Wednesday, March 19, 2008


For the first time in my entire third year of medical school, I can't fall asleep. This is so disturbing I might have to call a... doctor?

In any case, I'll take this opportunity to write this post I've had brewing in my head for a day or so.
In case it's been confusing (in my other blog) as to what rotation I'm actually on right now, let me clear things up: I'm just finishing with internal medicine, which I've been on since returning from winter break. Internal medicine is a 12-week rotation, but 2 weeks of that is vacation. My vacation happens to be the last two weeks of the entire rotation, namely, last week and this week. Only instead of taking vacation, I chose to do a Career Exploration Elective, wherein I do a -- you guessed it -- elective to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. So that's why I've been talking about Ob/Gyn recently; I'm shadowing in the REI clinic.

Except they were extra nice to me (or had trouble finding people for me to shadow), and I only had to work 4 half-days last week, and only 2 half-days this week. So I'm kind of still on vacation. And next week, I'm really on vacation -- spring break.

The only problem with all of this pseudo-vacation? I have my internal medicine final this Friday. So this is what my brain has been doing the last week and a half:

Need to study.
Wedding planning!
Need to study.
Wedding planning!
Need to study.
Wedding planning!
Little bit of actual studying.
More wedding planning!

It's quite frustrating on all fronts. I've probably been more productive at wedding planning, so I figured I might as well show off the fruits of my labor.

Back in September, a Weddingbee blogger wrote about these floral puppies, and I thought a floral puppy in a basket would be an adorable thing for our flower girl to carry:

Last month, Eric bought me some flowers when he came to visit (awww), and when they were finally ready to be thrown out, I salvaged some of the poms and did a little proof-of-concept experiment to see if I could pull this puppy (haha) off on my own:
I stuck the flowers in a pot of dirt and used buttons for the eyes and nose. It's not half-bad, if I do say so myself. Needs to be fleshed out a little, but it definitely looks dog-ish, and I'm sure with a fresh bunch of poms it will turn out great. How exciting! (OK, I actually did this a few weeks ago, so it didn't contribute to my non-studying directly.)

I spent one evening this weekend practicing my penmanship in preparation for the invitations we'll be sending out ONE YEAR FROM NOW (had to point out my craziness there):
When I was little, my mom made me practice my cursive as at-home homework. I had a bunch of those copy books where you would trace the letter a couple times, then there would be blank spaces for you to write your own. She wouldn't let me write my own letters, though, and instead made me trace the pre-printed ones over and over and over again. I used to throw fits about this, saying that the blank spaces were there for me to use, but her reasoning was that there was no sense trying it on your own if you couldn't trace the perfect one perfectly. (This is how Chinese children learn to write characters, by the way. Trace, trace, trace. Because if you mess it up, you create a whole new character.) I've always been a doodler in school, and by the time I got to middle school I doodled three things: hearts (who didn't), flowers (I drew a pretty flower that my friend Kim was jealous of), and the alphabet. I would write out the alphabet over and over and over again (the first sign of me turning into my mother -- ack!). In seventh grade, I changed the way I made my cursive upper-case "F" after an extensive doodling session in civics class (why I remember this, I'm not sure).

In any case, all that practice has paid off, and I get lots of compliments on my penmanship at work. And while a compliment on penmanship in the medical field isn't all THAT exciting, since most doctors have chicken scratch that is absolutely illegible, I won't look that compliment-bearing gift horse in the mouth. So if there's one time in my life that it would be semi-normal for me to show off my pretty penmanship, it's when we send out wedding invitations. So I'm going to buy a calligraphy marker and calligraph my heart out.

Here's a sample invitation with my chosen "hand" (that's actually the term for a handwritten font):
Also not half-bad, huh? Since etiquette apparently frowns on computer-printed envelopes and calligraphers charge an arm and a leg (prices start at $2 per envelope on Etsy), I might as well do it myself if I can, no?

The other thing that's been percolating around in my head recently is growing mint. My initial idea was to grow little pots of mint and use them as our wedding favor. Mint is related to Louisville via mint juleps, and I have a secret crush on the wedding pun "Holly and Eric, mint to be" even though all those puns are super-cheesy. Plus it's super-eco-friendly and not something that's going to gather dust in a drawer. Even if you throw away my pot of mint, it will decompose nicely, and the pot is recyclable. This is my third spring in a row planting herb seeds for my window box (I always have basil and some combination of flat-leaf parsley, oregano, thyme, rosemary, and cilantro), but I have never been able to grow mint. A while back I heard that mint, while notorious for spreading like wildfire once rooted, can be difficult to grow from seed. Nevertheless, I tried again.

My six little peat pellets, 15 days ago.

And here they are today, looking pretty much the same. There's some faint green fuzz on a couple of them, but it might be mold, to tell you the truth.

So all of that led me to the internet. It turns out this grower sells 16 varieties of mint -- I never knew there were so many kinds! Pineapple mint, chocolate mint (reminiscent of an Andes chocolate, they say!), apple mint, and ... Kentucky Colonel mint, perfect for mint juleps! Ding ding ding! We have a winner. So if these seeds don't sprout by the time I get back from spring break, then I'm going to buy myself a pot of KY Col. mint and start rooting cuttings into 100 3" plastic green pots. Good thing I have a year to do this. The only problem I foresee is that mint, being related to catnip, is very pleasing to kitties. Good thing they're spending a good chunk of next year on the east coast, then.

One of the small green pots. It's 3" in diameter and 2.5" high -- in other words, small. Only 5 cents from the local plant store! The brown pot is a 2" diameter biodegradable pot, which is even more eco-friendly, but it's meant for starting seedlings and then being buried in the ground, so I don't think it would last a year of waterings. If I can actually succeed in making 100 favors for a total of $20.00 ($5 for the pots, $5 for the mother mint plant, $10 for assorted other things like a bag of dirt and something to make the pots pretty), that might be a world record. The only thing still nagging at me: should I arrange the mint pots in the center of each table as a big, green, minty centerpiece to be deconstructed as the guests leave, or just leave them as favors on the table and use floral centerpieces? The floral centerpieces would be DIY, FYI.

Next up are my wine corks. Ever since we moved into our apartment, we've been saving our wine (and champagne) corks, for an unknown reason. After we got engaged, I decided we were saving them to use in the wedding somehow. I also have my brother (who has been working part-time at a liquor store for some extra cash) saving corks from the wine tastings they do at his store, and my friends David and Amy saving theirs from the many bottles they drink (not that they're alcoholics). A couple months ago I decided I would make a bulletin board out of them, and pin our escort cards to them. Easy to do, problem solved. It doesn't exactly match the venue, per se -- it's not like we're getting married at a vineyard, but it's not like I care about things like that, either. Anyway, this weekend I saw an even better idea on Style Me Pretty:
It's kind of hard to tell, but the description said, "Upon entering the reception, there was a tray that I had made with old wine corks with little escort cards tucked in it." Ding ding ding! Another winner. This solves the one nagging problem I had with the bulletin board idea: I wasn't sure how, exactly, it was going to be hung up. But there will definitely be a table in the entry area at the reception where a cork tray can go. Another problem solved!

I don't even know how this happened anymore, but I also set up part of our wedding registry over the weekend. Well, I know why I had the idea, but I really don't know how I actually allowed myself to spend so much time on this non-studying project. I had the idea because Etsy's Storque feature is having a Handmade Wedding Series, and one of the posts this weekend was about custom registry websites. Thank goodness! I've been trying to come up with a way to register at stores that don't have registries and this is the perfect solution! I tried out Wist, but while it allows you to make a "web-list" it doesn't have a registry function that indicates if something has been purchased. So I ended up going with, and once I had set it up, I just sort of started adding things... and more things... and thus the registry was born. There are so many awesome things out there that just aren't available at Target, Macy's, or Bed Bath and Beyond (or, like most things, they are available for less money on the wonderful internet). But don't worry, we'll be setting up some store registries as well. Because I just can't register for towels without putting my hands on the towels to feel them first. And in case you go snooping, we're not going to un-password protect our online registry quite yet, because it's nowhere near finished... and there's still plenty of time for you to buy us a present, so just have patience, little grasshopper.

Today I spent an embarrassing chunk of time looking through ceremony readings (completely Lauren's fault!), which led, oddly enough, to an idea for my graduation speech next year. Seeing as how graduation speech --> graduation --> medical school --> sort of relates to studying (suuuuuure it does, Holly), I allowed it. I'm quite excited by this speech idea, but as graduation is also a year away, there's no sense in spilling the beans quite yet. Plus there's still this year's graduation to attend, and I want to see what the graduating class president has to say. Last year's speech was horrendously long, and the one before that was nice, but unremarkable. I have high hopes for this year's class president, though.

Well, that's the end of today's session of "How I spent my time not studying." Tune in next time (I promise, there will be a next time) for more!


Lauren said...

You have such beautiful handwriting!! I took calligraphy every summer for about 5 years, so I'm hoping some of that will come back to me. The hardest part of me is spacing out names on envelopes!

I do know that the correct way to hold the calligraphy pen is such that when you're making a capital "A" the left side is a thin line, and the right side is the thick line. Thats my calligraphy tip for the day!

ami @ elizabeth anne designs said...

your handwriting is absolutely fantastic! so good that actually, i'm jealous. :) you're so lucky that you don't have to pay someone to write your envelopes!

hwong14 said...

Thanks, Ami! My mother will be very happy to hear that :) Seriously, though, I've created an addiction -- I've been practicing my penmanship even more in every single lecture I don't pay attention in, and a few weeks ago I went out and bought a calligraphy marker to start playing with. It's so much fun, I cannot wait to address those invitations!