Monday, May 16, 2016

The Long-Awaited Story of How Rowdy and Diane Ended Up in Little Rock

(The details may be somewhat sketchy here, but these are the basics from my point of view.)

Somewhere in April or May of 2015, Rowdy reached the end of his rope with living in California for a lot of reasons, including the lack of personal liberties, high taxes and cost of living, and a general need to move around.  Ten years in one place was more than he could bear.

Unfortunately, this caused a lot of strife.  I was perfectly happy in San Diego.  I was in the perfect job--I loved the people I worked with, my work schedule and the kind of work I was doing.  Let's face it, I spend as much time at work as at home, so that was important to me.  I also loved my ward family and my other friends.  Rowdy made it clear, though:  he was out of San Diego by May, 2016, with or without me.

So I cried.  We argued.  I have moved before, so I knew that I could find friends and make a new life, but the thing that really scared me was finding a new job.  I'd gotten pretty cozy and complacent where I was, and I didn't think that I'd be able to get a job that would bring in the same level of income and be something that I was happy doing.

Blah, blah, blah. This probably isn't in chronological order, but we did struggle about this for weeks. One day, Rowdy said, "You know, in the ten years we've been married, we really haven't made a habit of praying and reading scriptures together every day.  I'd really like us to do that."  I think that was the real turning point.  We humbled ourselves and asked Heavenly Father where He needed us to be.  In addition to improving our daily prayers and studying the scriptures, we fasted and went to the temple more than we had before.  If you get nothing else out of this post, I hope that you get that Heavenly Father loves his children, we can have personal revelation to know what path we need to follow in life, and the way to get answers is to humble yourself, pray with real intent, and be willing to listen for that revelation and follow the counsel given by the Lord.

Rowdy suggested that we both make lists of places we would live, and we would compare the lists.  The final list was:

1)  Austin/San Antonio, TX
2)  Raleigh/Durham, NC
3)  Boise, ID
4)  Utah/AZ
5)  Little Rock, AR

Our main criteria were:

1)  firearms-friendly
2)  proximity to family
3)  good cost-of-living
4)  good quality of life overall

Rowdy was surprised to see that I had listed Little Rock.  I had never been there, but he had been several times and was always complimentary of the area.  Since it was somewhat close to my parents in Austin, and Rowdy had the greatest opportunity to improve as a shooter there, I thought it was worth a look.

I enrolled in a couple of job search boards through professional associations, contacted some recruiting companies and looked into teleradiology groups.  I had a couple of phone interviews with a practice in Ogden, Utah, but I wasn't right for that practice, and they certainly weren't right for me.  Recruiters called with opportunities in Texas, but we had the luxury of not really needing to pick just anywhere.  Beaumont and Amarillo just were not in our plans.  Nothing really turned up in Idaho or North Carolina.  I cold-called a practice in Little Rock, but they weren't sure if they needed an Interventional Radiologist.

Finally, I decided to sign with vRad, a teleradiology group that provided overnight diagnostic radiology interpretations.  The company itself is really outstanding.  I wasn't thrilled about the prospect of working from 7 pm to 7 am, but they were very accommodating and offered me a 2 pm to 10 pm shift.  I also wasn't thrilled about not having the opportunity to interact with patients and do procedures, but I was hoping that there would be a way to find a group that would be okay with me coming in on a part-time basis.

So once we decided on that, we both felt that Little Rock was where we needed to be--where the Lord needed us to be.  We scheduled a trip to Arkansas in November to look around at homes and the town in general.  Meanwhile, I was still wanting to try for an IR job, if possible, but I thought that maybe my cover letter needed revamping.  My friend and co-worker, Danielle, graciously took a look at it and made some very helpful suggestions.

Rowdy and I took a trip to New Jersey for our grandson's first birthday, then spent ten days enjoying Spain the last week of September/first week of October.  Sometime near the end of the trip, the ACR job board posted an IR position at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock.  I thought that was about the nuttiest thing in the world. I really wasn't thinking that I wanted to be a full-time academic radiologist--I wasn't sure that I would have the skill set they were looking for, and I was sure that they would not have much to offer in the way of income, but maybe they'd be the kind of place that would let me just be a part-timer.

The details of this whole experience are a little fuzzy, but it seems to me that it went something like:  we got back from our trip on a Saturday, Sunday evening I sent of my new-and-improved cover letter and my CV, and first thing Monday morning, I got a call that went something like this:

Mollie Meek, MD, UAMS IR Section Chief:  Hello, is this Diane Bricco?

Me:  Yes!

MM:  Uh, uh (splutter, silence)

Me:  Can I help you?

MM:  (incredulously) Are you really moving to Little Rock?

Me :  Yes.

MM:  (still incredulous) And you're really an interventional radiologist?

Me :  Yes. 

MM:  Well, uh!  Wow!  Okay.  Do you know Mike Beheshti?

Me:  No....(Like, should I?  I don't know....)

MM:  Well, he trained me and he's amazing and the nicest person ever and he's the Chief of Radiology over at the VA right now, but he's just the best and HE'S THE BISHOP OF ARKANSAS!!!

Me:  (chuckling)  So you mean to tell me that he's LDS?  (I have my affiliation with Mormon Women in Medicine and my experience in stake and ward callings on my CV.)

MM:  Yes!  And he will be so excited to meet you!

Mollie and I talked some more.  I told her that we had a trip to Little Rock planned for the following month.  She asked me if I wanted to come by to see the place, or maybe interview.  I figured that I might as well go interview, if nothing else to get experience and to let them know that I'd be interested in working part-time.

But the interview ended up going really well, and I was offered a job pretty much at the end of the day. [I did have an interview with Dr. Michael Beheshti, AKA former Bishop of the Pinnacle Ward, AKA Little Rock Stake President (at the time of my interview, so I got both a professional and stake president's interview) and currently Elder Michael Beheshti, Area Authority.  He is a really good guy, and also happens to have graduated from Bountiful High School the same year as my friend Sharon's brother, David.  Small world!]  My prior experience with interviewing at academic centers was that their salaries were far below what I was making at my current job, but Mollie offered me something that, particularly with the difference in cost of living between San Diego and Little Rock, really wasn't much of a pay cut.  Of course, I would have to be full-time--no part-timers allowed.  And they didn't seem to be that bothered by the fact that I hadn't been doing a lot of the stuff that they do regularly.  

Long story short, it just felt right.  Rowdy gave me a Priesthood blessing before I went to my interview in which I was told that it would take time and work on my part, so I figured that meant that getting the right kind of job would take that.  But it seems that the real counsel was that I was going to have to put in time and work to succeed at that job.  Which is okay by me, and I have had the opportunity over the last six or seven months to really prepare, study and get up to speed on some things.  Plus, my offer letter from the University stated that my success was important to them, and they make sure that I had what I needed to do well.  So I think it's going to be a little stressful at times, but ultimately really good for me and my progression as a physician.

And more importantly, this move is going to be really good for Rowdy and his progression in his field.  He's already shot more matches and had better opportunities for good training than he had in San Diego.  There are probably lots of hidden blessings in this move that we have yet to uncover.

We are both adjusting to life here in Little Rock, but we are loving it.  Even Mr. Oliver Hammond is getting happily settled in our new home.  I will probably write other posts about the process of buying a home and selling our SD home and land (an amazingly simple process, as it happens), my experience living with my sweet friends for five weeks while I was working out the end of my contract with SDPMG, the many "tender mercies of the Lord" that I received during this experience, the drive out to LR from SD with Ollie and my sweet parents, and our adventures in Arkansas.

So, that's basically the story from my point of view and how I choose to recount events.  Trust me, I shed a lot of tears about it.  It hasn't been easy for me, but I know that it's the right thing.  

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

I'm Not Catholic, But I Like Lent

One new post every five months...sounds about right!

Lent starts tomorrow.  It is not something that is a part of my religion (LDS), but I like the concept of having a defined period in which to better myself in some way, either by giving something up (the traditional Lenten sacrifice) or taking on a new virtue.

My friend, Jen, introduced me to the "40 Bags in 40 Days" decluttering program, which is scheduled to begin tomorrow.  I certainly have drawers, bookshelves and even rooms in my house that can use some decluttering.  My office at work definitely needs some work.  What I like about this program is that there are also "non-stuff things" that can be decluttered, like email inboxes and computer desktops.

That got me to thinking about other "non-stuff" areas that I can declutter.  I can declutter my mind of negative thoughts.  I can declutter my body of fat, excess calories and (maybe) sugar and artificial sweeteners.  I can declutter my heart of judgement and grudges.  Those things sound like good things to do any time of the year.

I could also do a "40 Days of Personal Progress", which would probably get me to complete Personal Progress.  That would be pretty fun!

I am also working on doing at least one kind of physical activity every day for the next 40 days.  I'm pretty good at doing something for five or six days in a row, then I blow it.  I'll be counting even my short ride or walk to and from work, so that is helpful.

What could you do for Lent, Dear Reader?

Saturday, September 6, 2014

This Month's Fix

Stitch Fix is still coming regularly, but I didn't blog last month's picks.  Eh. I kept two things.  One was a dressy-ish blouse that I promptly splashed oil on.  Of course, it was dry clean only.  The other thing I kept was a peacock blue sweater with dolman sleeves (that's the third Fix in a row that included a top with dolman sleeves--what is their obsession with dolman sleeves?).  I kept it only because the color was gorgeous.

Here's the latest:

This skirt is really comfortable and flattering, but it is 6" too long.  I'm probably going to keep it and have a friend shorten it. The stylist wrote, "A maxi skirt by Market & Spruce for your model frame will give you modesty and also still flatter your model height,"  I would have to be a good 4" taller and still wear heels not to trip on it.  I've told her several times that I have a long body and short legs, but I guess it's hard to really understand a person's dimensions when you don't ever see them in person.

You can see how I feel about this top.  Just because I'm turning 50 next week and am going to be a grandmama in a few short weeks doesn't mean that I have to dress like one.  It's from a good company--Kut from the Kloth--but it's made out of icky polyester and has those roll-up sleeves with the tab and button that I loathe.  There are probably people who can wear this and make it look cute, but I am NOT one of them.  I just don't want to, is the thing.  It has too many elements that gross me out.

Both of these tops are meh, M-E-H, meh.  My t-shirt drawer is overflowing, and I can't justify paying $54 and $68, respectively, for them.

This scarf wasn't too expensive, it is soft, and it's pretty cute, so I think I'll keep it.  However, it's hard for me to muster too much enthusiasm for it when it is 91 degrees here today.  It doesn't ever get too cold here, anyway.  Maybe in January I'll wear it to work, or in my office when I am freezing.  I can also wear it in our travels.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


There are some things that give me a nostalgic feeling that almost bring me to tears. Often those feelings are tied to books.

When I was a little girl, we had some book, perhaps it was
It had a picture of a little black-and-white cat in an English garden.  I loved that picture, and when I see Oliver in the yard, surrounded by flowers, my heart overflows with love for him--my sweet little kitten in the garden.

I like to read the blog Luxarrazi, which is all about the Luxembourg and Lichtenstein royal families.  These are Catholic countries, and they are often having big events with their cardinal or archbishop or something.  That august person usually looks like this:
with the big tiara (mitre?  beats me, I'm not Catholic), and the shepherd's crook.  And that, even though I'm not Catholic, brings me back to a book I really loved when I was little (and still love)

I think that's where I originally saw that kind of image, and it brings such a warm, happy feeling to me that I think I might try to hug that person if I ever saw him in person.  (Which would probably be creepy on a number of levels.)

Today, I had another strong feeling of nostalgia (non-book-related), and I almost teared up.  I was able to go into the OR and perform a procedure.  The IR suite isn't quite the same--we wash and gown up beforehand, but not in the same way as the OR.  There's something so special to me about the OR and surgery.  Perhaps if I had completed my medical training earlier in life, I would've become a surgeon, rather than an interventional radiologist.

As I was traveling home from work today, I was thinking about why I felt that way. I think it's because the OR is similar to the temple, and it feels sacred to me.  Here are the similarities I though of:

1)  You have to be worthy to enter.
2)  There is ritual washing.
3)  You are dressed in special ceremonial clothing.
4)  You are doing something that someone cannot do for themselves.
5)  If you're in the right frame of mind, you're in partnership with God.

Maybe that is why something about the OR reaches into my heart and tugs at it in a special way that I can best describe as nostalgia.  Don't get me wrong--my current job is perfect for me, and surgical training would've been a disaster for me to try to go through when I was a resident.  But I will always be just a little jealous of my surgery colleagues, and I will always have that tender feeling when I have the opportunity to join them in the operating room.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Being a Stepmother

Frans Schwartz, The Agony in the Garden
Last weekend, I was fortunate enough to view the Sacred Gifts exhibit at the BYU Museum of Art.  The centerpiece of the exhibit, in my opinion, is this beautiful painting.  It is so tender to see the angel supporting The Savior through the pain and darkness of the Atonement.

I started to wonder about the angel.  Who would be given the role of comforter for Jesus?  This is absolutely NOT doctrine in any way, but what if that was the privilege of Heavenly Mother?  She is the mother of Christ's spirit, but when you think about it, she's the stepmother of his earthly being.  Mary had the job of bearing the Christ, raising him, comforting his earthly hurts and calming his fears.  But in this moment when he also needed that mothering, she obviously wasn't there, or we would have heard about it.  I'm sure that she just couldn't have been there.

Stepmothers get a bad rap sometimes (wicked stepmother, anyone?), but it has been a sacred gift in my life to be a stepmom to my husband's children.  

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Stitch Fix Nails It!

I really liked everything I got in this shipment.  Having credits from friends signing up, as well as the credit for buying the whole shipment made this a pretty easy decision.

Pomelo Gwendolyn Printed Mixed Material Sweater.  It matches the mint-green jeans I bought at  The jeans are Sold Design Lab Christopher Distressed Boyfriend Jean. 
Ellison Lena Contrast Striped Knit Shirt.  It is very light and comfortable.  I'm wearing it today with denim shorts.

I don't know how to pose without putting my hand on my hip, apparently.  This is the Pomelo Corinna Striped Heathered Dolman Top.

41Hawthorn Harper 3/4 Sleeve Jacket--Chanel-inspired, worn over a simple black tee.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Stitch Fix April Delivery

Well, what can I say but I do love this service.  I wear the jeans from last month all of the time.  So I was very excited to find out what was in April's delivery.  Ahem.  Well.  Let's just say that the Stitch Fixers and I are going to have to work to come to an agreement on my style and tastes.

This dress is just a big piece of NO.  It makes me look like a rectangle with teddy bear legs. I'm having enough of a complex about my weight right now that this picture doesn't help.  From the side, however, I still am okay.  And that, my friends, is really a rope belt.  Who am I, Ellie Mae Clampett?  No, no, no.  Ugly, ugly, ugly.  I am going to ask them never to send me another shapeless dress that belts in the middle.

I was gleeful when I first saw these cute, mint green jeans.  Then I tried them on and realized they were more like jeggings.  Again with this feeling unhappy with my weight right now, so maybe once I wore them they'd look better?  Or maybe they just aren't right for me.  The top is cute from the front buuuuuuttt...

not garment-compatible from the back.  I'm not wearing another shirt under it.  It's just not cute enough to make me want to do layers.  But as an aside--check out that firm neck.  Nerium!

This top is pretty cute and comfortable (worn with last month's new jeans).  Anyone would have to wear a tank underneath, as it gaps like crazy when you lean forward, but I like how it is snug around the bottom.  The dolman sleeves aren't bad, either.

Finally, they included a pair of pretty cute chandelier earrings.  I'm not sure that I will keep them.  They're $48 and heavy enough to make me worry that the earring on the right will pull through my already-stretched hole.

So, one out of five, maybe two if I can convince myself that the green jeans are not completely unflattering.
My Rad Life!