This is a blog that contains: struggles, triumphs, crafts, recipes and stories to brighten your day and make you smile, laugh, and say well things aren't all that bad!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Merry Christmas!

This Christmas has been a whirlwind of travel that has only just slowed down before the next go round! I wanted to pause and upload some picts from this year's festivities. This is a pic that my wonderful Sis took of Dill in front of our tree! Lindsey and Evan were our wonderful housesitters while we went to South Carolina to visit Mr's Fam. It was my first Christmas away from my own fam and with Mr's. It was kinda sad to not wake up surrounded by my family Christmas morning but it was a whole new set of family traditions and dynamics! This weekend is my family Christmas and I am super excited!!! Two Christmases is better than one.
 Lindsey and I made some "creative" Christmas cookies!

 This is a cute little Christmas decoration that Lindsey got me at after Christmas sales. Thanks, best sis ever!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Rock Climbing!

Adventures with the Sis and Bro-n-law. We took the sis and bro-n-law rock climbing. They were awesome!!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Cynthia Faires Griffith, MPAS

All the Fam came in this weekend for my graduation. It was a great weekend to see everyone and get graduated!
 Me and Mom before my Grad Party at P F Changs. 
 The sis and bro-n-law joining me and Mr. 
 Of course most of the grad picts of me in my regalia are grainy... donno. But here is the dipolma to prove it! 
Modeling the hood. 

Now I am off to hibernate (study) for the week so that Friday I can add the PA-C. 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

So much to be thankful for...

As the year wraps up, I must write and say that this year more than most are so many tangible reminders of how much I have to be thankful for.

This time next week I will have graduated with my Masters! I can't believe that almost three years have gone by since I started. To anyone thinking of undertaking grad school know this time flies so that is a big pro for doing it. Also, I can't believe that I got married during grad school. (More evidence to me that you can't predict how your life is going to go...)

Anyway I will be getting graduated with my lovely wonderful family around me. The first of January we are heading to Indonesia for the first time with the Hubbies which will be an adventure. And then when we get back I should be starting my new wonderful job! (more on that to come in a later post but lets just say dream job...)

My lessons for 2011:
-Go with the flow but do your best
-Let the little things go
-To want less

Thursday, November 17, 2011

This time last year, Beautiful Photoshoot

Last year around this time, we had a beautiful photoshoot with an amazing and sweet photographer Abby.
Here are some of the more fun shots. There were so many that were good it was hard to pick just these! maybe I will post more again. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Crock pot Cooking and meal planning

So you may have noticed lately the blog has been quiet. Living life has gotten in the way which is enough said right?? Anyway here is what I have been up to lately.

Job hunting, Thesis writing, getting graduated (Dec 11th!), Interviewing, Applying, Decorating for the holidays, gift buying (trying to get it done early!), did I mention JOB HUNTING.

Two new things that I have tried out on the home front are meal planning and crock pot recipes.

Meal Planning

When I am bored, I picture shop on pintrest. (Great site if you haven't joined but can take alot of time if you let it, like anything good!!) I love to find recipes on pintrest. I like my friend, Lauren's, philosophy on a great dish it must be easy, yummy, and not have too many ingredients!

My browsing on pintrest built up a list of recipes I was excited to make and try. Then on Saturday morning or sometimes Sunday when I sat down to meal plan I had a list of meals to add to favorites like homemade pizza and spaghetti that I know Mr. and I already love.

I always keep past meal plans so I have ideas and inspiration and with meal planning like everything else in my life I plan but try not to fret too much if things don't go as planned. I put down dishes I think would be great each night but if Mr. or I want to go out we do and I bump that meal back to the weekend or next week. If I want to switch nights on meals because I didn't do necessary prep or I want something easier one night (even though all my meals are relatively easy) I do. It has helped me focus on grocery shopping for items I need and we have had some yummy new dishes. Plus for me cooking new things is fun (when I am in the mood and have the ingredients).

When I first lived with Mr., I always felt like I had to make extravagant meals. I felt like the amount of time and energy I put into a meal showed him how much I loved and appreciated him. And while that can and is the case sometimes it is not an every night labor of love. Especially because I have a busy life see above. Even though my own mother said, "Why do you need a vacation... you don't work." Thanks mom. Love you!

On that note on to crock pot yumminess!

If you are looking for a great one for the Hubs, or if you are a carnivore at heart do this one! This was my first time making ribs ever (I had never even bought ribs) and it is pretty much a no fail recipe. Mr. loved it and now I have another recipe to add to the rotation that we love and is super easy!

This one I am trying tonight I will let you know how it goes!


Some days I just feel more in control. Not that my house is cleaner, or there aren't things on my to do list. But that I am in control instead of at the mercy of the house the dogs the clock the to do list!

So I am thankful for that today. It's the little things!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Tis the Season!

It is Christmas time at the Griffith House. Nevermind the tradition of waiting until the day after Thanksgiving. Since we are going to be gone visiting then I said the time is now! Thursday we brought all my spoils from last years after Christmas sale down from the attic, and we set into motion!

Carols, check!
Tree, check!
Lights, check!
Ornaments, check!

This is our finished tree, complete with presents. Lindsey if you are wondering, yes those are for you. 

 Wreath for the front door from last year, revamped! 
One if the cute ornaments! 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Weekend with the Sis and Bro-n-law

This weekend I went to Houston to spend some time with my sis and bro 'n law. It was the first solo trip I have taken in a while. I always forget how much I enjoy traveling solo. I traveled alot before I got married and while I immensely enjoy traveling with Mr., I also love setting out on my own for a weekend or a week with the gals!

Every weekend with my sis is a gluttonous weekend of girl time! Seriously. Here was the run down of the weekend.
Day 1: Arrive, go shopping. Home to watch Housewives!
Day 2: Breakfast, shopping, out to dinner (yummy Indian Food) and then dessert at The Chocolate Bar. The cake slice was literally enough for maybe 5 people!

Day 3: Get up for the 2nd or 3rd (lost count) trip to Nordstrom in as many days. Shop until we have literally dropped. (ie. there is no more room in my trunk for shopping bags) 

All in all a good weekend! Love you sis. Thanks for the hospitality. 

Monday, October 31, 2011

Chocolate Wasted Cake

Mr. and I had a Sunday afternoon in the Kitchen yesterday. We sometimes set out to make creations and I think it is so fun that sometimes Mr. cooks with me.

We had a Chili Cook Off and Cake Auction at Church yesterday. Mr. was an esteemed judge at the cook off which meant we had to arrive early so our cake was not ready for the auction. The cake was still bought by a friend for a whopping $60 towards the church fundraiser. So the cake and all our hard work still went to a good cause! Better Late than Never!

I topped the cake with leftover chocolate whoppers, Reeses, and kit kats from the Trunk er Treat the night before!

Here is the recipe. A couple changes I made:
- I wanted to try a mini cake so I poured the batter into a 9x13 in rectangular pan, cut the circular layers out with a bread knife using a bowl as my guide but you could use a biscuit cutter I just didn't have one and I wanted the cake slightly bigger than that.
- I halved the icing recipe
- I also omitted the chocolate chips from the cake recipe because I am using the left over cake for cake balls and I didn't know what the chips would do to the consistency of the cake.
- I did not drizzle the chocolate over the top of the cake. That would have been as Mr. put it more "aesthetically pleasing" but after a long day it just wasn't happening. And I'm sure it was just as yummy!

This is a yummy chocolate cake recipe though. (very moist)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Trunk 'er Treat: Haunted Pumpkin Patch

Last night was the Trunk 'er Treat at Good Shepard Methodist Church. It was a blast as usual! This was our second year as part of the festivities and I can never find good inspiration for these so I thought I would contribute some pictures of the blogosphere.

 We used 6 pumpkins, 4 inside the trunk and 2 by our chairs, webbing, little plastic spider rings (that the kids could pick out of the webbing) and a glass jar and tons of candy! The kids really like to grab handfuls of candy!

Dillenger as one of our pumpkins! This is her second change of costume... Long story!

The plan was to have Dill sit in the car and be one of the pumpkins. It worked for a good portion of the night.

This was Dill's first costume... Also pumpkin, but she was really not liking the hat. She literally just moped around with the stem on her head.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Today I spent the day volunteering at the Aids Interfaith Network (someone made me, I am not that good of a person, though I wish I could say I was!). It was a great and humbling experience. I must confess that I was the world's worst volunteer. I did way more socializing than "volunteering."

During the morning I played Farkle with some of the patrons of the facility. This facility has an adult day care program. Basically a place where people can come throughout the week and spend time socializing, playing games, and also getting a couple home-cooked meals.  This provides respite care to family members who are the full-time caregivers of these people and socialization for homeless individuals who would otherwise be on the street.

After two rounds of getting trounced in Farkle, it was time for bingo. I have never played this competitively so I had some learning to do. One of the patrons S. taught me that you never clear your card until someone yells "Clear your card." Just because someone yells Bingo does not mean that they have won, they may have the wrong numbers covered by mistake and then if you have cleared your card you can't continue when the game resumes! The last bingo prize was a bag of white cotton socks. A man at our table St. remarked, "man, I want those socks. You always need some good socks." That broke my heart. Socks?!

I came home and decided I was going to bag up some of mine and Mr's warm clothes and donate them when I go back on Thursday. In about 10 minutes of shuffling around in the garage and closets I had 6 wal-mart bags full of clothes for the shelter.

Mr. and I are not fashonistas by any stretch of the imagination. But even so we have 4 closets in our house and all of them are filled to the brim with clothes. I counted in Mr.'s side of the closet he has 42 dress shirts! 42! (excessive I know and he doesn't wear all of them).

It is so easy for me to think about what I want that I don't have. Uggs, hardwood floors, a new car... But I was so thankful for today. Because it made me look outside myself and my problems and my wants and needs.

Volunteer your time, give an old coat to a shelter, bring a bag of food to a food bank. You will get more than you give. 'Tis the season!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Book Review: Life Would be Perfect if I lived in That House by Meghan Daum

In this book, a twenty something Meghan struggles through identity, self esteem, and unstable relationships but mostly her anticipation of greener pastures that cause her to fast forward through her college years and move more times than I thought were humanly possible. I am not into moving, I don't like change. However, the book is largely about Meghan being discontent with her life and thinking that the next lease will 'fix' her. 

It was entertaining.  Especially because (minus the moving which is again 3/4s of the book) that would be my life. The book made me think of a quote a heard once about how you can only be Happy in past tense. (Think about it. I get it) Towards the end of the book Meghan struggles with Happiness versus Contentment. Obviously Contentment being what keeps evading her.  

Good book. Worth a read. Especially if you struggle with discontent like me, or if you just like to move! 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Twenty Five

I wish I had written down somewhere at fifteen where I was going to "be" at twenty five.  Things that I wanted to achieve by twenty five, do places I would have gone. I wonder what my fifteen year old self would think of me today. . . I think she would be a little surprised that I live in suburbia, that I have a dog that weighs half what I do. But I think younger me would be happy that I am happily married and about to finish my masters. Younger me might be surprised that I have practically the same hair style and some of the same friends (true besties). I think to fifteen year old me twenty five must have seemed old just like thirty five seems so old to me.

I don't want to write out goals for thirty five just predictions or musings or something more likely just to look back on (if we still have Internet and I can still find this blog in 10 years)!

Predictions for 35 year old self

- For me and Mr. to be living in or building our forever home
- maybe the pitter patter of little feet or at least a couple better trained dogs
- to be working as a PA in a job where I am happy and fulfilled
- To be an aunt
- To live within a 20 mile radius of my sis and mom
- That I will have run a triathlon
- That I will be more fluent in Spanish
- I will have traveled to Europe again with Mr., Sis, and Bro-n-law
- I'll be confident enough to make crepes

What a precious thing life is. Can't believe I'm twenty five. Where has the time gone! I know that before I turn around it will be ten years down the road.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

ER: PA school reflections

Mostly in the ER you see people on the worst day of their life. 
I put staples in a guy's head who woke up drunk in the ER and had no idea how he got there. 

I saw a guy who lost both his legs after being run over by a fork lift.

I had to tell a lady that for the fourth time she was having a miscarriage. 

Mostly in the ER you see people on the worst day of their life. 

I stitched up a 45 year old African American lady who had been in a car wreck. Her daughter had been driving and hit the brakes. The daughter was fine but my patient went into the windshield and we thought initially that her face was fractured. Luckily it was all just swelling and lacerations. I sewed up her lip and her hand. To pass the time, we talked about where I was from and where she grew up. A week later I heard "Dr. Longview" being called across the ER. There sat this beautiful lady in a white sundress. She had come back to have her stitches taken out. The swelling had gone down and I was able to see her pretty face. She told me thank you for talking to her and stitching her up so nicely. I couldn’t help it, tears started to well up. No one ever came back must less told me thanks before. It was so fulfilling to see someone look so much better, so much more whole and normal.  It was a wonderful experience and really helped my work in the ER come full circle. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Honeymooning in Paradise.

When Mr. and I got married a little over a year ago because of the strenous PA program I am in there was no time for a honeymoon. (we literally got married over the 7 day break I had between the spring and fall semesters). We hesitantly chose to postpone our honeymoon until there was more time. I tried to not make a big deal about it but the last breakfast we had on the island that week of the wedding I wanted to cry. We had had a wonderful time entertaining and celebrating with all our family and friends but I had no time to ourselves to share the joy of being in love.

So fast forward a year.... and here we went back to Anna Maria to celebrate our honeymoon. And boy was it worth the wait! Here are some pictures to explain.

Our hotel suite, The flounder!
 Standing in the exact spot where we got married!
 Wishing you were here!
 I had to sacrifice my pedicure but it was worth it.
I surprised Mr. with a deep sea fishing trip. Mr. caught way more than I did. This is him with his favorite fish to eat. Grouper!
 This is us with our Red fish we caught. (over two feet in length and about 15lbs each.)
 I caught two Red fish! I never realized that the hardest part was reeling the fish into the boat!!
Mr.'s honeymoon surprise for me was to order a cake from the bakers who made our wedding cake and get a bottle of wine for the little shop that we bought all the wine for from the wedding. (Mr. also bought me several bottles that are going to be shipped home yum!!)

PS. we got to keep all our fish from the fishing trip. Snapper, Mackrel, flounder, and red fish (the only fish that I contributed to our bounty was a red fish) But I did catch a baby shark!! sorry no pics of that one you will just have to believe me and my fisherman tales! .... Come over and eat some with us ok??

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Book Review/Reflection: The Help

I just put down "The Help" it was an intriquing story that shares the story of women, prejudice, and old fashioned snootiness. The characters are admirable and it is a fun book to curl up with and read. I must say I thought one part was going to turn out differently than it did but all in all I enjoyed the book!

If you are looking for something to read, this is a good choice.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Simple living

Sometimes in the hustle and bustle of life you look up and say what am I doing... I've recently become interested in simple living. I am at the beginning of my thinking/experimenting with this lifestyle but really I am just interested in distilling my life down to what makes me and Mr. happy and fulfilled.
One of the ideas from the simple living manifesto (posted above) is to come up with simple pleasures and sprinkle them throughout your day. Here is a sample list. and here is the beginnings of my own list.

  •  Coffee
  •  Painted nails
  •  a hot bath
  • a glass of wine
  • baking/creating
  • a good book
  • watching Mr and the dogs play
  • blogging 
  • catching up with a dear friend
  • a massage
  • getting my eyebrows waxed
  • going for yogurt
  • Christmas music/decorations
  • laying on the beach
  • walking barefoot
  • a quiet saturday morning
  • kolaches 
  • fresh baked bread
  • staying up talking 
  • sitting on the porch 
  • a baseball game
  • a nice walk
  • the way you feel after a good workout
  • dinner out 
  • pizza carryout
  • new sheets 
  • planning a weekend away
  • dinner with friends
  • a new piece of clothing or shoes
  • curling my hair
  • JIF peanut butter on bread
  • a clean house
  • clean dogs

I just came up with 33 things in like 5 minutes and just making the list brought a smile to my face. That is what I want my new lifestyle to be about: making myself happy (I hope you don't see this as selfish, I see it as filling my tank so I have more to give to Mr.'s and others), using my time more wisely and not stressing the small stuff. I look forward to adding to the list.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


First day of ER! I work noon to midnight. I'm so excited!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

My summer reading: Books for June/July

My reading lately has included some wonderful books:  

Books about womanhood:
A year by the sea: Thoughts of an unfinished woman by Joan Anderson -- A beautiful look into the mind of a woman with beautiful lessons about life, motherhood, wifehood, and living life to the fullest!

I hate my neck and other thoughts on being a woman by Norah Ephron -- A funny, narrative written by the author of when Harry met sally and Sleepless in Seattle. This is a book that will make you laugh at womanhood 

Popular reading:
Hoda Kotb: How I survived war zones, bad hair, cancer, and Katie Lee by Hoda Kotb -- I love watching her on the TODAY show and I had to read this book. It is a good autobiography. 

Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin. This is a nutrition/diet guide. I could not make it through chapter 4 of this book and maybe it was because I had a horrible headache after trying to go without coffee (after reading the first chapter!) This book is hilarious, although openly reader-deprecating. But it is written by two models and the logic shows. As a medical professional I think there is possibly a grain of truth to some of the assertions like don't drink soda. But when it got into chemicals and metabolism, I got the feeling the ladies didn't know what they were talking about. Maybe I will try and read it again in the future... but my advice is take their advice with a grain of sand, or in my case a cup of coffee! 

The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls -- This is a memoir about the author's life. An amazing story about growing up as a child with crazy dysfunctional parents who drag them around small towns around America. This is a beautiful story about the resilience of children. 

Half-broken Horses by Jeanette Walls -- written from the prospective the authors grandma. This is like a female version of Huck Finn. Ashlee Clark if you are reading this. This is the book for you. 

I didn't realize it until I was writing out this review that almost all of the books I have read recently are memoirs! 

My Hiatus

I have taken some time away from blogging. More unintentional than anything else. I have been reading, thinking, ageing, musing.

I am 25 now. I only think about it in flashes but I can't believe that I am 25. I am a planner, I look forward to life. I can't imagine that I graduated college 5 years ago, and high school 7 years ago. (Yea I did college fast).
(Picture from my party w/ Mr. at Flying Saucer)

A year from now I will be working. I think I always think about my life in terms of when I get to ____ fill in the the blank with graduation, marriage, 25. I will "begin" my life. I am realizing that at least 1/4 of life has gone by. I need to get my head out of the calendar and start living it! Enjoying it not looking forward and preparing for it or worrying about it. anyone else have revelations like this lately?

Mr. and I are going on our honeymoon in 18 days. We are headed back to Anna Maria where we got married a little over a year ago and we are both so excited for the break, but moreso to return to a place that we love. To a place that has become so special to the both of us.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Sick day!

sorry that is has been a while/forever/ since I have posted to the blogoshpere. But why not come back with a bang. . .

-I haven't taken a shower in three days
-I just had mashed potatoes for breakfast
-I literally have probably watched >10 hours of TV/day over the past 3 days
-my rear is sore from laying around
-I didn't even feel bad texting in to work this am.... I'm too horse to call

must be sick! :(

Sunday, June 12, 2011

PA Reflections: Surgical Oncology Rotation Mrs. M.

I don’t often write about encounters gone badly. But, honestly I don’t really have a lot of insight into when encounters go badly.

Mrs. M is a 47 year old with metastatic breast cancer who was sent to our office for a consultation for palliative mastectomy. Those two words seem diabolically opposed to me. Basically her disease was likely going to overtake her in the not quite forseable future. She was undergoing chemotherapy and her disease was stable, not advancing. However, it was so diffuse initially that this was not entirely hopeful news.  The medical oncologists thought I guess was that in select cases of metastatic disease removing the primary site can prolong survival. (not cure the patient was increase their lifespan).  However, in my attending’s quick and appropriate judgment the decision was no or at least not yet until further medical treatment could be employed to shrink the primary tumor further.  

Let me back up to my role in the encounter. I rushed in. Spanish speaker ok, Lo siento Me espanol es muy mal. I checked off the breast CA risk factors she had, asked about new complaints, and did my physical. I didn’t explain why I was there or ask her why she was at our clinic.

When my attending shared her assessment with Mrs. M, she burst into tears. Thinking back over the encounter I realized Mrs. M I never asked Mrs. M why she wanted the surgery or what she thought the surgery could do. What if Mrs. M. thought this surgery was going to cure her. . . We decided to wait on the surgery because it was not in her best interest, it could make her last months more painful, the surgery would be extensive due to the size of her tumor and this may be a bigger risk to her health than if the breast stayed. We decided to wait until the last rounds of chemo and further medical treatment that was planned. If the tumor shrank at that time the surgery would be a better option. However, I didn’t even understand all of this until the Doctors explained this to me. So what if she thought we were saying no we were not going to do this not because we didn’t want to… We never asked. We didn’t explain our rationale.

I just finished a book about communication in healthcare. But it didn’t sink in. I failed Mrs. M. I didn’t realize it, the sleep deprivation and stress of being uncomfortable on my new rotation let me get in the way of my strengths compassion and communication.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

PA reflections: Surgical Oncology Rotation

Monday I start my 3.5 wk Surgery Oncology rotation. From all reports it is doubtlessly going to be long hours, six/seven days a week, with people who are less that Mr. or Mrs. congeniality. I am not super excited, actually I am probably closer on the spectrum toward dreading it (the most of all the rotations this year).

But bright points are:
--It is only 3.5 wks long
--I will be ale to come home everynight, even if it is just for a couple hours of sleep.
--It will be something new and different.

Wish my luck but after monday just know I probably will not be blogging much for this next month!

Book Review/reflection: The Spirit Catches you and You fall Down.

This morning I finished this book. It is a less popular/main stream book than I normally am drawn to. However, the book was very interesting/applicable to me.

The book is a nonfiction investigation into the life for a family of Hmong refugees living in Southern california who have a daughter with Epilepsy and the doctors that are trying to cure this little girl of her disease. The book is about cultural miscommunication/ Eastern medicine vs. Western medicine.

Being in the medical field sometimes I feel pressure to be God. I don't think I am alone in this feeling, as evidence by Lia's Doctors in the book. We feel it is our job to cure, to heal, to know all the answers. But medicine like anything else is often times not black and white. Solutions to problems can be problems themselves. Lives are precious, but sometimes in an effort to save medical intervention can make things worse.

The book is a beautiful complete look into the lives of the doctors, nurses, social workers, and family involved. As a healthcare provider it was wonderful to read. Medical Education in this country teaches us to treat diseases, teaching us pathopysiology to explain to our patients how diseases affect our bodies and how the medicines we will use will restore new order. However, how does this translate to a culture where Epilepsy, a condition that called in Hmong is "The spirit catches you and you fall down,"  is caused by lossing your soul to an evil spirit.

Medicine focuses on life, preservation of life, sometimes at the expense of dignity. Not once was I ever taught about any treatments that heal a soul. Western medicine preserves life, there are many cases where without it people: life, soul and all would expire. However, I think most of us would agree there is more to life than just an EEG or EKG reading. This book is a beautiful, mind bending, heart wrenching look into these struggles. For health care professionals who deal with this everyday. It is an invitation to look over these tough things again. For people like Mr., next in line to read the book, hopefully it is a glimpse into what I struggle with during my 9-5 life.. or more like 5:30-6 life. Things that sometimes you shut out as you come home because the burden is too great.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Book Review/Reflection: the five people you meet in heaven.

I had read Tuesdays with Morrie, so when I passed this in the library I thought. Yes, I have always had this on my book wish list.

This book is a story about how our lives are entwined. Reminded me a little of Water for elephants but just because of the Carnival setting! Also, I loved that it was told from a man's perscpective. I guess I tend to read books about females and self-discovery. The book was philosophical but with a good story line that kept you interested. I loved the husband and wife interact in this story.

This book is little, it is a good short read and it is beautiful and makes you think.
PS. I liked it better than Tuesdays with Morrie which is also a good book if you are needing a nice little story. But I would say don't read the two back to back because Albom's style (philosophy heavy) is best if you take it in small bites so you can absorb all the goodness!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Book Review/Reflection: Portia de Rossi's Unbearable Lightness

I have been so eager to read this book. I reserved it at the Library. Waited two months. (not an easy thing for me) Started reading it in the parking lot of the library and finished it less than 24 hours later. I devoured this book.

In this book, Portia chronicle's her struggle with weight, self esteem, and food that becomes so overwhelming it almost overtakes her. The book is so raw and real. Portia takes you into her mind and into her secret rituals and you see her day to day dealing with insecurities.

Before this book, I had seen Portia only on Arrested Development. Even on the sitcom, you can see she is a complex person with layers who is very witty and intelligent.

I love the way she ends the book (the epilogue), I want a sequel so I can continue to read about her life and the person she is now. The book is beautiful. If you have ever struggled with weight, calorie counting, exercise, self hate, bad self talk. Read this book. You will be engrossed and challenged.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Garlic Knots

I was inspired one night last week to make something a lil different to go with our spaghetti. We have this Italian restaurant we love (Joe's) same Family owns this one in Arlington as the one in Longview crazy huh? anyway, they make awesome garlic knots so when I saw a recipe for em I was interested.

I used Pizza dough made in my bread maker but you can use pizza dough from the store. I added Parmesan and Italian seasoning to the dough, rolled it out, and cut it with the pizza cutter. I cut the strips you see here in thirds and tied them each in a knot  like you would a string.

They went in the oven at 450 degrees for 12-14 minutes until golden and then I brushed them with a mixture of melted butter, garlic, and more parmesan and Italian seasoning. Next time I am going to do like Joe's does and cover them with mozzarella kinda like cheese fries.


Sunday, May 15, 2011

PA reflection: The Veteran's Hospital

This week I started a new rotation at the Veteran's Hospital in Dallas working in the Infectious Disease department as part of their consult service. Also on Wednesday and Friday afternoons I see patients in the Immunosuppresion clinic.

Rotations are a funny part of life/PA school because you are constantly in a state of flux/change. (BTW if you didn't know, I hate change). You spend 3.5-8 weeks at one place and then you are on to the next thing. The progression goes about like this-- deer in the headlights, to competent clinician, to saying your goodbyes and repeat. I just spent the last ten weeks of my life in family medicine. . . The work wasn't really hard or mental invigorating, the hours weren't long. So I don't mean to tell you that I work hard currently but working 8:30-4:30-5ish, eating lunch at my desk, always thinking about what I haven't thought of yet and what I am missing has made for long days this past week. However, I truly love it at the VA. I liken it to a circus. Every day before I am in the building I pass the crossing guard who waves and says things like, "Hey doc, looking good." "Hey doc, think of me it is going to rain on my today." "Hey doc, you have that seat in your car pulled so far forward!" I got a pat on the back this Friday. Needless to say I can't help but smile walking into the VA (veteran's administration). I walk past a popcorn stand, boombox blasting music, a player piano, a canteen (anywhere else it would be called a cafe).  If you wear a white coat at the VA you can't walk with your head down like I normally do in the hospital, consumed in my notes, thinking about the next person I am going to see... nope you have to walk ever aware of your surroundings because everyone you pass says, "Hey Doc" "How you doing, Doc" "How's your day, Doc" When I weakly tried to correct the first gentleman "saying I was a Physician Assistant student" he just smiled at me with a couple teeth missing and said "good luck, Doc"

This isn't why I love the VA though. I love the people and I love the work. Infectious Disease sounds exotic and some of it is Histoplasmosis, or Rocky Mountain spotted fever, or the Bubonic plague (yup still exists). But mostly it is HIV and Hepatitis. The Immunosuppression clinic on Wednesdays and Fridays is almost entirely HIV patients.

I had never met anyone with HIV until my first day on my ID rotation.

He came in so sick with Disseminated histoplasmosis, an AID's defining illness.
(just as an aside to keep this story interesting to people not in a medical profession: That just means ... there are certain diseases that are more common in people whose immune systems are compromised. When you see them in patients without HIV, as a good clinician you need to test that person for the illness.) This man did not know that he was HIV positive. His first night in the hospital, his wife calls and says she is sorry, for years she has been treated for HIV and though they have been having unprotected sex she never told him.   

I love the work. In college, I studied psychology. Alot of psychology is about combating stigma... stigma about the profession, the patients you treat, the illnesses. So I am used to stigma.
Stigma is the most interesting thing about my work at the VA. As a health care professional, I can say with first hand expertise (although probably not the same expertise as nurses, whom I would consider the experts in this field) there are many gross diseases. (So unprofessional I know) But there is a long list of things the little girl inside me thinks are super gross that I see and treat every day. Sometimes I smile thinking about how my mom wanted me to go into medicine like it was so academic or scholarly. As an engineer she had no idea...

But I really can't get my head around all the stigma associated with HIV. One of my goals for this rotation is to learn how to communicate with HIV patients professionally, being aware of privacy issues and in a way that dispels stigma and judgement. Because truthfully, I feel neither of those things when I am with my patients. They are all patients with illnesses that need treatment and luckily treatment has advanced to a stage that we are able to help patients live long productive happy lives.

In one week, I have already learned so much from my patients about medicine, HIV, and humility. I love the work. Working with people how have given so much for our country and now I get to take care of them. I see my Papa Carl in each one of my patients. Growing up, he would drive 3 hours to go to the VA in Oklahoma. He had the same quiet respect, joking manner and history of service that these men do.  I love the work I do.

Annivesary Getaway

I have some blogging to catch up on! I have been busy with a new rotation Infectious Disease at the Veteran's Hospital (but that is another post)!

I wanted to put some pictures up of our surprise anniversary trip that Mr. planned. I new that we were going somewhere Mr. had been planning it for months but not until a couple days before did I wrangle it out of him. (too many hints!)

Mr. planned a wonderful weekend at Fredricksburg during their Wine Festival. Due to other circumstances we couldn't get down there in time for the Wine Festival but we had a wonderful time at the cute little cottage that Mr. booked.

 Here is what I wrote in the little traveler's log!

We headed out to the boondocks to Luckenbach, Tx! This is the combination Post Office/gift shop/Bar! The town consists of this and a dancehall!

It was a wonderful weekend getaway. Thanks, Mr.!