Category Archives: Sarah

Happy Belated Fathers Day!

Sarah: We have apparently been busy and just realized that we haven’t posted in over a month! Since that time included our dad’s birthday AND Father’s Day, it seems that an appropriate first post back would be a tribute to the eponymous “Mister” of our blog. (Penned the 21st(ish) of June)

 

Meghan: Aaaaaaaaand over a month later, we will try this again…

 

Like Sarah was saying, our dad. People who know our dad would probably all describe him differently because he is part goofball and part most serious worker on the planet, as well as part sentimental and part WHO CARES.

Here is a picture of Daddy, Meghan, Granddad, and Uncle Steve deer hunting, one of our dad's favorite things in the world, which Meghan also inherited a love for.
Here is a picture of Daddy, Meghan, Granddad, and Uncle Steve deer hunting, one of our dad’s favorite things in the world, which Meghan also inherited a love for.
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Also demonstrating his masterful rock-fishing skills

 

Sarah: PERFECT description. Looking back through old pictures, his birthday pics always involve him wearing something as a hat that’s not really a hat, and posing in a crazy fashion (i.e., with a huge ball of used duct tape stuck to his face). Unfortunately for our mom, I think that’s one trait Meghan and I both inherited from him. I remember plenty of occasions when mom wanted a “nice” picture but would end up yelling “can ANY of you just be NORMAL when the camera is on you??!!??”.

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The many faces of Joe Labuda receiving gifts and hamming it up for the camera. He also doesn’t like cake (WHO doesn’t like cake??!?) and only eats banana pudding for his birthday.

 

Meghan: Daddy is definitely where Sarah and I get our sense of humor. In high school, our Sunday evenings revolved around us watching The Simpsons with our dad, and we would all laugh together and sing “Mr. Plow”. It was great bonding time. It still horrifies our mom that such filth was enjoyed by her husband and children, but we turned out okay, so whatever.

 

Sarah: Dad’s taste in comedy (The Simpsons) and sci-fi/fantasy (Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Harry Potter) were all very influential for me growing up. I turned into more of a nerd than Meghan, but we watched these creepy weird anime versions of The Hobbit and Return of the King together with dad so she got at least a small amount of the ingrained nerdiness, even if she hides it well sometimes.

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The late 80s/early 90s were TERRIBLE for my hair!

Meghan: No, I didn’t get sucked into the nerd movie vortex quite like Sarah did, but those books, especially The Hobbit, are probably my fondest childhood memory. I still remember sitting on Daddy’s lap while he read us a paperback copy of The Hobbit before bedtime (no picture books for us…he also read us Summer of the Monkeys when I was probably 6 or 7), and his big coffee table illustrated version was an obsession of ours.

 

A few years ago, I taught 8th grade in a district that used The Hobbit as one of their required readings for that grade level, and I’m pretty sure I scared my students with my enthusiasm for that book. I just had such positive associations with the story. I know that our dad’s sewing the seeds of a love of reading in us at an early age is what ultimately led me to love teaching reading and being a librarian. And obviously to Sarah’s geekdom. And, as I type this, my six-year-old son is humming the Imperial March from Star Wars. Not joking. So I guess it’s hereditary.

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Sarah’s First Communion, 1988-ish

Sarah: Dad is also a former firefighter and fire safety engineer by trade, so we grew up with the utmost in fire safety training. I’ll never forget the 4th of July always having dad supply a bucket of water for our sparklers to be dunked into IMMEDIATELY after use, and Meghan and I had to go collect all of the used fireworks from throughout the neighborhood each year on July 5th.

 

Once, I was on the phone with my mom while I was in college, and she suddenly burst out with, “Oh my, Joe Labuda is in the backyard in full bunker gear with a water hose burning the brush pile!”. FYI, when living in the country it is normal to burn your own brush, but *not* usually while wearing full firefighter gear.

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Dad’s surprise 50th birthday party in our backyard in Van Vleck, TX. Good times were had by all!

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Dad with cousin and siblings at his 50th

I’ve moved approximately 18 times since graduating from high school, so each time I find a new apartment I call mom to tell her about the kitchen and flooring, then she hands the phone to dad so I can tell him about the sprinkler system, carbon monoxide and smoke detectors, and accessibility of fire extinguishers.

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Dad at the first responders memorial at Ground Zero in NYC in 2003. Though he doesn’t work in a firehouse any more, he still feels a strong kinship with all first responders, especially firefighters.

Meghan: I still feel like I’m sinning if I burn a candle. They were always off limits in our house. I remember going to friends’ apartments in college and they would have a candle burning, and I would be so nervous because a paper 5 feet away could be ignited by a spark or something.

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Family vacation with Meghan rocking a sweet fanny pack

Sarah: Burning candles has always felt like a huge act of rebellion, for sure!

 

Dad is also, as Meghan said at the beginning, one of the hardest working people I’ve ever known. His dad, our Granddad Labuda, was in the military in World War II and then an electrician, so dad learned from him both how to do electrical work as well as how to be CHEAP. He jokingly refers to himself as a “cheap Czech” because of his unwillingness to pay anyone for something he thinks he can do or make himself.

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Dad’s squad at his 50th

Meghan: When our Granddad moved out of the house he’d lived in 50+ years, we (Sarah, Daddy, Roye, and I) helped clean out his garage, which was FULL of odds and ends that Granddad couldn’t part with because they might be useful some day, such as 14 fan belts in various conditions hanging from the rafters, as well as a cast iron bathtub that almost killed Daddy and Roye. Our dad doesn’t necessarily have a fan belt problem (yet), but he definitely inherited the inability to throw things away. Yippee.

 

I guess I can’t really complain too much, because I do see some of the cheap Czech-ness in me; I follow our dad’s method of driving a vehicle until it literally falls apart, and then continuing to drive it until you have to pay someone to take it from you because no car is worth the money you have to pay a dealership and it’s all a scam, damnit. (Side note: Last week, one of the windows in my car, which has never been able to roll down due to the gremlins in my door, randomly fell down while I was driving the boys home from a friends’ house. The 100-degree air blasting in the car was glorious. Roye literally took off the door panel and rigged my window to stay up using a rope I made from aluminum foil. Us for the win. For now, at least.)

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On the beach in Florida on spring break vacation in high school

Sarah: After being Dad’s “assistant” for all sorts of fun projects growing up, I was able to breeze through my Ag classes in high school. I knew how to use power tools, how to stick my arm up through a hole in the sheetrock in a wall while someone (dad) fed down wires while putting in a new outlet, and plenty of other home-improvement projects that involved our free child labor to complete. Once, Meghan and I had to stand in the bed of dad’s truck in the garage holding the garage door opener track over our heads up to the ceiling while dad installed it. That one ended in tears, but no injuries (that I recall, at least).

 

Meghan: It’s funny. Dad’s such a safety freak, but his cheapness definitely wins in most cases. Such as the lawnmower of our youth…

 

Sarah: Ah, that darned lawnmower…

 

I will start by fully admitting my fault and that I deserved the punishment I was dealt. I had always been a hyperactive kid and after breaking 2 clarinet mouthpieces in my sophomore year of high school because I was twirling my clarinet like a baton, my parents made me mow the lawn all summer to pay them back.

 

Not with the nice riding lawnmower, though. With the push lawnmower that was older than me, only had 2 wheels that touched the ground, and had an engine that could only be turned off by REACHING INTO THE RUNNING MOTOR and disconnecting the spark plugs, which he had helpfully labeled. So that goes with dad’s cheap side.

 

To account for safety, though, he made me wear safety goggles, ear plugs, and closed-toed shoes while maneuvering this beast around the yard. And remember how we grew up “in the country”? Since we lived in one of very few “neighborhoods” in our area, ALL of my friends drove by all summer and were able to witness me *safely* mowing the lawn with an ancient, decrepit lawnmower. For a 16 year old girl, there could be little better form of public humiliation.

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The “picture trees” in our front yard, under which I spent that fateful summer mowing. And apparently we didn’t require shoes but Mom and Dad did?

Meghan: Aww, memories.

 

Back to our dad’s work ethic, though. He has not only taught but SHOWN Sarah and me what it means to work and help people.

 

Sarah: Even when it panicked and/or terrified our mom. Like when he picked up hitchhikers, or would stop to change flat tires for people on the side of the road.

 

Meghan: He’s the type who can’t tell anyone no (Sarah and I inherited that one, too), and he’s served on school boards and many church committees, organized fundraisers, etc. all while being dedicated to his demanding engineering career and keeping his family his first priority.

 

Sarah: We are SO lucky to have him as our loving, funny, generous, nerdy, stubborn, cheap, AMAZING dad!
We love you, Daddy!!

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The Labuda Family circa 1985

We Heart Our Momma!!

Sarah: Meghan and I have learned a LOT from our momma. Growing up, she taught us to be self-sufficient in life so that we could cook, clean, do our own laundry, and balance our checkbook (even though I generally refused to do it). I guess I thought there were times that she was tough, but when I moved to college and lived on my own for the first time I realized how lucky I truly was!!

Our mom LITERALLY cried when Meghan made these for the baby’s first birthday last year, because she didn’t think she would ever use her baking skills! (Or something like that?)

Meghan: Yes! Knowing to separate my whites and maroons so that I didn’t end up with a bunch of pinks was a big deal as a college freshman at A&M.

 

But in all seriousness, our mom deserves major accolades for dealing with Sarah and me, especially during our lovely teen years. It’s possible we weren’t the worst, but we definitely weren’t the best. I’m just glad I have boys and don’t have to potentially get payback in the form of raising a teenage Meghan.

One of the ways our mom made a huge impact on my life is her being a teacher. I always LOVED helping her in her classroom, and I can remember dressing up as a teacher for career day in kindergarten. I guess it stuck, or at least I wasn’t good at anything else, because fast-forward to now, and I’m a teacher (although currently staying home) and am so thankful for the opportunities I had to learn the ropes as I grew up and throughout my teacher training. But now I TOTALLY understand why she was always so eager to let me decorate her classroom at the beginning of every year. I need one of my kids to hurry up and be old enough to do it for me.

 

Cheers to all of the hardworking teachers out there!
Cheers to all of the hardworking teachers out there!

Sarah: Agreed – dealing with 2 teenaged girls like us should qualify her for sainthood!  

 

It may seem silly now, but one of the things I know our mom taught us that many people may have missed out on is canning our own foods. I learned not just to cook meals, but to bake (my favorite!) and make homemade pickles, jellies, and jams. It seemed like the HARDEST THING IN THE WORLD as a child, but Meghan and I actually CHOSE to can our own items a year or so ago and it was actually fun! I guess this just shows that she has some pretty cool skills and tricks up her sleeve, and she was awesome enough to want to pass them down to us.

 

HOWEVER – one of those skills I never took to was sewing. She tried to teach me to cross-stitch once, and even as a young child I had zero tolerance for it. I remember years later, in high school, finding the remains of a teddy bear cross stitching project thrown in the back corner of my closet, where I’d banished it when I lost my cool!!

 

Meghan: If Sarah has zero tolerance for sewing, I have negative eleventy billion. I beyond suck at it, and I have no patience for skills that I have no hope of improving on. It’s one of my more pleasant qualities.

 

One thing I NEVER understood when we were growing up was how Momma would get Sarah and me mixed up all the time. She was called Meghan and I was called Sarah. Or Maxine, the cat, or Aggie, the dog, or Joe, our dad. We were always like, “There are only two of us! How can that be so hard?!” Even until just a couple of years ago, Sarah and I gave Momma the hardest time over that. But I must beg forgiveness now and admit that it wasn’t Momma’s fault at all. It’s all our fault. That’s what kids do to you. They destroy your brain to the point that you can’t even recall the names you meticulously chose for them as you lugged them around in your body for 9 months. I’m sorry, Momma.

NOW try guessing which one is which!
NOW try guessing which one is which!

Sarah: Yeah, I got pretty used to responding to the calls of “SarahMeghanJoeWhoeverYouAreComeHere” growing up, and now – even without having kids of my own – I feel more understanding about the stress that we were for her to deal with!!

 

Like you said earlier, Meghan, one of mom’s biggest influences on me was through education, but more in the way she taught me to always work my hardest and helped me through stressful times. She was my first “study buddy” in school, and when I took Anatomy and Physiology in high school and it was the most insanely hard class I’d ever taken to that point, she would stay up to help review with me before tests. She would always be there to proofread papers (even to this day!) due to her expertise as a middle school teacher, and she and dad had the motto that’s always kept me pushing myself in my academic life. No matter how well or how badly something was going for me, they would say, “As long as you did your best, that’s all that we can ask of you”. This has kept me motivated to never half-ass anything, because I know that truly she (and dad) have worked their entire lives to give us the best possible opportunities in life, and I owe to it her to always try my hardest!

 

Meghan: ^^TRUTH. I’ve found myself telling my sons the same thing already about doing their best, and I’m so thankful they drilled that into us so much that it comes naturally as a parenting philosophy for me, too.

 

As awesome as our mom is, we wouldn’t be giving the whole picture without talking about her forgetfulness. Or misplacingness maybe is more like it. Keys, phone, COFFEE CUP. My whole life, her coffee cups have hidden from her. Once again, I think it’s a case of being a mom and having too much on her mind already to be able to recall something as menial as the location of a beverage, but still, I feel like she has spent more time looking for coffee cups and then having to reheat the coffee than actually drinking the coffee.

 

I recently found one of mom’s infamous MIA coffee cups in a microwave that hadn’t been used in over a month. So, in other words, she had reheated her coffee, forgotten it was in the microwave, and left the house with the coffee waiting for her all alone. When I found it, I learned that over time, coffee turns rather gelatinous and grows pretty fur.

Momma's coffee cup

You can pretend those are marshmallows.

 

Sarah: EWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!

 

I definitely remember the morning ritual of getting dressed, eating breakfast, and then searching the closets, freezer, etc for momma’s coffee cup growing up.

Mom taught us life skills, supported our education, drove us endlessly to dance/sports/cheer/whatever practices/games/competitions/meets, set an example of morality and empathy in dealing with others, and was a true example of dedication and love for me growing up through to this day.

Momma modeling a fascinator in Cambridge, England
Momma modeling a fascinator in Cambridge, England

 

WE LOVE YOU, MOMMA!!

Growing Up Country

It came as a sudden, shocking realization to me at about the age of 27ish that my family and I are rednecks. We are educated country-folk, but we remain country-folk all the same.  Meghan and I grew up in a tiny town in southeast Texas with a population of about 1000 – but no one knows for sure, since there’s no population sign. There’s currently 1 stoplight and 2 gas stations that make up the entire metropolis of Van Vleck, Texas, so there’s a reason we are the way that we are!

I caught this baby armadillo in my parents' neighbor's yard back in Van Vleck while I was in residency. It didn't seem like a big deal at the time, and yes, the armadillo is alive in this picture!
I caught this baby armadillo in my parents’ neighbor’s yard back in Van Vleck while I was in pediatric residency training. It didn’t seem like a big deal at the time, and yes, the armadillo is alive in this picture!

I knew while listening to Jeff Foxworthy’s “You Know You’re a Redneck” jokes growing up that we were part of the target audience. Yes, we had the set of salad bowls that were actually old Cool Whip containers. Yes, I have seen the working TV sitting on top of the non-working TV. But it didn’t register until I was in my pediatric residency training and had gone home for Thanksgiving, when my sister was 27 weeks pregnant, wearing a beer t-shirt, and we were out at the shooting range to celebrate the holiday, that I had my A-HA moment!

 

Of course, there should have been other signs that tipped me off. We grew up *technically* in a neighborhood, but right on the border of a large area of private land with lots of cows. We learned from a young age the protocol for who is required to open and close gates when driving onto private property (duty of the person riding shotgun, always), how to get through a barbed wire fence without making contact (it’s a 2-person job), and how to shoot BB guns by using shaken-up cans of Coke in our backyard for target practice (makes for some interesting, sugary pyrotechnics!).

 

Meghan and I were roommates during my first 2 years of medical school and her sophomore-junior years of undergrad, and during that time we were homeowners. Of a trailer. I’m the only trailer park doctor that I know of in practice! I feel like that’s a special attribute that should be listed on my CV in some way.

This is one of our joint birthday celebrations in the trailer park. I am wearing ALL of my presents at once, and in an effort to be fair, our mom got us EACH a 1/4 sheet birthday cake. We both like yellow cake with chocolate icing, and our birthdays are 2 days apart - so we had 2 whole cakes!
This is one of our joint birthday celebrations in the trailer park. I am wearing ALL of my presents at once, and in an effort to be fair, our mom got us EACH a 1/4 sheet birthday cake. We both like yellow cake with chocolate icing, and our birthdays are 2 days apart – so we had 2 whole cakes!

It was a little surprising to me in college when I told a friend about this upbringing. She told me she would have NEVER guessed that I was a country kid, because I didn’t seem like it! She didn’t see me growing up, running barefoot in the gravel streets, climbing trees, trespassing – innocently – to explore the old cemetery hidden in a grove of trees near our house. I think she associated “country” with “ignorant”, which is very sad to me. Rural living is definitely something I aspire to experiencing again one day.

 

We weren’t the kind of country kids who had never left our home town, and were lucky to have parents devoted to making sure we had 1 out-of-state trip each year – but this usually entailed camping, so our worldliness was often tempered by experiencing the country aspects of other states!

 

I’m very proud of my upbringing and experiences, and wouldn’t trade them for anything. Meghan and her kiddos came to visit me in the New Orleans area recently, and packing a family of 5 up and getting out of my 3rd floor apartment any time we were going somewhere was an incredible ordeal. I haven’t lived in our small Texas town in 18 years, but I still can’t truly grasp the mechanics how childhood works in a city! I’m so thankful for the small town, the gravel roads, the barbed wire fences, and the lack of shoes that I grew up with, and I know Meghan feels the same way.

 

Even though I’ve lived in cities since going to college (though my friends who moved to College Station from Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio might beg to differ with my definition of a “city”), I have found that I have to regularly make an escape to open space on a regular basis to maintain my sanity. The convenience and excitement and entertainment factor of living in a larger community definitely has its perks, but my soul will always have a longing for open spaces and country roads.

 

Meghan says:

FYI–My Miller Lite maternity shirt was awesome because I got it for free at a bar in college, and they only had shirts that were about 4 sizes too big for me at the time, which means it was perfect for my pregnancies. Whatever.

But yes, it’s so true that you can take the girl out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the girl. While I do enjoy visiting cities and seeing how THOSE PEOPLE live, I am way too country at heart to ever think I could survive living like that. I’ve lived in bigger towns for a while now, and I can’t wait until we can buy some land to live on, and our boys can pee/run around naked outside without having issues with neighbors.

I feel like Sarah is a little more refined than I am, probably due to her being a physician and traveling the world and stuff, but when she’s out of the city and at our deer lease in the Texas Hill Country, her country instincts definitely take over, and she’s a hiking, rock-throwing, lawn chair-sitting, beer-drinking, campfire-watching girl like me.

I Hate Mornings: The Story of How I Am Exactly Like Garfield

I hate waking up in the morning. I’ve never gotten better at it. You would think that, being in the field of medicine, I would have gotten used to it at some point – but it just has not happened. There is nothing that my brain loves more than sleeping.

 

Every morning that I have to wake up, it is the worst thing EVER. I have to build snoozing time into my alarm time, since I know myself well enough to know that it will take me at LEAST 30 minutes from the first time the alarm starts going off until I will actually get out of my bed. It’s just a fact of life.

 

When I finally do start to wake up, I stay in bed for a while reading email and news headlines before finally getting up to trudge my way through my morning routine. The hilarious thing is that I have been this way all of my life. From the time I was in 1st or 2nd grade, I had this poster on my wall:

Garfield rise but won't shine
From http://www.ebay.tv/sch/Collectibles-/1/i.html?_sop=15&_nkw=garfield+stickers&_frs=1

This piece of fine art is for sale still to this day, and I think I need a new one for my current residence – to hang right beside all of my diplomas. It just speaks so much truth about me!

Ernest Hemingway sleep quote
From https://www.pinterest.com/pin/372884044118404331/

Ernie got it – I mean, he also was an alcoholic and had severe psychiatric issues, but still…

 

Meghan and I have always gotten along alarmingly well for siblings, but this is one of my weaknesses which she has always been an expert at exploiting. As young children, my parents would send my very excited younger sister to MY bedroom early on Christmas morning when she had awoken to the potential of opening presents, leaving me to yell at her to “Be quiet and go back to sleep!!!” until a more reasonable hour.

 

Once she reached high school, she loved bringing our family dog into my room to stick her nose in my face to wake me up. Eventually, her children replaced the dog as the most noisy and surprising creatures she could sic on me at what I consider to be ungodly hours of the morning.

 

Luckily, I’m now in a more specialized field of medicine which rarely requires my brain to work before 8:30 or 9 AM – which I believe is better for EVERYONE involved in my day!

https://twitter.com/realgrumpycat/status/366973314905825281
https://twitter.com/realgrumpycat/status/366973314905825281

Apparently, cats are the standard grouchy-meme animal.

Meghan’s Word

Once again, this is a time where Sarah and I are total opposites. I have NEVER been able to sleep late. Even in college, after a night out, I would still be awake around 8 or 9, cursing my inability to hibernate like normal people. Yet Sarah could sleep until 1 or 2 p.m. every day if left undisturbed. Not fair.

If I lie in bed for 15 minutes after I wake up, I start getting antsy, so the whole idea of relaxing in bed is wasted on me. So these days, with the little people waking up and demanding food and such, I voluntarily get up at 5 most mornings to run and get my day started on my own terms, rather than waking up to screeches from the baby monitor. I hear one day my children will be teenagers and want to do nothing but sleep, so here’s hoping we all reach that point at the same time.

My Current Music Obsessions

Listen to these fun jams while going about your day – you will be better for it!

I always need a catchy soundtrack to keep myself motivated, especially when I’m doing something like writing a research protocol or grant application, trying to motivate myself to go for a run, or simply vacuuming the house. I’m loving the great soul and old-school-ish R&B music that’s having a moment right now, so here are some of my current faves (with the caveat that the 3 of 4 below that I have seen live were MUCH better live than on studio recording):

 

Alabama Shakes – NBD, but I saw them live before their first album came out in 2012, and Brittany Howard is my spirit animal. Now that they have won 4 Grammys, I’m excited for more people to hopefully hear them, though I think my peak experience of their music will have been seeing them in a small club in Baltimore.

Brittany Howard Alabama Shakes

Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats – I saw them live at Tipitina’s in NOLA last year and did SO MUCH DANCING. They have the catchiest song about alcoholism that you could ever want to jam out to.

Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats Tipitina's

Leon Bridges – Accidentally crashed a wedding in Stanley Park in Vancouver last fall and they played “Coming Home” at the end. That’s when I knew those crazy kids just might make it, because I approved of the song!

 

(I don’t have a picture to go along with this story/artist, because as much as I wanted to, it felt creepy to sneak around and take pictures of someone else’s wedding!)

 

St Paul and the Broken Bones – I saw them live twice in 6 months last year, once including a cameo with Chef Emeril Lagasse on guest snare drum. Put on your boogie shoes and listen to Paul and the boys wail!

St Paul and the Broken Bones Emeril

Not sure why Emeril looks purple…

 

What music do you listen to for motivation or to keep your day fun? I’m always looking for new bands to enjoy!

 

Meghan’s Word
Sarah clearly wins the music fanatic of the century award, as far as I’m concerned. She lives for music and can’t handle driving for more than one second with a commercial or song she’s not into on the radio. Lucky for me, there’s usually too much screaming going on from the three carseats in the back to be able to tell if a crappy song or commercial is on the radio. If only Sarah had musical talent, she would totally be a rock star. Until then, she could definitely be a backup dancer.

On Being a Scatter-Brained Multitasker

I’ve managed to get pretty far in life – 2 graduate degrees, sub-specialty medical training, generally functioning as an adult at most required times – while I’m pretty sure the inside of my head looks something like this:

 

Credit to AP Photo/Jacob Harris, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/davidewalt/2011/10/11/albert-einstein-office-desk/#3b3436d768a8. Albert Einstein's desk. Not that I'm comparing myself to him on an academic level - Physics is the only class in college that I had to pay for tutoring in order to get my A as an overachieving premed student!
Credit to AP Photo/Jacob Harris, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/davidewalt/2011/10/11/albert-einstein-office-desk/#3b3436d768a8. Albert Einstein’s desk. Not that I’m comparing myself to him on an academic level – Physics is the only class in college that I had to pay for tutoring in order to get my A as an overachieving premed student!

I used to always drive my parents crazy when I was growing up because I did not appear to be really focused on what I was reading or studying, while also blaring rock music and hanging upside down off of the side of my bed (true story). Or the TV was on, or a zillion other supposed distractions were existing in my study environment.

Once, in college, my sister and I tried to study near each other – but I ended up crawling on top of the chair I was sitting in and crouching while reading, driving my much more structured sister NUTS. Needless to say, we did not study together after that.

When I was just starting medical school, one of the activities we participated in to help direct us in our future studies was undertake the Myers-Briggs personality test. This was actually very illuminating for me, because I realized there were structural reasons I studied the way that I did.

My personality type includes certain characteristics like needing to be alone around people, a hatred of monotony and routine, and difficulty with focusing on just one thing at times. This translates in to the fact that I currently have 12 internet browser tabs open with multiple simultaneous tasks going on, while also listening to an audiobook and doing laundry; it also explains my hatred of studying in libraries and tendency toward over-committing myself at times because there are so many things that I am interested in doing!

The good thing that seems to go along with this is that people with messy desks are more creative, apparently! So, if you ever see me watching TV while listening to music, drinking wine, and surrounded by piles of papers, I might actually be in one of my most productive moments!

 

Meghan’s Word

I have not and never will understand Sarah’s ability to learn ANYTHING in her preferred study environments. I’m the type who must have complete silence, numbered to-do lists, and prioritized stacks of papers. If the fluorescent light above me is buzzing even slightly, you can forget it. None of that matters any more, because my brain is basically devoid of its ability to learn academic knowledge, as evidenced below.

brain with three kids
http://www.fromtheleftfield.com/running-the-gauntlet-of-three/

 

First Post!

Meghan and I are very lucky. We are sisters born almost exactly 3 years apart, and despite almost sharing a birthday, and a significant portion of our DNA, we are very different people.

Venn diagram

 

We never had to compete for our parents’ attention, because they were adamantly 50/50 devoted to our upbringing and equally over-involved in everything we did. Besides the time our grandpa was sick with cancer, they never missed a game, performance, meet, or competition in which either of us participated. This allows us to easily maintain distinct identities within our lives while simultaneously being the best of friends and understanding each other better than almost anyone else on earth could.

Two of our overlapping interests are reading and writing, and though we also generally share a sense of humor and appreciation for sarcasm, our lists of favorite authors and books have no common elements. We were raised by a sci-fi and fantasy loving father who read us “The Hobbit” from the earliest times of our childhood, and a middle school English teaching mother who read us “Summer of the Monkeys” by Wilson Rawls a chapter at a time before bed in elementary school. We also always loved English classes all through school, and competed in Ready Writing at the district UIL scholastic meets each year.

 

We weren't brainwashed by our dad to be Texas Aggies at all
We weren’t brainwashed by our dad to be Texas Aggies at all

Somewhere along the way, “adulting” has taken away much of the time we used to devote to these pursuits, and we decided to take back the control. By consciously making the priority to read and write each day, we hope to take time for ourselves to strengthen our own sanity in our daily lives, as well as share with others the things that make us laugh, or cry, or reconsider the world in some way. Thanks for joining us on this journey, and be sure to subscribe and follow us for updates in the sidebar or on the Follow Us page!