Monday, March 12, 2007

Ski tripping and future plans

I spent the evening of March 7 - March 11 in Colorado, ski-tripping with a group of EIS classmates and connecting with old friends. One of my best friends from medical school (Mark - now an orthopedics resident in Denver) picked me up from the airport and put me up for the night. Another medical school friend, Dave (who went to Cameroon with me after 1st year of medical school and just finished an ER residency in Denver), was in town, so we hung out with some of their friends. This is Dave.
On Thursday morning, my medical school roommate's mom (who is much fun, and just got inducted into the the Colorado Tennis Hall of Fame) picked me up for brunch the next morning, and then swung by her house with me and completely outfitted me with all the winter sports gear I needed - what a blessing!
I took a shuttle up to Keystone, where the crew was staying - we had rented two condos. My friend from high school, Clay, was spending the week in Vail, and came over for dinner Thursday night, and then came back over the pass Friday to hang out.
I am a complete snow sports novice, and decided to try snowboarding. Clay snowboards, and spent Friday morning patiently teaching me. If it hadn't been for him, I don't think I would have stuck with it - he's a fantastic teacher! (and apparently doesn't need a coat)

Clay got to board by himself that afternoon while I took a lesson, and became quite familiar with planting my tail whenever I felt like it (and sometimes when I didn't). It's a lot easier to sit than stop! :)
This was the crew (or a substantial bunch of them) at lunch - we would meet up and chow down together between morning and afternoon runs. I was amazed at how dehydrated I got!

I took a second full day of lessons on Saturday and became more proficient at standing up all the way down the hill - I find it much easier to go down forward (heel edge) than backward (toe edge)! Definitely still a beginner, but thought I made a lot of progress - sorry I don't have a picture of me looking cool on the snowboard. :) My friend Mark came Saturday for skiing (he's not a boarder) and dinner.My tracks! It snowed a LOT on Saturday, and Sunday dawned bright and clear, so I went snow shoeing. I climbed up about as far as I could make it, sat down on the snow for a while, and had a good chat with God. It was spectacularly beautiful!

Mark came back over the pass to pick me up for the ride back to Denver on Sunday - the combination of clear blue sky and lots of fresh snow over Loveland Pass made for some great photo ops!
I think I'm going to try snowboarding again - improving, however slowly, at something that challenging is sort of addictive! So what's next? I have a CRAZY spring schedule!!!

March 17-31: Madagascar
April 1-9: back to Kenya
April 16-23: EIS Conference (I have to make a presentation on my Niger work, and recruit my successor!!)
April 30-May 15: back to Madagascar
May 16-30: Lord (and ERC) willing, back to Kenya
June 2-8: Paul and Christy (my brother-in-law and sister), my niece Jessica, and my nephew Casey in town!!!
June 28-July 2: in Dallas for my sister Laura's wedding
July 3-July 7: in Madras (India) for my former roommate Aruna's wedding!

I will try to keep this updated! Thanks for your thoughts and prayers!!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Staying busy in February

When I found myself back in the US a full 10 days earlier than planned with a 3 day weekend, I called my friend Lee and drove down to Florida (February 18-20). The rest of the country was under a hard freeze, and it was still chilly in Florida, but it was still fun to fly kites barefoot on the beach and soak up some sunshine and wisdom.
This is Lee flying one of her stunt kites - she very patiently taught me for over an hour, and I started getting the hang of it enough to keep it in the air for 30 seconds - she makes it look so easy!
Taken off the balcony - I bought those pants as my retort to uniform wearing. Back during hurricane season, they had "fatigue Friday" in place of "casual Friday" (to get people used to wearing fatigues), so I found a cute little pair of camo pants at Old Navy (along with little camo flats with a bow on top) to wear this summer on Fridays. :)
Speaking of which, many of you have asked to see a picture of me in uniform. Khakis were not made to look good on women! We had a three day epidemic influenza preparedness training that all the EIS officers came in for, so we once again spent a few days all together in the class room. Sorry - no party pics (I figured they were getting old).
The weekend after influenza training, I drove up to Nashville to reconnect with friends. I had such a wonderful time seeing folks - I miss Nashville so much and am so blessed by all the people who were and remain good friends. My best friend from residency (Sherstin) and I met up there - we're scheming on how to both get back. There's nothing for bonding like getting pedicures together. Can you figure out whose feet are whose?

I stayed in my old place with my Nashville rooommate Aruna, who is getting married this summer. This is Aruna, Sherstin, and I at dinner. And if you noticed a major hair change from the picture in uniform a few days earlier, yes, I still drive up to Nashville to get my hair cut. :)
Back at work..... one of the biggest changes from residency is my activity level. As a resident, you can clock a lot of miles walking around the hospital during the day - you're constantly running around. Since starting at CDC, I have had days where I only get up to pee... had to do something about that....
I bought a pilates ball in place of my desk chair at work - so now, I can bounce around on the ball, wiggle, or roll down it for some crunches or to stretch my back whenever I please. (Thank goodness for an office with a door that closes.) I'm very excited about this new development - it also makes me sit straighter. One of my colleagues commented that it's amazing the lengths I'll go to to show that I'm on the ball....

And finally... the Moscow Festival Ballet included Atlanta in its US tour of Swan Lake this year, so I got a bunch of gals together to go - Swan Lake is my favorite ballet, only they made the ending happy instead of tragic - I prefer the "both of them jumping to their death" ending that the Boston Ballet did the very first time I saw it performed. Hmmm.....