Sunday, December 2, 2012

Grandpa Perris

This is a video I'm uploading for Julie of my Grandpa Perris. She sent this video to me while I was on my mission in Korea.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Romero Pools

While all of our friends were getting snowed on in Utah, we spent Saturday enjoying the outdoors.  Jay and I went for a 4 mile run (Jay started marathon training again), then watched Henry and Wes play soccer with the YMCA and then hiked to Romero Pools in Catalina State Park.  It was a beautiful hike and we timed it perfectly to watch the sun set as we were heading back down the mountain.  The best part-the company.  Mike, Jay's roommate from last year, and Jen are in Tucson for the month of November for medical school rotations.

We were glad we came prepared with long sleeves.  The temperature drops below 70 degrees here and suddenly I need layers to keep warm.  I know we can't complain and we won't get any sympathy from our friends and family in Utah.  We have yet to turn on our heat but I did wear a warm winter jacket and boots today and our thermostat outside said it was 55 degrees.

Monday, October 29, 2012

An Unwelcomed Introduction to Arizona

We been in AZ for 8 weeks now.  Sunday I woke up to unpleasant guest sitting on our counter top.

I actually have a high threshhold for bugs and creepy crawling things.  This was not one of those times.  The cockroach was sitting on my counter between a bag of tortilla chips, which I left open over night, and a plate with uneaten diced green chiles and cream cheese.  Sick.  I think it was the green chiles combo that must have done him/her in.

I learned my lesson.  And Jay cleaned up the roach.

Do you know what this is?!?

Yep.  It's official.  My license came through the state of Arizona on Friday.  Just in time, too.  I will start working a week from today.

Good-bye free time.  Good-bye 3 day work week.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Mt Lemmon

This past Saturday was our first Saturday in Tucson without a long marathon training run to fill our day.  We finally had the chance to go out and visit some of the outdoors that Tucson has to offer.

We drove to Mt Lemmon, about 45 minutes from our house and roughly 6,000 ft elevation gain.  I actually felt like we were back in Utah as we were driving through the mountains.  We took our bikes and books and enjoyed the chance to be outdoors.


The First Haircut

Jay's hair grows.  Fast.  One day it looks normal and the next day it is far too long.

He says the difference between a good hair cut and a bad hair cut is 2 weeks and told me to go for it.

My hair cutting experience consists of:

  • 2000: Shaving John's head during chemo treatments.  (Well to be more exact, I actually taped his head as it it were a basketball and then pulled out his hair because I wanted to test and see that it really wouldn't hurt.  I bic'd the rest of his head.  That was a disaster, actually.)
  • 2008: I attempted to cut another boy's hair, but his mom was standing right there and fixed it.  
  • 2012: I've watched Chantelle cut Jay's hair twice this summer.  She made it look pretty like a piece of cake.  
I'm not sure where his confidence in me came from, but he needed a cut.  
Q-tip top
And after my cutting job, he probably still needs a cut--from someone who actually knows what they're doing.  
I don't really know how to blend the mop on top with the sides. I took a little too much out of the front middle.  You can't really tell in this photo.  And there is a chunk on the side that got a little too short.  It still is far too long on top, but I was too afraid to cut any more off the top.  The longer it is, the more someone else has to work with when they try to fix it.  

After he put some hair product in it this morning he said it didn't look too bad.  
At least he is still smiling....

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Details of the Job

This will be a boring post.  No pictures.  No fun stories.  Just information to pass along for everyone to know.

I graduated August 10, 2012.  I became and MSN

I took boards on September 11, 2012.  I traveled nearly 60 miles to a testing center so that I could take the test before Sept 27th, the only available date at the Tucson testing center.  I passed!  My heart was pounding while I was waiting for the results to show up.  Passing makes me a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), or an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) and board certified (bc).

And then I began job search.  I was terrified of applying blindly for jobs at offices where I didn't know anyone.  Not all doctors are nice.  And I'm a new grad.  I didn't want to get eaten alive or feel incompetent in my first job.  I wasn't sure where to start looking.  I didn't have any connections with people in the area yet.  The first resume I turned in was to Monica, the office manager for a company called Arizona Community Physicians.  Jay was in clinical rotations with a family practice doctor who is part of this company.  It was after the Dr.'s suggestion that I gave her my resume.  A few days later I began applying for other NP jobs I could find online.  I was surprised how quickly I heard back from several of the companies. I learned that nurse practitioners are well used in Arizona and luckily there are a lot of jobs available.

I met with a lady 2 days after submitting an application.  I passed her interview and the next day I met her husband, a family practice doctor at a practice less than a mile from my house.  He interviewed me and offered me the job right there.  I requested a few days to consider everything.  It as close to my house.  It was family practice.  It was flexible hours and part time starting until I build up to full time patients.  But it did not include any benefits, the starting wage considering I had no benefits was especially low, and I would be training my own medical assistant.  The other leads I had at that point were for jobs in skilled nursing facilities or doing home visits and I think I always envisioned myself working in more of a clinic setting.

So I accepted the offer late Wednesday afternoon.  I put it off as long as I could that day.

On Thursday Jay texted me from work saying that Monica wanted me to call her.  There was an opening with their company in the NW part of Tucson she wanted to let me know about.

But -- I already accepted a job.  I had not signed any contracts, but I already committed to someone.  Jay suggested that it wouldn't hurt to at least call and find out about the job.

The job available was with Dr Charani, the physician Jay had been working with all month.  I met Dr. Charani multiple times that month.  I knew him well enough to know that he is kind and hard working.  His staff like to work for him.  I knew environment wise as a new graduate this would be an ideal job.  It was full time work with a starting salary that was exactly the same as what the other job offered me but full benefits were included.  Additionally, the office is about 2 miles from our apartment.  Commuting was an important aspect of where I took a job.

One week later, they offered me the job which I accepted.

I know that the Lord's guiding hand was involved in this process.  He knew my fears of not knowing people and work in this area.  He also knows what Jay and I would need for me in accepting a job.  Over the 3 weeks I searched for jobs and interviewed with different people and places, it was the first doctor I met in Tucson, the only physician I actually know in the area, and the first person I gave a resume to where I was able to secure a job.  It provides us with the benefits we need and with an income where we can start paying down on some of Jay's medical school loans.

It feels good.  It feels right.  No wonder I had reservations about saying yes at the first place.

Now if the state of Arizona would just finish processing my licenses.  The current PA at the job doesn't move until November, so I have 4 weeks before I officially start working.

this has nothing to do with my job offer...I just wanted to add another photo.  taken in oregon, hiking multnomah falls
And Jay is happy that he can take credit for helping me find a job.  Thanks!

oh and one more funny part of the job.  Dr. Charani.  I think he will provide some good laughs.  He called me Friday and said, "I have some bad news.  (Long pause).  You have to work with me."

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Stethoscopes and Binoculars

Several months ago Jay said to me--Bird watching is a lot like being a doctor.

NEWS FLASH: My husband likes bird watching.

We may be driving in the car, out on a run, or even in a boat on the beautiful ocean in the Dominican Republic and Jay will point to a bird.  Once we were camping and he said he was just laying in the tent listening to the birds.

I'm oblivious.  I hadn't heard the birds that morning.  I didn't notice the hawk perched high on a telephone pole as we drove by.  And on my runs, my head is usually down to the ground, focused on each step I'm taking.

So, how is bird watching like the medical profession?

While bird watching, you usually only have a split second to identify a particular bird.  This is usually done by identifying key parts of the bird-the wingspan, the curve of the neck, the color of the feathers, how it flies, or the shape of the tail to name a few.  Medicine is the same.  In order to identify a disease, you also have to identify a few key symptoms.

Jay suggested once that, in time, I might really enjoy bird watching with him.  "You know, like when a girl starts watching Monday night football with her husband just to spend time and support him and then ends up becoming a big sports fan."


For now, if I can take out my bike and hold the camera, I am happy to come along and enjoy the adventures of birding.

We have been bird watching twice.  Once in Utah before moving to AZ and once in AZ on a trail just off the back of our apartment complex.  We've seen hawks, golden finches, coots, black neck stilts, avocets, woodpeckers, magpies, pelicans and, one of Jay's favorites, a Vermilion flycatcher.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Windy City

My blog posts over the next few weeks to months will not be in any order as I try to get caught up from our summer.

After a surgery rotation in August with a great surgeon in Utah, Jay has been more interested in pursing a surgical route for residency.  Despite the long hours on the job and long years in residency, he loves the variety of patients he saw, the hands on skills used, and the inpatient and outpatient side of the job.  A few weeks ago he found out about a surgery conference in Chicago.  After my encouragement he decided to attend the conference.  After his encouragement, I decided to come visit the city as well.

We used frequent flyer points and flew there for the cost of only a one way ticket.  And we were fortunate to stay with the parents of one of Jay's classmates in a 3 story loft a mile from the waterfront.  It was a BEAUTIFUL apartment and such a unique setting compared to residential housing in Provo or Tucson.
This picture does not do the apartment justice, but here is a view of the loft where we stayed

Jay attended meetings 8 hrs/day for 3 days straight so there was too much time for sightseeing.  The classes he attended were very informative about lifestyle of a surgeon, interview techniques and options for getting into residency.  In the interview class he learned--a light gray suit is a no; wear glasses it makes you look more nerdy; look at the person in their R eye; learn to stand up and reach out your R hand for a hand shake while buttoning your suit jacket with your left; fohawk is a definite NO, and best to wear your name tag on your R chest because that is where your eye goes first when you shake someone's hand.  Who knew there was a science to all of this?!?

We probably walked close to 8 miles the first afternoon/evening we were there.  We walked to the waterfront and saw the Bean, Buckingham Fountain, the Navy Pier, John Hancock Tower and walked down Magnificent Mile.  We also had a chance to take a boat tour and hear about the architecture and history of the city of Chicago.  It was impressive to hear and see the city from that viewpoint and reminded me of a mini tour I received in NYC the summer I nannied in Connecticut.  My brother took me on my own personal tour including historical significance and personal experiences of several buildings (Chrysler, Trump, and Woolsworth Building), ground zero, battery park and central park.  I loved both

While Jay was in meetings I had a chance to visit one of the local Art museums and enjoyed a 6 mile run along the waterfront.  In the middle of the run I got asked by one person if I was training for the marathon on Sunday.  I was confused at first and then remembered the Chicago marathon was in less than a week on Sunday the 7th.  I said that I actually training for the St George Marathon on October 6th.

The food was amazing.  We had some green curry from a Thai restaurant, amazing pasta and salmon at an upscale Italian place, deep dish pizza at 2 different restaurants, and pretzel pancakes with white chocolate caramel sauce on top.

Jay and his pretzel pancakes

It was a fun weekend away, but perhaps not the best pre marathon training.  After walking 8-10 miles each day I was starting to feel it in the soles of my feet and shins.

Monday, October 8, 2012

26.2 miles

April: the idea of running a marathon was suggested and a team of 5 signed up for the St George Marathon Lottery.
The Team:
Emily D
Jay R
Lisa B
Shelby B
Emily R

May 13: Lisa ran the hippie chick 1/2 marathon and passed out at the completion.  She prayed we would not draw out in the Lottery.

May 15: Our team won a lottery pick

May - September:

  • I received hate texts most Saturday while training.  Lisa B was more than a little concerned about the distance, the altitude, and questioned why she had been crazy enough to get talked in to paying for a race that she now had to spend every Saturday running her body to its breaking point.  
  • I struggled with running.  I didn't have energy.  I felt exhausted after every run whether it was long or short.  My muscles didn't seem to move like they have in previous months.  My lungs just seemed to not get what they needed.  I tried changing out my shoes.  No luck.  It wasn't fun to run anymore.  (It was September before I found a correlation between estrogen levels and muscle fatigue.)  
  • In September we moved to Arizona.  Increase the temperatures by 10-15 degrees and add in lack of street lights in our city and you have very few options of when to train with out losing 10% of your weight in sweat or running into a cactus in the pitch black of night.  Yes, even at 6:45 pm at night it was too dark to run outside).  
  • Jay was busy in clinical rotations and studying for boards.  He usually only found time to run on Saturdays. 
  • I started experiencing severe R knee pain the first week of September.  Pushing through the pain proved detrimental as the pain would shoot down my leg causing my foot pain and numbness. My supplemental insurance while I am between jobs doesn't really have good enough coverage for PT.  
I think we were experiencing mixed emotions about the race.

October 1: Jay's clinical rotation told him he would not be allowed to leave early on Friday for us to travel to St George for the race.  We feared we would be leaving Tucson at 5 or 6pm and be lucky if we pulled in by 2am.  

October 5: Jay got off work at 1030!  A blessing in our favor, finally! We were on the road by 1130 and pulled into the race expo at 8:30 pm.  We carb loaded with pancakes at IHOP and met up with the rest of our team at a condo in Hurricane Utah.  Jay and I got the couch pull out bed that night.  We didn't really sleep.  

October 6: Marathon Day
4am: wake up
5am: load the bus for the start line
6am: Julie and I met up.  We sat around the fire to keep warm until the race began. I don't remember it being that windy 7 years ago when I ran.  

Mile 1: Jay and I finally warmed up and lost our long sleeve shirts.  Jay was looking like quite the runner in his soccer shorts and headband.  (We really are just wanna be runners) 
Mile 2: My R knee started hurting. 
Mile 5: We saw Lisa B running--She was lookin' good. 
Mile 6: Jentry flew by us (one of Jay's classmates.  We drove him from Phx to St George for the race).  Jentry could tell I was limping and compensating by leaning left while I ran.  (As such my abs were in pain after the race. I've never had ab pain from running!)
Mile 7: We hit Veyo--the biggest hill of the race.  
Mile 10: We were maintaining about an 8min/mile pace but I could tell my knee was really not going to make it much longer.  I encouraged Jay to run without me slowing him down and we split up at that point for the rest of the run.  
Miles 11-26.2 were pretty much all a blur mentally talking my way through every tenth of a mile.  I walked what I consider a lot.  I probably walked a tenth of each mile but I kept moving trying not to let the people passing me get me down.  At this point in the race it is as much a mental battle as a physical battle.  Icy hot at two different aid stations in the last 10 miles helped to numb some of the pain.  I walked through the aid stations for water or gatorade every other mile when they were offered.  I kept my eyes down on the road and focused and just tried to keep moving.  

I crossed that finish line. A 3:50:19.  Surprisingly, I crossed it within 30 seconds of my previous marathon time.  Not too bad considering how much I walked on this one and that 7 years have elapsed.  A far cry from Boston qualifying time, but good enough for me. 
Jay ran a 3:42, a PR for him and bragging rights in the Robertson family household.  He now has the family's fastest marathon time.  (There are rumors starting of a Robertson family race for the future to provide some healthy family competition).  

Lisa B, Shelby B and Emily R all finished their first marathons!  And each had their own cheering section at the end from their spouses who were their biggest fans!

This was Julie's 7th marathon and second marathon in the last 3 month.  She's got more mental will power and muscle endurance than I will ever have.  

It might just be another 7 years before I run my next full marathon.  Jay and I in the meantime may look into a triathlon.  Only problem-I can't swim and clipping in on a bike scares me.  A LOT.  I'll have to figure those two things out before I can commit to a tri.  And buy a swim suit.  

And yes, I must be crazy.  I can hardly walk and I'm already talking about the next race.  

Dreaming of Dragons

I don't like people breathing on me.  I think it all stems from attending church dances.  Awkward 14 year olds and slow dances, close but not too close but still close enough you could feel him/her exhale.  I still remember the purposeful thought I put into spacing my breathing so that I breathed out at the same time my dance partner breathed out in order to avoid inhaling his exhalation.  It's not just other people's air.  I hate breathing in my own exhaust.  Typically I can avoid such moments, but when wearing a surgical mask at work for neutropenic patients there is no avoiding the situation.  Camping is another example.  If it's cold outside, I'll pull a sleeping bag over my head to retain heat, but the consequence is my breath hits the side of the bag and comes right back in.  Sick  I've solved the problem by creating a pocket of airspace around my nose and mouth for the air to escape and for me to get a breath of fresh air.  

Jay was well informed before we got married.  He maintains a certain awareness of how close he is to me and where he is directing his breathing.  He does a pretty good job.  

Growing up, Jay was a sleep walker.  To my knowledge it has been years since he has been found sleep walking around his house, but he does talk in his sleep.  I often wake up to him mumbling something indiscernible and occasionally moving around apparent that he is dreaming.  

I too was warned and told stories of Jay's sleep walking/talking escapades before we tied the knot.  

About two months after we got married, we were both sound asleep.  It was the middle of the night and all of a sudden I woke up right as Jay was lunging for me.  He got about 4 inches from my face and started blowing like he was a trying to blow out candles on a birthday cake or as if he was dreaming that he was a dragon.  

He still can't remember what he was dreaming about other than he really needed to blow something out....

Sunday, September 30, 2012

That's what marriage is for...

We flew to Chicago on Saturday morning for a conference.  I came unprepared for the flight.  No long pants, no socks and the airline didn't provide a blanket to keep me warm.

Jay offered to let me wear his socks for the flight.  It did the trick and he told me


A-Keeping me warm?
B-Providing me with a new wardrobe?
C-Giving up the little things in life to help your spouse out?
D-Looking out for me?
E-all of the above

Lesson learned.  Bring socks and I have a great husband.

More blog posts to come as I get caught up from our 4 months of marriage including graduating, moving, passing boards, rotations, bird watching (oh yes I did), and other fun adventures.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Wedding Day Recap

Most of you reading this probably attended the wedding, so I will keep the recap brief.

Jay and I were married Saturday May 26th 2012 in the Portland Oregon Temple.  We were blessed to have many family and friends come to town for the occasion and that the weather cooperated for the day.  We had sunny skies from start to finish.

My mom and dad are serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Washington DC.  They were able to come to the wedding, but have other responsibilities keeping them busy.  And since I'm not much of a party/celebration planner, I was grateful to have help from the Brennan family.  Shelby designed my invitations and most of my flowers.  Amy let me borrow her beautiful dress and jewelry.  And Lisa -- she and Greg were the masterminds behind almost everything else.  She sewed a beautiful dress, made my bouquet, sewed the table cloths, designed the center pieces, found a location for our family dinner, helped us find a korean/mexican fusion taco truck for the family dinner, planned our family 5K, prepared all the sides for the family dinner (Italian sodas, fruit), set up and took down all decorations and helped keep me sane while wedding planning out of state and completing grad school.  Oh-and I can not forget to mention that back in February she and Jay conspired together without my knowledge to fly Jay to Portland while I was in town visiting and making wedding decisions.  And a final thanks to my sister-in-law Katherine who made my wedding cake and a grooms cake for Jay.  And to Becca, Jay's sister who took our engagement photos (pre-engagement and post engagement :)
Our announcement photo

And highlights from the big day--

7:45 sharp, the Family 5K started.  I think it was approached tentatively by some family members, but I'm pretty sure all who participated loved it.  Even the nieces and nephews who ran, rode bikes, or rode scooters had smiles on their faces.

We had a family breakfast following the run for the Robertson family to meet the Dougall family.

And then I was off to get my hair and make-up done.  Surprise-no hot water.  I've taken plenty of cold showers in my travels abroad.  What's one more, right?!?  I didn't have time to wait for the hot water heater to be reset so I sucked it up.  And despite a warning about shaving in cold water, I opted to take my chances.

Jay's friend Chantelle flew out as my hairstylist!  And did a great job not only on my hair, but Jay's too!

Our ceremony started at 1pm with a room packed with family and our close friends.  Legrand Wolley, a long time family friend, married us.

Following we were off to Scholls Valley Lodge for a family dinner with Korean burritos and tacos by Koi Fusion and some serious family chaos.  (See the previous post about our very LARGE family).  The Lodge is set up on a hill overlooking a grassy field and orchard. The setting was perfect.
The days leading up to the wedding I was stressed.  Most of it can be blamed on the fact I have no idea how to plan a party let alone my own wedding.  Ordering flowers from an Asian flower lady that I could hardly understand was just the beginning.  The rented chairs weren't right-they were filthy and outdoor not indoor chairs.  And answering questions and phone calls from both sides of the family were just a few.  It was all stressing me out and in tears I asked Lisa-"Am I magically happy tomorrow on my wedding day? Because right now I'm not."  And I was unsure how I was supposed to in a matter of 12 hours put all of this behind me and be a carefree bride.  Her answer was an emphatic-YES.

And just to put any future brides concern to rest--that is exactly how I felt on my wedding day.  Nothing was that big of a deal.  The shower was cold.  The caters showed up almost 45 min late.  My nephew's head was 1/2 shaved from crazy hair day at school and had no intention of shaving the rest of it off.  The beautiful cake that my sister in law made slightly melted during the ceremony and the 5 layer cake starting leaning ever so slightly.  (We delayered it down to 3 and it still tasted amazing!)  The microphone wasn't working properly.

The family quieted down long enough for our parents and 2 siblings to share a few memories and advice for our new journey.  (Jules thanks for the toothpaste analogy.  And James thanks for heads up about tape on the upper lip!) We rounded up the afternoon with Jay and I sharing a few thoughts about our relationship.  We both strongly feel God's hand guiding us in the decisions we make in our lives. These decision led us to each other and some good memories and ups and downs in the process.  Jay-Thanks for waiting 5 1/2 year for me and for giving me one more chance summer of 2011.

Okay-so much for a quick recap.  This was much longer than expected, but I am horrible at writing in my journal and this is probably the best journal entry I'm going to get for the event.

We spent a relaxing weekend at the beach before flying back to Utah 3 days later for us to get a running start on the next 6 weeks of life-more on that to come.  

Thursday, July 26, 2012

I married an only child

Clarification: I married the only child not married in a family of 9 kids.  And I'm the 9th in a family of 11 kids.

Let's crunch the numbers:
J's family:
1 mom
1 dad
8 sibs
8 in-law
34 nieces and nephews (2 on the way)

M's family:
1 mom
1 dad
10 sibs
8 in-laws
29 nieces and nephews

= 101 (and counting)

That's a lot of birthdays, anniversaries, future graduations and weddings to remember.

Oh, and 1 potentially chaotic Portland Wedding for us.

My friend joked before our wedding that her present to me would be a t-shirt that said-
"I should have married an only child."

We survived the wedding :) And more importantly we survived the 6 chaotic weeks post wedding. More on that to come.