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!

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.!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Birthday craft for Sis/ Flat Iron Holder Tutorial!

Lndz's 23rd birthday... err I think. . . Is upon us. For her gift I did something homemade and something I can't make! hehe.

(Don't worry I am posting this after her birthday so this will not be a spoiler!)

I got her a Chi (something she's wanted for a long time) and then made her a Flat Iron Carrier.

Here is the the tutorial and here is the finished product!

Happy Birthday Sis!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Free Printable Mother's Day Cards!

Found two printable cards with heartfelt sintaments for my mom and Mr.'s for Mother's day.

This one comes in an ecard version free when you sign up for the sites mailing list (for real I did it an got the set 12 hours later). So you could do it and send your mom an email version. I think I am going to do just that. Although I already spoiled it. I liked the card so much I already told her about it!

This one went to Mr.'s mom. She loved it. Sorry at the moment I am blanking on where I found this one. If anyone knows how I can load PDF's to a blog message it to me and I will do it.

Happy Mother's Day.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Deals- Starbucks

Starbucks May 6-15 from 3pm-5pm
Half Price Frappucino's
About to enjoy one now!!
Ps. They now have Light Frappucino's for 140 Cals I am trying the Grande Mocha Coconut Light Delicious!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Everyone has a love story. This is mine

For our wedding, Mr. and I wrote out our story. The story of how we met our first dates and when we knew we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together, from each of our own recollection. Mainly for posterity's sake, but there is something so neat about having a copy like a communal diary that we can look back on and share. For some reason in the car during my commute today I started thinking back.

I have become more and more convinced lately that marriage should be celebrated and cherished between the two people. I have seen friends whose marriages have already ended in divorce, which breaks my heart. I do not have sympathy but empathy for these people because Mr. and I have not been immune to struggle. Marriage is hard. But I have found it is easier when I celebrate the small stuff and remember the wonderful, simple things that can so easily be forgotten. I encourage you to write down your love story (and if you recruit your spouse you might be surprised at the different accounts you will get!)

This is part of what we wrote. It is the story of Mr.'s Proposal.

The day that changed my life (The proposal)…

Mr. ’s story: I had been trying to decide the best way to propose for a long time. Because I knew that if I couldn’t give her a big fancy ring I could at least give her a good story.  One of the things I came up with since we met through Uncle Reed was to propose at his house. The evening of we went over to have dinner and talk about wedding stuff and I was waiting for the opportune moment but it just hadn’t happened yet. Between stuff like where are we going to stay and how are we going to do this and that, it didn’t seem right to just get down on one knee and be like by the way! So then, we went to dinner at our favorite Chinese Restaurant and I was planning on doing it there in the restaurant. I thought it would be nice. And as the evening wore on I was trying to again find that perfect moment and once again it never quite came. The conversation towards the end of the meal turned towards unions and as we were talking it didn’t seem right to be like well unions and by the way! So in the car ride back home, I was thinking this isn’t quite turning out quite like I planned and it occurred to me that perhaps I should just man up and ask her. So as we walked in; both having had a little bit to drink. Cynthia being very tired at 10:30. I said “well” (as I have been known to do) and I got down on one knee. And while I don’t remember exactly what I asked It was something along the lines of, “Cynthia, you would make me very, very happy if you would say that you would spend the rest of your life with me.” And then I just waited. After what seemed like a short lifetime. I prompted her, “Please?” She replied “is this for real?” I said yes. She pondered a moment longer and said I quote “neheigh” (I took that as a yes).

Cynthia’s side: This night was not unlike every other Tuesday or Sunday or Friday night. We go over to Reed and Esther’s to eat and drink and talk a lot. I didn’t think anything of the fact that it took us 2 hours to get out the door and off to the restaurant. We were drinking wine what did it matter anyway. I don’t remember anything about Oceans that night but I remember being pretty enthralled with the union conversation because I didn’t know much about them. Then like any other night it was late and we were about to head home. This was signaled to me by Mr.’s heaving sigh as he said, “Well” and dug in his pocket for what I assumed were the keys to go. So I was stunned when he found himself on one knee. Esther snapped into action taking pictures and... I must stop here and say I have fantasized for 23 years about what the next moment was about to bring. I knew the magic words I wanted to hear and exactly what I was going to say. But I don’t remember what actually happened. I don’t know what he said because I was just looking at him there on his knee. It didn’t feel like I long time to me. It felt like everything was moving really fast. And in my head I said Yes! Although I guess it didn’t make it out of my mouth. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

New blogs (and other places) of Interest!

I have a blogs tab, I need to update it. Here are some blogs I have recently put on my reader:

2 little Hooligans  - crafts and tutorials

Curby - pretty pictures and homemade DIY projects

Mouth from the South - great recipes!

Our Best Bites- click on their spa crafts and the yummy recipe I just posted was inspired by these ladies

The Chole Conspiracy - This blog is going to get me in so much trouble it is a shopaholic blog I am in love!

Also I am a member of Pintrest. Love it because it is a place I can find new recipes and inspiration for crafts. It has already led me to many of these blogs above.

Happy reading!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Quick Easy Dinner: Chicken Taquitos

This was my inspiration for this dinner. Needless to say I did not have all the ingredient so I improvised and it turned into a Mr. fav (which is so gratifying!). Here is what I did


Can of chunck chicken (randomly found in the back of the pantry)
about 1/4 tsp Cumin
about 1/2 tsp garlic salt
2 shakes cayenne pepper (Mr. doesn't like hot stuff, if it were just for me I would put more)
about 1 tsp Chicken boullioun
Corn or flour tortillas

1. Drain chicken and sautee with seasonings.
2. I microwaved the tortillas because corn tortillas bend easier when warmed.
3. Fill tortillas with chicken, roll, and place on baking sheet folded side down so it stays.
4. Cook at 400 until the tips of the tortillas look golden brown. about 15 minutes.

I served with Guacamole. (you will need something to dip them in). I had some leftover steak that I cut fajita style and filled a couple of tortillas with but Mr. liked the chicken the best!

This was super easy, quick. Modify this recipe to what you have in your fridge. I think it is a no fail crowd pleasing kinda recipe.