaitlin and me

In Spring 2012, I traveled to several medical school interviews, and on May 1, I was accepted to Rosalind Franklin University! Just three months later, Daniel, Walter and I packed up all our belongings and road-tripped to our new home in Waukegan, Illinois. We were incredibly sad to leave our adopted hometown of Seattle, and our best friends Kaitlin and Chris. But after spending 3 years in a dead-end job, I was so happy to finally be going to medical school.

Me and my bestie Pamela when I was in Illinois to find and apartment:

Pamela and me

For the past 4 months, I have been pretty much living the dream, being a full-time med student, while Daniel has also been living his dream of being an elementary school general music teacher. We have a lovely home (which I know I owe everyone pictures of, sorry!) and lots of great new friends. Our neighbors are wonderful and they adore Walter.

Daniel and I hosted our first-ever Thanksgiving in our home this year. We had 10 people over for a fantastic feast. And 2 weeks ago, Daniel and I went down to Chicago for the weekend to celebrate 10 years together as a couple:


2012 has been a great year. A year with lots of change, some difficult, but most happy. Honestly, I don’t know if 2013 can top it, but I am looking forward to the future. Yes, even the surprises!




So about a month ago Daniel and I realized/decided that we would be staying in Seattle for at least one more year (i.e., I didn’t get into med school…) We also decided that, after 4 years in our current apartment, it was time for a change.

As cute as our old apartment was (and it definitely was cute!), there are a couple things I really don’t like about it:

1). It faces northeast, so we never get any afternoon light. It’s like a cave in there after 9am.

2). No pets allowed.

3). The 2nd bedroom / office space was basically wasted space that just got filled up with crap. Time to downsize.

4). I wanted to live in a cooler neighborhood. Our current neighborhood, while cute, is actually not very walkable or diverse.

5). I’m not going to lie, this winter was really damp and a mold issue started to happen in the bedrooms. It was nasty, and we just needed to get our shit outta there!

Since my two life goals for 2011 were 1). get into med school and 2). get a dog, we needed to move into a place that allows pets so that I could at least accomplish one of my goals! (And then I need to re-apply, of course).

And magically, the FIRST PLACE WE LOOKED AT had exactly what we wanted: southwest light, hardwood floors and vintage flair (coved ceilings and arched doorways) and even a tiny little office nook. It’s smaller than our current place, but we’ve culled a lot of crap. Pets are allowed, and it’s in Capitol Hill, really close to Kaitlin‘s place and a grocery store and coffee.

We will miss Zoka, but having Victrola less than 2 blocks from home is going to be awesome.

apartment floorplan

Also, the landlord is really nice and he is fixing the place up for us – painting the walls in the colors we chose, and basically re-doing all the finishes in the kitchen.

We’ve also taken this opportunity to re-evaluate all of the “stuff” in our home, especially the furniture. Remember how our bed was supported by milk crates? Well, we actually bought a real bed! We’ve acquired several really cool vintage pieces from Craigslist and we’ve got some sweet DIY and DIT (Do It Together) projects too. Daniel and I have had such a great time dreaming up plans for our new place.

Camp Squid

I know this is coming really late, since we went on this trip over a month ago, but I have to blog about Camp Squid!

Back in March, Daniel and I went on an awesome long weekend to the ocean with our friends Kaitlin and Chris. We rented a little house in Pacific Beach, brought a bunch of food (and some booze) and just had an awesome time. Spring break is the perfect time to go to a cold places – the rates are cheap, and if you’re lucky, the weather will be nice. If not, you have the perfect excuse to snuggle up and just chill out.

Camp Squid! (aka Coastal Nest Cottage in Pacific Beach)

Isn’t this place cute? It’s called the Coastal Nest Cottage and the owner was really sweet to work with. Seriously, this is the best possible place to stage a lazy, low-key weekend. Daniel expressed all of our delight with this pose:

this place is adorable!

Presuming we continue to live in this area (finger crossed that we are moving this summer!) we will definitely be back.

The first thing we did was start working on a sweet puppy puzzle, which we promptly finished.

puzzle progress

yes! awesome animal puzzle finished

Thank would be the only task we would actually complete all weekend.

Then we basically ate, drank, talked and played Settlers of Catan. I didn’t even get any reading done. Daniel was the chef all weekend, which he loved, and so did we.

Chris & Kaitlin


We were having such a good time that Daniel and I only walked down to the beach once. Actually, the beach was pretty disgusting, and we all decided that we didn’t like the cars. We also never went clam digging even though there was totally a dig that weekend because apparently I was the only one who wanted to go.

on the beach

It was a beautiful weekend, with lots of sunshine. On our last full day, it poured and shone at the same time. I went outside to search for the rainbow, and it was a great one.

an awesome rainbow

We had such an awesome time at Camp Squid! We are going to try to make this some sort of annual event, if at all possible. Camp Squid 2011, inaugural class!


We saw Don Quixote at the opera on Saturday, and it was awesome. The music was lovely and the story was great. But that’s not why I rented opera glasses…

Millie the opera donkey and friends
[photo: Bill Mohn via Seattle Opera blog]

Millie the donkey had a starring role as Dapple, Sancho Panza’s trusty steed! Millie is an 8-year-old paint donkey who is awesome and has very expressive ears.

Millie wants you to know that one important thing about her character is that Dapple is gentle. When Don Quixote is too ill to ride his horse Rocinante (played by Desperado the 14-year-old Tennessee Walking Horse), he rides on Dapple.

Millie also loves music. I loved using the opera binoculars to zoom in on her twitchy ears.
Millie and Eduardo Chama/Sancho Panza
[photo: Bill Mohn via Seattle Opera blog]

Insider Tip: They painted part of the set with molasses so that Millie could snack and act at the same time!

Confidential to Millie:
I love you burro, burro much

In May we’re going to see The Magic Flute and it is going to be off the hook!

Mom, I’m famous!

Turns out that at least one other person BESIDES my mom reads my blog.

I got an email yesterday afternoon from a producer at KUOW (a local NPR station) asking if I wanted to be on The Conversation with Ross Reynolds today to talk about the post I did last Thursday! So, I did it, and you can listen to it right here. I come in right around 10:00. It’s just a tiny little spot, but I think I did well.

BTW, shout out to Mr. Carey Rayburn who is the only person I know of who LISTENED LIVE. Carey texted Daniel “I just heard your wife on the radio yo.” Yes you did, Carey.

enjoying autumn

berries and sky

It rained all day today, but we’ve been having days (or at least hours) of sunshine too. I didn’t get pictures of the leaves this fall, but they were gorgeous. I snapped these photos last weekend, on a particularly enjoyable fall day.

berries and sky

I’m not sure what kind of trees these are…based on the berries, I’m guessing rowan.

another farmers market find

I found something else on Sunday at the farmers market – a potential jeweler for our wedding rings! As you probably remember, we had my engagement ring made locally at Green Lake Jewelry Works, and we were planning to go back to them for our wedding rings. But since I’m out of work right now, I’ve been looking for someplace that might be able to make what we want a little more affordably.

On Sunday I came across a jewelry booth owned by Tim Lambert, a local jewelry artist based in Port Townsend. Time sets up at the Ballard Market every Sunday, and he also sells his work through his website and via etsy. I was drawn to his booth because his work is very similar in style to the bezel-set, clean look Daniel and I prefer. He also works in palladium, which is hard to find with local artisans and small shops. Tim gave me a quick quote for a custom wedding band to fit my engagement ring, and it was very reasonable. Maybe coolest of all, Tim only uses 100% recycled gold, palladium, and platinum.

Here are a few examples of his work from his website:

Obviously right now we haven’t decided whether or not we will use Tim, but i thought it was worth it to get a little more information about this obviously talented local artist. His work is stunning, don’t you agree?

Itali Lambertini Jewelry
Tim Lambert

Sunday at the farmers market

I caught the Ballard Sunday farmers market yesterday. Actually I was just planning to ride the bus to Ballard to walk around for a while, and I totally forgot about the market.

It was a gorgeous day, sunny and just a little wet out. A perfect way to use my extra hour on the day after Daylight Saving Time ends.

leafy street

The produce selection was amazing. I love the colors and the gorgeous display at this vendor’s booth.

harvest time

harvest time

I don’t even like cauliflower, but I want some of those purple ones!

Of course, the best thing about taking a walk around town on a Sunday morning is the dogs! I met a new best friend patiently waiting for his owner to come back from shopping.

new best friend

I love critters so much!

llama excursion

Daniel and I visited an alpaca farm today! The owners raise alpacas, pygora goats, and chickens, and they have 4 guard llamas! Thank you so much to Don Stanwyck at Jo’s Fleece Fields for showing us around the farm this afternoon!

First we met the male alpacas and a billy goat:

Daniel meets alpacas

a 'paca

pygora billy goat

And then we hung out with the she-goats. They’re so soft!

meeting a goat

goat butt

pretty nanny goat

Daniel meets a goat

And finally we met the llamas! Here is Koko, a really sweet gelding who loves to be petted. We also met a slightly spunkier llama named Patches, but the camera ran out of batteries.


Sarah and Koko


Daniel and Koko

Koko and his owner Don

(There’s Don in the background)

It’s been almost 2 years since I visited a llama farm! I’m so glad we decided to do it this weekend!



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