Road-Tripping the Midwest

Posted on June 5, 2015



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We ended up staying for two nights in Ann Arbor with our friends. They just finished med school in Cleveland and their youngest daughter is just a few weeks older than Julian so we never run out of things to talk about. We had a couple fun late nights with them talking and eating treats. While the kids were awake we got to explore the college-ey neighborhood around campus, campus itself with all the classic architecture and brick buildings and had a beautiful walk through the arboretum full of windy paths that I wanted to explore. I could imagine spending many a Sunday afternoon there.


Before leaving we went to, I am not exaggerating, the most amazing deli for sandwiches-Zingerman’s. I was just sad that we couldn’t try every salad, every type of dessert and every sandwich they had there. It was a wonderland of food. It was only about a three hour drive to Chicago and we listened to our audiobook while Julian took a short nap, then chattered in the back seat.

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Somehow, the best deal on hotels we could find was for the Hard Rock Hotel on Michigan Ave. After we checked in we went to Millennium Park to see the Bean and stumbled into a magical free concert in the Jay Pritzger pavilion. We had some extra cheesy Chicago pizza for dinner and walked around a little more until we got to the Buckingham fountain, stopping at the coolest playground on the way. The next day we went out to Navy Pier and rode on the Ferris Wheel. We had the best lunch of tacos, chili cheese curds, and an horchata milkshake from Antique Taco, then drove on to Wisconsin.

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I am so glad we got to stop in Wisconsin to see my aunt and uncle and cousins who we haven’t seen since our family reunion at the Oregon Coast right after we got married. It was Sydney’s birthday the day we arrived and we felt lucky to get to celebrate with them. I had never met my youngest cousin in their family, Harper, and she is so sweet and funny and Julian had such a good time playing with her. They live in “Lake Country” because they are surrounded by so many little lakes, and we got to go to one of the nearby lakes with them and splash around and some of them even polar bear plunged. I was really impressed at my brave cousins. One of the highlights for me was getting to cook dinner with Cameron who was such a fun and great helper in the kitchen.

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The next day, I better write about quick, before I completely block it out of my memory. The best part of the day was getting to sing to Sydney for her birthday and eat her delicious birthday cake for breakfast. We made it to the end of a sacrament meeting then started driving. Julian fell asleep pretty early on in our drive but didn’t keep sleeping very long for some reason. After lots of stops to let Julian stretch his legs we made it to Des Moines where Ted’s cousin Christian is going to med school. We stopped just to say hi, but he was super busy studying so we moved along pretty quick. I drove the next leg and it was going well until we stopped for gas and Julian woke up. The next two hours until we made it to Kansas City, he was either whining or full-on screaming. It was so sad and we felt terrible for him but we also just really needed to get it over with.

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We stayed with the parents of some of our friends from Rochester who grew up in Kansas City. It was nice-and kind of a relief-to see the place where we are going to live after next year. There is so much unknown in our lives right now so now at least I have been to one of the places where we will live for residency. And it actually seems pretty cool! We decided to make a last minute change of plans and use some flight credit we had to get Julian and I a flight to Salt Lake City while Ted drove the rest of the way on his own. It was kind of sad to break up the roadtrip crew, but after the awful day we had all had, we felt like it was the right decision.

Heading Out to Seek Our Fortunes

Posted on May 27, 2015

First let me backtrack a little bit.

…..bleep bloop bleep bloop…..

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So back in March we found out that we matched into a Transitional Year program in Spokane, WA and dermatology in Kansas City, KS. It was really one of the most exciting days ever being in the atrium of the nursing school with almost all of Ted’s classmates where we counted down to twelve noon before opening the envelopes that told them their fate for the next 3-6 years. There was so much emotion in that room, it was amazing. And so exciting to find out where all of our friends were heading too.

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Then in May both sets of our parents and Ted’s aunt and uncle came out for graduation. Graduation was a pretty big deal and we were glad to have family around to celebrate with us. We got to play tourist with them at Niagara Falls and the Lilac Festival art fair. Graduation was another really exciting day, but I was feeling all conflicted because of being really overwhelmed by everything that was changing and all that we needed to do before leaving.


^one of our favorite Rochester spots for the last time^

I think now we’re all caught up until our road trip. The morning before we left we were scrambling to get everything jammed into our pods and our apartment all cleaned. We hired someone to come help us with cleaning, and still somehow I was frantically scrubbing tiny black marks off the wall five minutes after our landlord was supposed to show up to check us out. I’m so glad that he was a little late so I was able to have a small quiet moment to walk around our empty house for one last time, cupboards all empty and wood floors gleaming.

We left around lunchtime, and there was a restaurant I had been meaning to try and never got around to while we actually lived in Rochester. I got a Dhosa-an Indian crepe made of rice and lentils filled with spiced potatoes and onions, while Ted ran next door to his favorite sandwich shop in Rochester-Dibella’s. We split a custard/Italian Ice from Rita’s in the same plaza and then got on the road.

Julian fell asleep almost as soon as we started driving and blessedly was out for about four hours. I guess all our packing and cleaning wore him out too. About an hour into our drive, we crossed the border into Canada. It was a pretty uneventful trip until we stopped at one of the ubiquitous En Route truck stops and accidentally got Julian an eight dollar quesadilla from Taco Bell. What’s up with that, Canada? When we crossed back over the bridge into the US we were in the outskirts of Detroit.

After taking care of a blowout (thanks Julian) and replacing our leaky air mattress, we only had a short drive to Ann Arbor where our friends had just moved the day before. They are renting a two bedroom apartment until they find a house to buy, so they and their three kids were so kind to let us take up some of their already limited space. Not only did they welcome us to set up shop on their living room floor, they welcomed us with hot brownies and ice cream. These are the kinds of friends you want to have, people.

Surprise Mother’s Day Girls’ Weekend

Posted on May 5, 2015

IMG_0942Last Thursday, Ted told me I would need to find a sub for teaching my primary class because he and Julian had a surprise for me on Sunday. I definitely didn’t suspect what the surprise was…two whole nights at a beautiful cozy farmhouse near Ithaca with nine other lovely ladies. We went out on the town, we hot tubbed, we did yoga. It was a practically perfect weekend in every way. IMG_0959

Road trippin’

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We hit up the Ithaca farmer’s market Saturday after our morning runs/walks/sleep-ins.


The library was having a sale and we all found some treasures.

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Hiking around at Buttermilk Falls. So cool how the falls just continues along the path as you walk up. Hayley is our yoga specialist. She is in training right now to become a yoga instructor and I love hearing about the stuff she’s learning.

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Mr. Tate was the only boy allowed on the trip, and was so fun to snuggle. His mama was so chill about the whole thing and definitely gave me respect for mothers of more than one-he is her fourth. Some of us went for pedicures and they had quite a full service treatment.

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Moosewood got mixed reviews from our group but I loved the dish I ordered-the Rumbledethunps. We all loved the restaurant we went to the night before though. It was a tapas place and they had an asparagus brown butter dish that…oh man…it was just the most delicious thing. They kept bringing out plates of beautiful food and we were telling first kiss stories and it was great.

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So relaxed! Nobody’s schedule but our own for the weekend!

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The yoga studio at the property where we stayed was built by the owners in a cottage by their creek. It smelled amazing inside like wood and sunshine.

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Our conversations ranged from the very silly to the deep and thought provoking to the scandalous and it was all very restorative and necessary. IMG_0940 IMG_0941  IMG_0957 IMG_0958

I feel really grateful for all the husbands that made this happen. I am getting really sad about leaving Rochester and this was such a wonderful last chance to have some quality time with these friends who all inspire me in different ways.

Taking Stock

Posted on April 8, 2015

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Making: Lots of mental lists to prepare for Iceland next week
Drinking: Dirty Dr. Pepper, extra dirty. After a week in Provo during which we went to Sodalicious three times, I am officially addicted. It’s probably a good thing that I don’t live in Utah.
Reading: In the middle of four books at the same time as usual, also Tavi’s Editor’s Letter, esp this part…

BE YOUR OWN GRANDMA. This is when I get hung up on or victimize myself over a situation that is ultimately catty and temporary, e.g., an acquaintance going on about a stupid pop culture thing I get deeply invested in and pissed off about because THEIR OPINION IS WRONG! Then I imagine me in my old age being like, “Why did you waste so much time on such fools? Wish that convo about ‘Anaconda’ wasn’t one of my five remaining memories rn!!!” Or I imagine my actual 97-year-old grandma being like, “You want a #TBT? I’LL give you a #tbt! The GREAT DEPRESSION!” And then I zap catty thoughts from my brain as soon as they creep in

Wanting: To nail down our apartment for Spokane next year
Watching: The Theory of Everything
Listening: to Courtney Barnett, especially Avant Gardener
Eating: scrambled eggs for breakfast every morning because Julian and I love splitting them, and a crazy amount of roasted cauliflower ever since I discovered that it is as addicting as chips when you roast it with olive oil and indian spices.
Smelling: Rain
Wishing: My house would pack itself, weeding out the things we shouldn’t take and selling whatever possible as it goes of course.
Enjoying: Julian’s new walking skills. Watching him toddle drunkenly all over with his arms at chin level-always-is pretty adorable.
Loving: The messages from general conference this year and the chance to study them again soon because someone cute and small was distracting us during a large portion of the talks.

Hoping: Hoping hoping hoping that Julian’s passport comes in the mail before this Friday or else we are driving to Buffalo where they can do them same day for a crazy price on top of the expedited fee we already paid. For some reason, we didn’t realize until two weeks ago that babies do, in fact, need passports to fly out of the country.

Needing: Julian to stop throwing everything in the toilet. Stat. So far he tossed his cousin’s toy, my grandma’s lotions, a ball (between ted’s legs while he was peeing haha), Ted’s aunt and uncle’s two tv remotes (cringe), and his Thomas the Tank Engine train into the toilet.
Feeling: Proud of finally beating Ted’s March Madness bracket this year.
Noticing: All the things about Rochester I’m going to miss. One example-there is an amazing chef in our ward and he teaches a cooking class every two months or so and last night was the last class I’ll be able to attend.

Wishing: Ted a very happy anniversary! Four years! We are sort of counting our Iceland trip as our big anniversary/graduation celebration but it’s still exciting to remember that beautiful snowy day four years ago and how far we’ve come since then.

My sister is married!

Posted on April 6, 2015

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We just got back home from a week in Utah where we were able to celebrate with Emily and Joey as they got married. You can just tell when you are around those two that they make each other so happy and I am so thrilled that my sister found the perfect guy for her. It makes me all excited for going on trips together with all our kids someday. Her dress was amazing! My mom made it, of course, and planned a beautiful reception with a delicious taco bar. Joey and his family and friends did lots of live music at the reception which was a highlight, especially when he sang Sunshine on Leith by The Proclaimers to Emily.

At our wedding dinner I asked Emily to read a poem and she chose Shakespeare sonnet 116 which I loved since high school. I was honored when Emily asked me to do the same at their dinner and this is the poem that I picked.

Coming Home
by Mary Oliver

When we’re driving, in the dark,
on the long road
to Provincetown, which lies empty
for miles, when we’re weary,
when the buildings
and the scrub pines lose
their familiar look,
I imagine us rising
from the speeding car,
I imagine us seeing
everything from another place — the top
of one of the pale dunes
or the deep and nameless
fields of the sea —
and what we see is the world
that cannot cherish us
but which we cherish,
and what we see is our life
moving like that,
along the dark edges
of everything — the headlights
like lanterns
sweeping the blackness —
believing in a thousand
fragile and unprovable things,
looking out for sorrow,
slowing down for happiness,
making all the right turns
right down to the thumping
barriers to the sea,
the swirling waves,
the narrow streets, the houses,
the past, the future,
the doorway that belongs
to you and me.

…and the runners up…

by Billy Collins

“You are the bread and the knife,
The crystal goblet and the wine . . .”
Jacques Crickillon

You are the bread and the knife,
the crystal goblet and the wine.
You are the dew on the morning grass
and the burning wheel of the
You are the white apron of the baker
and the marsh birds suddenly in flight.

However, you are not the wind in the orchard,
the plums on the counter,
or the house of cards.
And you are certainly not the pine-scented air.
There is just no way you are the pine-scented air.

It is possible that you are the fish under the bridge,
maybe even the pigeon on the general’s head,
but you are not even close
to being the field of cornflowers at dusk.

And a quick look in the mirror will show
that you are neither the boots in the corner
nor the boat asleep in its boathouse.

It might interest you to know,
speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world,
that I am the sound of rain on the roof.

I also happen to be the shooting star,
the evening paper blowing down an alley,
and the basket of chestnuts on the kitchen table.

I am also the moon in the trees
and the blind woman’s tea cup.
But don’t worry, I am not the bread and the knife.
You are still the bread and the knife.
You will always be the bread and the knife,
not to mention the crystal goblet and—somehow—the wine.

by Rainer Maria Rilke

Understand, I’ll slip quietly
away from the noisy crowd
when I see the pale
stars rising, blooming, over the oaks.

I’ll pursue solitary pathways
through the pale twilit meadows,
with only this one dream:
You come too.

by Margaret Atwood

Marriage is not
a house, or even a tent

it is before that, and colder:

the edge of the forest, the edge
of the desert
         the unpainted stairs
at the back, where we squat
outdoors, eating popcorn
the edge of the receding glacier
where painfully and with wonder
at having survived even
this far

we are learning to make fire.

A snowy walk

Posted on March 8, 2015

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Julian and I bundled up today and went out for a walk around the neighborhood while Ted was doing his ride-along ambulance shift for his Emergency Medicine rotation. I put Julian in the Ergo because I learned the hard way last spring that snow and strollers don’t mix. We had a great time, enjoying a little sunshine, stomping over the snow mounded at the end of each block and feeling mighty grateful for my snug warm winter boots I finally bought this year, stopping to see every dog we passed, after which Julian would make his “woof woof” sound to me for a few blocks. It’s kind of crazy to think that this could be our last winter here. No more snow piles taller than me lining all the streets. But then again, maybe we’ll move to Alaska.


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