Thursday, June 28, 2012

Our New Baby

Okay, that may be a little dramatic.  It's just a car.  
A silver 1999 Mazda Miata.

Why, you ask?

Well... basically because James needs a commuter vehicle and the motorcycle isn't cutting it.

 So last Friday James proposed the idea of selling the motorcycle and buying a small vehicle for commuting.  He thought a Miata would be fun.  Less than a week later we have one.  

The motorcycle is up for sale.  We have someone coming to look at it tomorrow and if that doesn't work out, there's a guy who wants to buy it the next day. 

If you want to know any real information about the car you'll have to ask James.  I don't know anything about it except that it has tan leather interior, tan soft top with glass rear window, low miles, been garaged it's entire life, new tires, Bose sound system.  What else?

Oh, I know the kids love it!

We had about a half hour drive to get the car.  On the way back home the kids each got a turn to ride in it.  We had to stop at the half way point to switch kids.  I now have the "uncool" car.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Father, Son Hiking... Again

 James and Logan went hiking again.  This time it was to Elk Mountain. 

 It was steeper than their last hike, but had much better views. 

 There's not too much I can say about it since I wasn't there, but I hear Logan did amazing.  He never complained about anything and he climbed like a mountain goat. 

James gave Logan a little tin and he used it to collect interesting things he found on the hike.  The first thing he did when he got back was show Taylor and I his treasures.

I did suggest that James come up with something he could do with just Taylor.  She's going to complain one of these times.  Hiking's not her thing though.  Her attention span isn't that long. 

She and I went on a bike ride while the guys were off hiking.  She loved that.  She kept saying things like, "Mom, this is the first time you've worn a bike helmet."  And, "I've never seen you ride your bike before!"  And, "I can't believe you're riding your bike with me!"  

Yes, it's been awhile, but come on, you're making me feel bad!  My rear end could only take a few minutes on the bike.  I guess it has been a long time.  

I should ride with the kids more often.  I'll get right on that... just as soon as my bum isn't so sore! 


Friday, June 15, 2012

Back to the Drawing Board

"External Rotations"
Take 2

Well, that was fun... dreaming of all the new places we could go during rotations.  Then we started doing some number crunching. 

Miles to Pennsylvania: 3000
Days to get there: at least 4 
Price of a U-haul: $1500
Price in fuel: $1500
At least 2 nights in a hotel (this is assuming we could stay with family in Utah & CO on the way out): $200 - $300
Food along the way & until we unpack the kitchen: $200 -$300

So just to get to Pennsylvania would cost roughly: $3500
Then of course, we'd have to do it all over again on the way back. 

Miles to Oklahoma: 2000 miles
Days to get there: 3 
Price of a U-haul: $1200

Miles to Colorado: 1300
Days to get there: 2 (we're getting better)
Price of a U-haul: $1200 (the same as going to Oklahoma)
And so on...
And so forth...

Basically, we decided we just couldn't afford to go across the U.S., especially when there are really good rotations much closer to home.  

  So now our map looks like this.

* Salem, Oregon (RED - Indian Health Clinic)
* Eugene, Oregon (BLUE - a group of private practices)
* Roseburg, Oregon (RED - VA Hospital)
*Bandon, Oregon (GREEN - Private practice)

Oregon.  We do still have back up plans if these don't pan out, some of which are in Washington, Utah, and Colorado.  While we won't be traveling the country, we'll still have grand adventures seeing more of our own state.  

There are many advantages to staying in Oregon.  This is where we want to end up.  We love Oregon and want to live here and raise our family here.  If we do all our rotations here, we'll meet lots of optometrists who have practices all over the state.  Hopefully this will open doors and make connections that will result in a job after school and in the end, that's what is most important.  

We'll also get to experience living in some of these areas we might settle in.  We'll already know the area and have a better idea of what parts we'd want to live in. 

Miles from our house to Salem, OR: 50 miles
Days to get there: 1 hour
No hotels
Can drive there to pick out an apartment to live in
Can take all our stuff, no need for storage unit somewhere
Cost of U-haul: $130 (and that's for a truck twice as big as the one we would have taken back east).
No need for a utility trailer to haul the motorcycle

$3500 vs. $130  
Hmmm.  Can't really argue with that.  

So the Internal rotation lottery will start everything off in just a few weeks.  Then we'll know if we will have an internal rotation or not and whether we'll need to go back to the drawing board again or not.

When I explained to Logan that we'd probably be staying in Oregon for our rotations, he whined, "Buuuut, I wanted to travel the wooooorld!"  

This from the kid who hates change and anything new or different.  He was finally up for an adventure.  That's okay.  I think it will be adventure enough, finding a new place to live and moving every 3 months. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

External Rotations

Something we've been looking forward to our entire time in optometry school is 4th year.  Not only is it the last year we'll be doing this, it's also the year James gets to do external rotations or Preceptorships, they're called.  They are mostly external, meaning they are all over the U.S. and Canada, even in Germany and Asia.  There are also some internal rotations, but we'll be trying to avoid those.  

So, Rotations.  It's exciting and dreadful at the same time.  It's complicated and it can be a gamble.  We've been listening to others talk about picking there sites and where everybody ended up and so forth for over 2 years now.  

Finally it's our turn!  We got our list of 113 preceptorship sites, that's not including the internals.  Some of them are right out for us because we're not single or we're not Canadian or we don't speak Korean.  So that helps narrow things down a little bit.  

So what I did was made a list of all the sites we're interested in and just for fun (and to help explain it) I put them all on a map of the U.S. 

It's complicated because there are different kinds of site, represented by different colors.  James has to go to at least one BLUE or Primary Care site, and at least one RED or Ocular Disease site and then there's a GREEN and PURPLE.  He can do just one of those or both if he wants.  Or he can do another Blue or Red instead of the other Green or Purple one he'd be lacking, or he can do an ORANGE, which is an internal rotation.  Like I said, it's complicated.

Internal rotations are the clinics that are in the area and affiliated in some way with Pacific University, I believe.  There are 32 internal spots that have to be filled.  The students can volunteer for those sites, but if not enough people volunteer, than they start randomly choosing people.  

The risk is that if you don't volunteer for an internal you might like, than you could get stuck with one nobody else wanted either.  You could also get stuck with it being a middle rotation.  For example, you move away to do your 1st rotation and then have to move back to Forest Grove for your 2nd rotation and then away again for your 3rd and 4th rotation.  So everyone wants to do their internal as a 1st rotation or not at all.  

There are 4 sessions for rotations, 3 months each.  A few rotations are 2 sessions long or 6 months, but we're not interested in any of them.  What James IS interested in is Ocular Disease.  So we tried to find the sites that will offer the most of that.  

Each site has a page of information that tells us the percentage of Primary Care, Contact Lenses, Ocular Disease, etc. that the practice sees.  It might tell a few other things too, like the days and hours of the clinic or that they will be splitting their time between 2 clinics, or that they will have to present a case study or a paper, etc. 

 So for the BLUE, Primary Care sites, we've narrowed it down to our 5 favorites, in hardly any particular order:
1. Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Landstuhl, Germany.
     (near the border of Germany & France), because Germany would just be way cool!

2. Northeastern Tribal Health in Miami, Oklahoma.  Yes, there really is a Miami, Oklahoma.  It's in the very North East corner of Oklahoma, about 1/2 hour from Missouri.  

3. Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland.  It's basically on the outskirts of Washington D.C.  How amazing would that be.  The kids and I would constantly be gone on field trips.

4. United States Air Force Academy Hospital in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  

5. Eye Care Group in Grants Pass, Oregon.  It's a "teaching clinic,"  whatever that means.  I thought they were all teaching and learning, that's kind of the point.  

So there's our Plan A - E for BLUE, which we're told is a good idea to have.

 For the RED Ocular Disease sites, we like:
1.Lebanon VA Medical Center Eye Clinic in Lebanon,  Pennsylvania (only 1/2 hour from Hersey, PA.  I see more field trips in our future if we end up here). 

2. Ophthalmic Consultants of CT in Fairfield, Connecticut.  

3. Lexington VAMC in Lexington, Kentucky.  

4. Sierra Nevada Health Care System VA in Reno, Nevada.  

5. Lake Havasu City, Arizona. 

And for the GREEN, Other Specialty, we're thinking:
1. Bandon, Oregon.  James would have to work in 2 different clinics, one in Bandon and the other in Coquille.  

2. Riverbend Eye Care in Bend, Oregon.

3. Dixie Eye Care in St. George, Utah.  (Hopefully this one won't be during the summer months, if we ended up here). 

4. Archdale Eyecare in Colorado Springs, Colorado. 

As far as PURPLE OD/MD Co-Mgmt goes, it's mostly surgery.  James isn't interested in doing surgery, so even though we chose a couple of sites (that don't do surgery) we probably won't end up with these:
1. Hoopes Vision in Salt Lake City, Utah 

2. Retina Institute of Hawaii in Honolulu.  (Bummer)!

There are also some sites in Utah that would be great places for James, but Utah is generally very popular.  All the students who are members of the church want to go there.  So we're trying to avoid the Utah sites.  They'll go to lottery and we could lose.  I hope we don't have to lottery too much.  It's so stressful.  If we lose, then we're scrambling to find another place.  

The one thing I've decided though, looking through these sites, is that there are so many good ones.  It was hard to narrow it down to the ones we did choose.  So I think, I hope, that no matter what happens we'll be happy and we'll have a grand adventure and James will gain all the experience he needs.

The whole lottery and selecting process will take a couple of weeks.  Wish us luck!  

 Where do you think we should go?



Monday, June 4, 2012


Logan & James went hiking together Saturday, just the two of them.  James took a few pictures.  Yay!

 Logan loved it!
Apparently it was super steep though.

 He was excited to use his Camelbak. 

Logan says his 3 favorite things about the hike were:
1. He got to be with Dad.

2. There were lots of tree roots to climb around on.

 3. He liked playing on the tree branch. 

They're planning on hiking again soon!

Meanwhile, Taylor and I went on a bike ride/walk.  Taylor rode her bike and I walked & jogged next to her.  That's what I do for exercise, so it wasn't new and exciting or anything.  We had fun though.  

I also cleaned the outside of the refrigerator.  The top, sides, and back behind.  I pulled the whole thing out and scrubbed the floor under the fridge.  (I only found one magnet, one pencil and one Nerf bullet.  Not bad).  I unscrewed the back plate, that covers the fan, and cleaned in there.  

I don't know when that was cleaned last.  It was jam packed with dust.  At least it's clean now and I feel better.  I'm getting in the Spring Cleaning mode and I need to keep it going.

So that was our "fun" Saturday.  At least we ended it with a little picnic outside.  I hope your Saturday was genuinely fun too!