Sunday, May 24, 2009


I'm still studying, but I'm in the taper.  It's just like training for a marathon, but without toenail injuries.  You don't work too hard at the end.  Especially in the last two weeks.  One week from right now, I'll be in Louisville.  

We've had a pretty good holiday weekend, even though it hasn't seemed too celebratory for me. That's one thing I've noticed about residency and young doctorhood: holidays aren't much.  We have this conversation when we're looking at schedules and planning trips.  Sometimes you have time off, sometimes you don't.

Ball game Friday night.  Ross got to run around the bases at the end.  I was way more excited than he was, and that's saying something.  I don't think I've ever gotten to do that; since I have a less-than-5-year-old, I got to participate. Have I ever told you the story about how I DIDN'T get to be a Travs batgirl when I was a kid. I'll spare you the pain. Let's just say it was tragic. And unconstitutional.

So we ran around yesterday, accomplished some errand stuff, spent time with my mom, and ended up going to Whole Hog for dinner followed by a movie (Earth).  We were planning on Monsters/Aliens, but you know how plans are.  Apparently my widget for movie times isn't so correct.  So we got there an hour early and went to eat barbeque instead.  We were the only people in the movie theater, which turns out to be perfect when you have a two-year-old watching a nature documentary featuring the bland, serious voice of James Earl Jones.  He was all over the place, and we let him.  Lesson: don't plan.

Today has been pretty rainy and dull, i.e. not much to post about.  We made it to church (there was plenty of room there), and then I studied.  One of those weekends where we keep thinking we'll plan something to do and do it.  Like I said, plans are overrated.  

Hopefully the game and fireworks won't get rained out; so far, so good.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


The days are just dragging.  My test is two weeks from yesterday, and I can't seem to get there.  I think I'm finished studying.  I just want to get there.  Everything is on hold.  Erica misses me.  I miss me.  I forget more things than I remember.  I am whiny.  Etc, etc.

I got to have lunch with Katy today, and that cheered me up a lot.  It's good to have an oldest bestest friend.  Some things never change. 

My applications are now complete to Toronto and Boston for the year-after-next fellowship possibility.  If I'm a good blogger, I'll keep you posted on how the academic year 2010-2011 progresses.

Our house isn't selling.  People are barely even looking.

We had a busy weekend.  Ross had three birthday parties, which means we have officially entered that stage in life.  He now has Tuesday and Thursday night swimming lessons, which he is ROCKING.  They want to promote him.  Ha.  Not surprised.  He had a hateful whiny horrible morning today.  I asked him, "What did you do with my kid and why can't you bring him back to me?"  Unfortunately, everyone at Panera saw his ferocity and thought, "That's her kid.  Why does she bring him out?"  They don't know that that's not really my kid.  My Ross is perfect and sweet and fun and appreciative.  Yikes.

Erica is back at work this week (she has these unpredictable but welcomed weeks off), so that has brought a little more routine to our lives.  She still holds things together around here, and weathers our toddler's storms with one hand tied behind her back.

Meanwhile, I'm sticking to the things that always work:  morning walks, my dog, beer, wasting time online, a clean car, new books, and Erica.  Always Erica.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Don't squeeze


Mother's Day was fun around here, obviously double the usual celebration.  We had special bagels at Ross' school at drop-off time on Friday, and he made little gifts for us.  They were in a sack to open on Sunday, but he was so proud he yelled, "Handprint!" when I picked him up that afternoon.  

He spent the night with my mom.  They went to Fayetteville to stay with Nae-Nae (my mom's sister), who was in charge of her two grandsons.  I'm sure it was non-stop fun.  Ross was exhausted Saturday when he got home.  It allowed us a dinner at Brave New, which is by far our favorite Little Rock restaurant.  We hadn't been in a LONG time.

I had mock boards on Saturday, which was really good for showing me how long that "real" day will feel.  It went well, and it put a lot of things in perspective.  I know this stuff.  I've been studying like crazy.  A few areas to work on in the next three weeks, but otherwise a confidence booster.  I got home around 2:30 and opened a beer.  Nice.

Erica had a lot of family in town for Mother's Day.  Her grandmother is moving to Florida, and the exchange between caretaker-uncles happened in Little Rock.  It is a difficult transition for everyone because the grandkids feel like she is moving too far away.  So kind of a bittersweet day.  Nonie is in her eighties and largely unaware of the goings-on.  Everyone took more pictures than usual.

Sunday was church and brunch back at Erica's parents' house.  Big day.  We napped and then had dinner with my dad and grandmother (who is also increasingly unaware).  Ross loves big family weekends and seeing the cousins.

With all the rain, we spent last evening cleaning out the drain in front of our garage so that it doesn't flood.  There was mud everywhere.  Ross played with worms.  I shoveled mud.  Erica Shop-Vac'ed the standing water.  And then we dug out the drain itself.  Not glamorous work, but it seemed to hold last night during the rain.  As I was walking them out to the car this morning, Erica and Ross saw a big turtle in our drive!  He was thrilled.  My camera was upstairs, which now I'm totally regretting.

Above: we're learning about underwear.  We have a lot to learn.

Thursday, May 07, 2009


Sitting in the library and obviously not studying. The pictures of the small bowel follow-through are on the screen, but my mind wanders.

I am two people or three, or thirty, or a million.

I used to be someone who walked in the woods, listened to all kinds of music, traveled with a backpack, and lazed. Now I work, and parent, and study, and survive. It is like two different people, seemingly unaligned.

This is not a dismal post. I'm just realizing that THIS is what the 30's (and probably middle age) are all about. We have to figure out who we are. This sounds easy, and I did it years ago. Which was all well and good, but then I changed. I still like to do the things I used to have time for, but I have to find ways to fit them in. This is why people our age are busy. Not because we have kids, but because we have kids and jobs and partners in addition to all the things we used to have. It's not a trade-off, but a squeeze. Case in point: my game room closet, where you will find life jackets, camping equipment, and golf clubs. Relative antiquities these days, but worth keeping and fighting for.

So now I know who I am, but I have to keep on top of that. I still know what I want to do and be, but I have to know that these things change, too.

One day last summer (the summer of my confusion and discontent), I was brushing my teeth in the 1/2 bath. I looked in the mirror and realized that I am exactly who I always wanted to be. I think that moment was precious - not because it was then that I realized it, but because it was then that I really became it. A combination of lots of Leahs.

This person has great hair. She works and loves and plays hard. She is not too old, not too young. She is educated but has billions of things to learn. She has time to do the things she loves, but she has to work for this time.

Which makes simple pleasures more enjoyable after all.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009


It's good to be home.  I have settled back in.  The only problem is that the imminence of boards is pressing and squeezing and contracting.  It really does feel like that.  Four weeks from today, I'll be finished.  I got home late Friday night, and then had board reviews on Saturday and Sunday.  It was like, "Welcome home, get away from your family and come to WORK."  On Monday, I had four board reviews.  Wow.  The thing is: reviews are awesome.  An "examiner," usually one of my attendings or former residents, stands in front of us and shows us cases.  We go around the room and act like we are taking our oral boards.  An image is shown, we describe it, talk about the findings, our differential diagnosis, and state what we would do next (more imaging, refer to a surgeon, biopsy, tell 'em to suck it up, etc.).  It's an incredible amount of stress and intimidation, but in that regard it simulates the real oral board exam.  It's an invaluable experience, but an hour of that stuff wears me out.  My neck tenses up and I always get a headache.

So now you know why my life feels like it is on hold.  And now that I've complained for an entire paragraph, I'm probably done.  Please don't leave my blog now that I've returned!

I looked back at some of the more recent blog posts and realized that a lot has changed.  Mae is at her new home, as I stated.  The awesome nanny?  Well, she was a con artist liar.  It's a long story that many of you have heard, but life has been so much better since we moved on.  It didn't take us long to figure her out; the stories never made it back around to truth.  Our boy is safe, we are relatively unscathed, and all is well.  Ross is now at a new school downtown near Children's.  We LOVE his new school.  We faced the fact that he was totally ready for school, anyway.  It gives us all a routine to have him there, and the new baby is on the list for January, when Erica is projected to return to work.  Oh yeah, that's news!  20 weeks today.  We had our big ultrasound yesterday and kept our heads turned when there might have been a crotch shot, much to the dismay of the grandparents, who would love to know which color to buy.  We are keeping it a surprise.

Erica's job continues to go well.  It is low stress.  She has weeks on service and weeks off.  No nights or weekends!  In retrospect, I don't think we ever thought there would be a time in our lives that we wouldn't both have nights and/or weekends.  Or that there would be scheduled days off!  It is such a blessing to have her in a good practice.  She loves ACH and spends some time at UAMS, too, where she attends deliveries and follow-up care.  My job isn't structured right now; I just study.

My fellowship in pediatric radiology starts this summer and will continue for a year.  I'm already planning for an additional year in interventional radiology for the following year (2010-1011).  I know, it's crazy.  More training.  I total of 7 years after graduating from med school.  Oh well, it's what I love.  I want to end up at ACH; I want to teach; I want to be involved in every way that I can in imaging for kids. The interventional year would likely be done "away;" I'm applying to Toronto, Boston, and maybe a couple others.  We'll see.  If I don't get one of those, then I'll apprentice here in town in a less official fellowship and stay on as staff here.

Ross is an energetic, smart, loving two-year-old.  He has learned to fake cry when he has to go to time out, but seeing him come tell us he's sorry makes us melt.  He wants to do things by himself.  He wears Pull-Ups, but there hasn't been a tremendous amount of progress in that department.  He gets Band-Aids.  He looks so natural in jeans and a little Polo shirt.  He takes good naps.  He gets in our bed between 12 and 4 every morning!  He is a book fanatic.  He speaks SO WELL for his age and puts together great sentences, complete with adverbs.  He points out the giraffes and hippos on the way to school in the car every morning.  He says the blessing by himself.  He adores his cousins.  He knows how to scream.  He remains a great eater.  He gets excited when we talk about "tiny love" coming and wears his big brother shirt with pride!

I've spent the morning attacking the stack of mail and catching up on bills.  Strangely, doing those things is a really calming experience for me.  I sit in front of my new computer, blast the indigo girls, and accomplish stuff.  The piles get smaller, the boxes get checked, and it turns into "me" time.  

Check my facebook for pictures from Boston.