Thursday, June 25, 2009

I <3 The NK

June 25th, 2009 marks the opening of the new Norwood Kroger! While I didn't get up early enough to ride my bike to the Urban Active for an abs work out, I did take a bike ride down Montgomery Ave to the Grand Opening of the Kroger.

It was great seeing all the suites mixing and mingling and showing their support for the Grand Opening. I ran into my pharmacist friend and
Monday night Pub Quiz friend, Casey, handing out first aid kits, and into the Anthony Duo (#1, #2) each enjoying a cookie and a stroll through the store. We caught up over our soon departures from Cincinnati. :-(

I also got an autograph from Marty Brennaman, a Cincinnati Reds announcer.

The Chiquita Banana lady was hanging out in the produce section, and I swear I saw a women on stilts making balloon animals for kids.

Pulling up in my Fuji, I noticed the the NK will be brewing Seattle's Best Coffee (a nice alternative to the Starbucks being served at the HPK). I enjoyed the samples there were on display and running into old friends, and by the end of my trip, I was able to find everything I wanted to make my celery chicken dip.

My only two concerns with the NK are that (#1) I didn't find the bike rack for the store (if there is one, and plus I didn't look to hard), but instead secured my bike to one of the cart returns, and (#2) there's not an actual bank in the NK, bur rather the Kroger Money Store with an ATM that will start charring a transaction free in the next few days.

Otherwise I think the NK will be a big success!

Thanks for reading,


Monday, June 22, 2009

Fallen Princesses

Just an interesting set of photos that I found while searching through the blogosphere via my Google Reader...

"These works place Fairy Tale characters in modern day scenarios. In all of the images the Princess is placed in an environment that articulates her conflict. The '...happily ever after' is replaced with a realistic outcome and addresses current issues."

Thanks for reading,


Would this video be great if it wasn't for the marionettes?

clipped from
Thanks for reading,


blog it

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Five Guys Burger and Fries

After coming across this post from Wine Me, Dine Me in my Google Reader this morning, I got the urge try a new place for burgers. I had spent most of the morning running the OTR 5K, studying for my pediatric boards and answering multiple guess questions - testing my knowledge about the care of babies to adolescents, and pulling down pictures and packing them away in boxes in preparation for my departure from Cincinnati.

The newest location of Five Guys is down in the UC District of Cincinnati, along Calhoun St. I called my dear friend Dr. Elizabeth up and we made a plan to give the Five Guys a try this afternoon.

Overall, I thought the burgers were good. The service was friendly and polite. The place was bustling and bit too loud with background noise for my taste. I would not recommend it as a first date location, but it can make for good alternative for a lunch break if you work in the area.

Lessons learned:
1. There is no need to order the large fries - I wound up taking home a 22 oz cup brimming to the top and over flowing of Cajun flavored french fries.
2. The "Little Burgers" are not that little - one bacon cheeseburger was more then enough to fulfill my deep hunger. Why would you ever need to or want to order the regular size?
3. Check to make sure you get your bacon on your bacon cheeseburger - hard lesson learned from Dr. Elizabeth! Sadly though with the option of "adding extra bacon and/or cheese, since it's already on the burger at no additional cost" maybe the way to ensure that bacon strips make it into your mouth.

Lastly, I came across Liz's get in mah belly blog, rating her experience with burgers in the local area, and noticed that "liz's cincinnati burger rankings for march-june 2009" is clearly missing one the great contenders: Quatman's Cafe!!!

And here's you Liz - I present an open invitation to come and join Steve Miller and the gang and I at Quatman's this Monday June 22nd, 2009 at 6PM. Be there or be square.

Thanks for reading,


Thursday, June 18, 2009


Friday, June 5th was my graduation from residency! Marking the end of my time at Cincinnati Children's Hospital, and the start of a new adventure through the University of Washington and theSeattle Children's Hospital Regional Hospitalist program.

I've become every accustomed to my life here in Norwood and the Greater Norwood area (Cincinnati), but how exciting it is to start something anew! A first "real job," starting off on a "career path," a whole new environment to explore, new foods to tastes, and of course the difficulty of maintaining or developing new romantic ties. :-(

I have very mixed feelings over the events which will transpire over the next few weeks. I'm in the early stages of exploring new romantic relationships; something that is grand and wonderful, but at the same time, with me leaving, adds a great deal of distress. I know, behind me here in Cincinnati will be a host great friendships, romantic interests, wonderful neighbors, and a calendar full of nightly events.

Some of you my know that I briefly tried during the second half of my 1st year of residency. While overall the experience for me was pretty meager, I still do from time to time receive e-mails from the eHarmony advice section.

This pasts week's set of articles focused on a timely topic - "Do Long Distance Relationships Last?"

While a little disheartening and disturbing, at the beginning of the article, the author concludes with acknowledging that "partners that take active and conscious strives to get know each other will have a more realistic perception of their relationship, and will make their long distance relationships LAST!"

A quick search also lead me to three much more interesting and supportive article: "Long-Distance Relationship Survival Guide," "8 Signs you Shouldn't Be in a Long Distance Relationship," and "How Far Should I Go For Long Distance Love?"

Some quick highlights from these articles are:

"Long-distance relationships are not for the faint of heart." Check. I'm pretty strong willed and determined to work on a relationship that's nurturing, energizing, and has real potential. Just prior to the start of residency I entered into a very loving and successfully LDR which lasted for two years during my residency. While not most the ideal situation, we made it work very well for us.

"’s perfectly natural to feel doubt and fear in the lulls of a long-distance relationship." Who doesn't feel fear with such changes? We're not accustomed to starting off and continuing LDRs on a regular basis.

"...there are no "regular" relationships—only local and not so local." A refreshing look at almost all sorts of relationships, not just romantic ones.

"...make a conscious effort to not put your life on hold—do the things that you like to do and pursue interests that you've always wanted to develop" (emphasis added). During my first year of residency (and while in LDR) I learned how to cook with international and gourmet style, improved on and expanded my salsa moves, fulfilled a childhood dream of taking fencing lessons, and pursued all sorts of other "extracurricular actives" to round me out. I plan on keeping up my diverse interests while out in Seattle and expanding my interests as time allows.

"Make sure you’re on the same page with your partner by communicating your expectations about the relationship and by fully understanding theirs." Ouch! This is called the "hard talk," isn't it? Best to get things in motion and ironed out while still close and in person. For most people this is the crutch of the relationship and often where the decision of split paths takes place for those not willing to invest time, emotion, and money into making something last.

"The key is to keep the romance alive during the times you are apart." I have agree with the article here that sending flowers, mix CDs, and homemade cookies are great ideas! But, I also enjoy simple cards or "thinking of you" notes when they arrive via "snail mail." I'm really a mail junky at heart and think that the personal touch of a handwritten note is classically romantic. The "professing your love and post it to YouTube," and the idea of making an "All About Me" book to express your love may be a little far fetched in my humble opinion.

"Where there is mutual will, love will always find a way." Amen! If I felt the desire, connection, and need to be with someone half a world a way, I would surely make it happen! It's silly to end such a wonderful relationship over something like "distance." I mean there are so many more meaningful reasons for not wanting to be with someone...

"At least a few times a year you are going to have to visit the other person. Even if he or she is willing to do the bulk of the traveling, you’ll want to reciprocate the effort." A romantic relationship is about excitement but also about balance. This is also where the most money becomes invested in the relationship.

"Don't expect another person to jump at the chance to someday move to be closer to your job, your friends, your favorite places to hang out, if that's not something you yourself would be willing to consider for the right person." Again, a fair balance + open and honest communication will help foster the most meaningful and lasting LDR.

"...create as many opportunities as possible for face to face interaction before either of you move." This is the stage that I'm working on now! All while trying to balance my time to find help with relocating, secure my hospital credentials, study for my pediatric boards, and visit with friends whom I may not see for years. Not an easy task on my end, and coupled with having a romantic interest that keeps strange hours for work and/or school makes it only harder.

"Secondly, I suggest that you visit each other in as many different circumstances as you possibly can." Good, I love visitors for any reason!

This does give me a lot to think about, but also a lot of hope for any LDR.

Thanks for reading,


Friday, June 12, 2009

“We are, each of us angels with only one wing; and we can only fly by embracing one another.” - Luciano de Crescenzo

I finished reading Paulo Coelho's The Valkyries this afternoon and came across an interesting dialog between Paulo (the story's main character) and "an old women" whom he met in a restaurant in Ajo as Paulo is finishing his journey to find his guardian angle.

"Do you believe in angles?" Paulo asked her.
The woman was astonished at the question. But that was all that Paulo wanted to talk about.
"When you're old, and death isn't too far off, you begin to believe in anything," she said. "But I don't know if I believe in angles."

"They exist."
"Have you ever seen one?" There was a mixture of incredulity and hope in her eyes. "I talk with my guardian angle."
"Does your angle have wing?"
It was a question everyone asked. Yet he forgotten to ask it Valhalla.
"I don't know. I haven't seen my angle yet."

And there in lies the question. What would your angle look like?

Thanks for reading,


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A Letter From The Past

I went through an interesting exercises 3 years ago, at the start my residency. During orientation week, each one of the new incoming interns was asked to draft a letter to one's self, and then it would be delivered back to us sometime during our first year of residency.

About three months into residency I found a curious letter in my work mailbox. Dated 6/19/06 and addressed to Alex Hamling, #1 coolest intern.

The reads as follows:

Dear Alex,

I'm writing you during the second day of orientation to see how you're doing after a few a few months of internship [sic]. I'm sure things are going well. I hope you've made a lot of new friends, gone on a few dates, and still have big plans to look forward to.

Say "Hi" to Kristina for me. Just keep following these few simple rules: 1 Keep on smiling; 2 Have fun; 3 Stay active; 4 Don't get fat; 5 Keep your eyes and ears open; 6 Never stop loving; and 7 Never stop calling your friends.

I hope this note leaves you well and in good spirits.

Best of Luck,
Lots of Love,


I hope I've been faithful to myself and followed these 7 simple rules over the past three years.

It's rare that I don't have on a smile, and it's hard to catch me not laughing when I'm with friends. I always try to look for new adventures to broaden my horizons and keep a good attitude with me for wherever I go or for whatever I do. I've been a member of the Urban Active since starting residency and that's helped to keep the "on call - guilt free, fat free foods" from effecting my waist line too much. I haven't let the 80 hrs/week and 30 hrs/shift detour me from my journey for searching for true love. And lastly, all too often I find myself going over my cellular minutes because of keeping in touch with close friends and always making new plans for the week.

Thanks for reading,