Saturday, October 30, 2010

Halloween Party!!

The Dread Pirate Roberts. 
But he wasn't the real Dread Pirate Roberts, and neither was the Dread Pirate Roberts before him....
Guitar dress! 
Who says there are no good costumes left on the discount rack on October 29?!
I can play a mean Classical Gas on myself
Playing allowed by invitation only.
He can play me like a fiddle
Where is the poison? The battle of wits has begun. It ends when you decide and we both drink, and find out who is right...
and who is dead.
I spent the last few years building up an immunity to iocane powder.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Ridiculous Things My Novel Has Made Me Say

I'm currently "storyboarding" for my novel.  It's going to be a science fiction book (I think I watched too many Gary Sinise movies growing up- it was the only plot line I could come up with!!) and I'm LOVING coming up with crazy stuff to write about.  The best part is that, since I'm going to write the whole thing in a month, there is absolutely no room for fact-checking or research.  So I'm just making it all up.  It's very free-ing to write fiction that is TOTALLY fiction, without worrying about whether or not is plausible.  Here are some of the crazy things I've asked myself in the last hour as a I sketch out a very loose plotline:

"Do you think NASA trains their astronauts in cannibalism?  Like how to cook each other?  I bet they would."

"How many of my characters can I kill off?  So far I've killed 9 of 12.  Too much?  Nahhh...."

"I don't want my astronauts to wear space gear when they walk around on Mars.  So I guess Mars has breathable atmosphere.  And they have WiFi to run a web cam"

"Is it possible to stow-away on a space shuttle?   Like hide in the luggage compartment?  You'd probably die from lack of oxygen and stuff- but it'd be a good plot twist!!"

"O crap- I just killed my last character.  **deletes back 3 scenes to prevent massive causalities**"

This is going to be an AWESOME month!!  I love being ridiculous!!  :-D

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

My First Novel

I am writing my first novel. That's right. A full-length, 175 page, 50,000 word novel. And I going to do it one month. I am entering the National Novel Writing Month contest. Along with 150,000 of my anonymous Internet friends, I am going to attempt to write 50,000 words in the month of November. That's 1600 words per day (which is more words per day than I usually speak!). It's my kind of "contest" too- you win if you finish, you lose if you don't.

This novel is going to be awful. Truly terrible. I will probably  foreshadow things that never happen, because I will forget that I did it. I will probably develop and then abandon characters randomly. I will have a wandering and boring plot. I may never re-read or edit my novel. I am just going to spew it out. Maybe it will feel  therapeutic and rewarding. Maybe it will just re-affirm my decision to go into medicine (and thereby avoid the humanities all together). But it will be a challenge and a new experience- and those are two
things that I've never turned down.

Read more about it here Join me if you are up for it!! It will be a month to remember. If I ever write a nice turn of phrase or decent paragraph, then maybe I will share it on here- but otherwise you'll probably never see a word of it.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Story I've Waited 4 Years To Tell

October 2006.  I sat in Midway airport, waiting for a flight to a medical school interview.  A woman sat down near me, talking on her cell phone.  With nothing better to do, I eavesdropped.

"... I really did like most parts of the program.  But it seemed like most of the residents were married with kids, and that they didn't  really ever hang out as a group.  I don't know, I guess I was just hoping that the resident would be friends..."

This woman had flown to Chicago for a residency interview!  I was awed.  In four years, I would be in her shoes.  That blew my mind.  In four years, I would go from a just-barely-legal-to-drink-alcohol undergrad, to a doctor who would interview for jobs as a doctor.  Whoa.

And here I am.  It's surreal becasue that memory from four years ago is so fresh in my mind.  I can't believe that I'm already in that woman's shoes.  My first intreview was this week, and it went splendidly.  I have many more to come.  And I'm still blown away that I'm interviewing for a job as a doctor.  When did I grow up?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Half Merry-thon

I did it!   13.1 miles in 2 hours and 14 minutes (10:08 was the final overall pace).  It was a wonderful, beautiful day. 

Pre-race = cold and nervous

We had views like this for at least half the race

Heading toward the finish line (pretty much the only place with any spectators)

Finishing!!!  Still smiling!!  (Yes, my shirt says "Go Laura!")

The conquering heroes (and our wonderful driver)!

Free food just tastes better

It was a great experience.  Beautiful course, and I felt pretty good the whole time.  I could see myself doing more of these.  I was surprised by how much of a difference it made to be running with so many other people (about 4,000 in the race).  I love my running watch too.  It gives me the ability to share these awesome gems with you:

The race course- lots of ocean!
The elevation map- lots of hills, luckily the last mile was downhill.  Otherwise I wouldn't have been smiling at the end!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Interview Update

Eight interview offers so far!! Wahoo!! The goal is 12-15, and most of my favorite programs haven't started offering yet.

The planning  process for the traveling and logistics is humorous, to say the least.  I find myself frantically asking myself (and the people who still tolerate me) things like:

"Can I put 2 interviews on back-to-back days?  What if I spill something on my suit on the first interview?  Is there a dry cleaner by the hotel?  Do dry cleaners do same-day cleaning?  Maybe I can get the menu for lunch for the first interview to make sure that there's nothing that's likely to spill or stain..."

"Is it worth it to pay the extra fee to return the rental car to a different city than I rented it from; or drive back 2 hours to my original airport?  If it saves me $50 but costs me 2 hours, is that worth it?  What would I have done with those 2 hours anyway... but it does increase the probability of me getting into an accident.... I should look at the safety report for that highway..."

"What is the probability of a snow store in either New England or Chicago in early December?  High, right? Is it high enough that I should allot arrive a few days early in case my flights get canceled?  But what if arriving a few days early means missing out on another interview? Is one in the hand better than two in the bush?  Is it better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all?"

I had my practice interview a few days ago, and I learned a few things from that experience too.  First, while trying on my suit for the interview, I decided to do a little boob experiment.  I tried on the suit once with my regular bra, and once with my super constrictive running sports bra to see which made the suit look better.  Without a doubt, smaller boobs=better looking professional suit.  It reminded me of that movie "Now and Then" where the tom-boyish girl duct tapes her boobs because she wants to be boyish.  I'm going to pretend that I'm doing it for my own comfort and because it makes me look thinner, and not let it become a sexism issue. I just need to remember to bring a separate running bra for the trips where I'm planning on both running and interviewing. Otherwise I would be a very stinky applicant.

Also, my practice interviewer said that she normally advises surgery applicants to nix activities like scrapbooking from their list of hobbies ("it's way too feminine")- BUT she said that when I mentioned scrapbooking it was fine because I made scrapbooking seem "like an activity that is extremely goal-oriented, requires great dexterity and hand-eye coordination, and is a simple, practical and pragmatic solution to a real problem of categorically storing excess pictures".  I never knew that I talked about scrapbooking in such a military-esque way, but I guess it's nice that I can sell just about anything to my surgically-minded audience. Maybe I should've been a saleman.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Secret Handshakes, Treehouses and My First Day of Kindergarten

When I was about to 4 years and 11 months old, my family moved from Kansas to Ohio.  I was devastated, because my birthday was in ONE MONTH and I wasn't going to have any friends to invite to my party (Note: I don't think I actually cared about having friends per se, but I just knew that birthday parties were supposed to be lots of kids).   I was so devastated.  My little 4 year old world was ruined.

I've heard different versions of the story, but Michelle Bruno either invited herself to my party, or was coaxed by our mothers to be nice to me- but either way she showed up at my 5th birthday party, and we were pretty much inseperable from that point on.  We made up secret handshakes with a million different meanings- "Best friends", "I'll never tell your secret",  "I was a jerk and I'm sorry".  We climbed a tree that we thought was a pirate ship.  We had a secret club, whose sole purpose was to be as cool as our older sisters who had their own secret club. We had sleepovers, but we didn't play 'house'-  we played 'Russian immigrants' (what?!).  We went to camp together and told semi-scary ghost stories.  We ended up in Chicago together for college and shared a whole different kind of secrets and stories and games.

First day of kindergarten

Together again in college

Visiting me in Boston at Fenway
Anyway, recently-renamed Mrs. DiFranco, is my favorite person in the world.  I love that EVERY memory from my childhood has her in it.  I love that we are still as thick as thieves, and I love that I got to stand up next to her last weekend as she married her new best friend. She got married this past weekend, and it was the most BEAUTIFUL wedding ever!!   Here's my favorite picture from the night, and there's more in the slideshow in my last post

Monday, October 11, 2010

Wedding Pictures


Friday, October 1, 2010

Running Gear

I'm running a lot now. 430 miles so far, according to my little marathon tracker over there ------->
It's strange to realize that probably 400 of those 430 miles have been around the same 4 mile loop by my house.  What can I say- I'm a creature of habit.  But I've got some cool toys that make running super fun!!  Here are my favorites; check them out!!

1980's style wrist sweatbands
that used to be white

Waterbottle that straps on my hand

Garmin running watch,
which usually just tells me
that I'm still slow.  O well. 
iPhone- I LOVE Pandora
for running music