Monday, June 28, 2010

Strawberry Ice Cream

We had plans to make "local" ice cream for Ross' family while they were here but we ran out of time. I say local because we'd frozen a bunch of CSA strawberries a few weeks ago and we have Shatto milk and cream. Of course, they don't grow sugarcane in Missouri so we had to compromise a little ;-) We didn't want the milk to go bad, so we made a batch today and I'm sorry that no one's here to share it!

Ross and I fell in love with fresh strawberry ice cream from Ham Orchards outside Dallas. (P.S. Brittnye, you all need to make a field trip there one Saturday morning this summer). This recipe wasn't quite as good as theirs, but it was pretty close for a first attempt! Next time, I think it needs more strawberry.

3 cups fresh ripe strawberries, stemmed and sliced
4 Tbs. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1.5 cups sugar
1.5 cups 2% milk
2.75 cups cream
1.5 tsp vanilla extract
In a small bowl, conbine the strawberries with the lemon juice and 1/2 cup of the sugar. Stir gently and allow to sit for 2 hours.

Strain the berries, reserving the juices. Mash or puree half the berries.

Mix the milk and remaining sugar for 1 or 2 minutes, until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the heavy cream, reserved strawberry juice, mashed strawberries, and vanilla. Pour mixture into the freezer bowl of ice cream maker.

Mix until thickened, for 20-25 minutes. 5 minutes before mixing is completed, add the remaining sliced strawberries and mix thoroughly.

I love the natural pink color. And it tastes pretty good, too!

New "Quotes" Tab

For those of you who have been reading my blog for any amount of time, you know that I love quotes. Why try so hard to describe what you're feeling when someone else has already said it perfectly?! In light of avoiding annoying posts full of quotes (which I have been known to do), I started a "quotes" page.

I love collecting new words of wisdom, so quit lurking (you know who you are) and leave a comment with your favorite quote!

I will organize the quotes page better in the near future and update it periodically. Speaking of updates, what do you think of my new blog layout? Fancy, eh? Feel free to leave an honest opinion on the layout as well.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

In-laws downtown and out-of-town

Thursday morning, Ross and his dad had an early tee time at a nice golf course north of the river. I received this text mid-morning:

Yep, my favorite voice from Hootie and the Blowfish and now country music. He was golfing in a group with Brooks and Dunn. While they're arguably the most influential country starts alive today, I'd rather meet Darius!

I'm kicking myself for my disinterest in golf. After that missed opportunity, we rounded up the troops and went get some Mexican food for lunch at Manny's and then hit up the Architectural Salvage store down the street from the restaurant.

The five of us drove to Jamesport Thursday evening and found our cute bed and breakfast outside of town.

Of course, Friday morning we had to go into town and visit the Amish furniture stores. Ross was jealous of their huge woodshops. The rest of us were just impressed with the final products!

It was a whirlwind trip, but I'm glad Ross' family finally got to see where we live. Thanks for driving up here, y'all!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

In-laws in town

Tuesday evening, Ross' mom, dad, and sister drove up from Texas to visit Kansas City for the first time! Wednesday morning, we went to Village Inn for breakfast and then spent all morning walking around the Plaza in the sticky heat. We ended up at Blanc Burgers for lunch and then came back to the apartment to chill in the AC for a while.

Around 5pm, we drove out to Lawrence so they could see KU.

We walked around campus for about 40 minutes.

Around 7pm, we headed to one of my favorite Lawrence eateries: Wheatfields (not related to the Omaha chain)! It's a bakery serving sandwiches on fresh-baked bread and they try to use mostly local ingredients. They also have a killer dessert case.

That's all for now, but we're headed out to Amish country tomorrow!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day!

This is exactly the opposite of what my dad did on Father's Day! He has been training for a sprint distance triathlon, but due to lightning they turned it into a biathlon at the last minute: run 1.5 miles, bike 14 miles, and run another 1.5 miles.
I wish I could've been there to cheer him on! He's still training for an Olympic distance triathlon on August 1, though, and I plan to be his biggest fan. Well, I already am, but I plan on being there in person to cheer him on.
Happy Father's Day to the best dad a girl could ask for!

I'm definitely a mash up of my two parents: when I enrolled in college, I couldn't decide between a teaching degree (my mom's background) or a medical-related field (my dad's background). I obviously chose nursing, but I still think teaching could be in my future. I'm so fortunate to have such active, selfless, involved parents!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Run the Good Race 5k

I've been feeling much more confident on my runs lately, so I signed up for the Run the Good Race 5k today and thought THIS will be the day I run 3.1 miles without walking! Close, but not quite. I also wanted to finish in less than 33 minutes. Didn't do that either.

It was 80 degrees with 75% humidity this morning, but I didn't care about that. I warmed up and stretched a bit to work off some nervous energy. Ross took pictures to entertain himself since he wasn't running.

The first mile was mostly downhill. I felt great and kept having to slow myself down! Mile one took 10 minutes and 17 seconds and it felt easy! I was scared, though, because I knew what goes down must come up.

The second mile was pretty much level, but by then I started to feel Thursday's workout as my quads tightened up. It was some rough going between miles 1.7-2.0 but I still felt strong. Ran it in 10 minutes and 54 seconds. I was on track for a new personal record (well, at least a new post-high school record)!

But that third mile was almost all uphill! By about 2.5 miles, my pace had slowed to 12:30/mile. I told myself I didn't care about time anymore, just to keep running. But by 2.75 miles, I disappointed myself by walking for about 45 seconds. My legs felt like bricks and I could see that it was all uphill to the finish line! I completed mile 3 in 11 minutes and 31 seconds.

And then that last 0.15 miles took me a minute and 47 seconds! During which some guy I'd passed a while back (he was walking) broke all runner's etiquette and started to jog as we rounded the last corner, cutting me off. He continued to swerve around in front of me, crossing the finish line about 5 seconds ahead of me, and then he STOPPED IN THE CHUTE! Blah. Not quite the victorious day I thought it was going to be. But I keep reminding myself, I've come so far!

My goal of running 3 miles without walking may not coincide with an official 5k, but it will come in the next few weeks, and it will be a huge confidence-boosting milestone!

CSA Week 6

We didn't get much this week since it's that awkward time between spring harvest and summer crops. We did get a few new goodies, though!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

On becoming a runner

I had quite the grueling day at work yesterday, but when I crawled into bed after midnight I set my alarm for 8:30am so I could run before work. I know, normally running before work involves a 5am alarm, but I worked overtime today from 11am-7:30pm, so I had some daylight hours to burn before heading to the hospital. I finally got my groggy butt to the track around 9:30am for a quick workout.
I ran 1 mile in 10:19, walked 2 minutes, and ran another mile in 10:40. I'm no speed demon; these times are pretty fast for me. I usually run at about 11:30/mile, so I was pushing myself this morning. I'm ecstatic that I can run a consecutive mile! I definitely wasn't doing that a few weeks ago. I'm trying to stop focusing on unrealistic goals and just keep pushing myself (within friendly, non-injury limits of course) to improve regardless of where I'm "supposed" to be after 4 months of running 3 times a week!
I read this blog post today and I really loved it! The author is a vegeterian and marveling at how far he's come even since his pescaterian days. While making a tofu recipe, he notices that a sauce he's using tastes fishy (literally). He says:
I took a look at the label and read that it contained shrimp. For the tiniest fraction of a second, the old me, the still-eating-fish-every-once-in-a-while-and-certainly-not-giving-a-damn-about-shrimp me, thought, "Just go ahead and use it. You bought it, you're stuck with it. Nobody will even notice."
But immediately I knew that I couldn't do it. That there was no chance I'd do it. Exactly like when some tiny part of you really doesn't feel like running or going to the gym, but there's no question that you're going to do it.
Because it's part of you; that's who you are.
I'm no more than a wannabe vegeterian... it's the running part that got to me: you know you're a runner when some tiny part of you really doesn't feel like it, but there's no question that you're going to do it. I had plenty of reasons to avoid running this morning. Even though I put it off for an hour, I knew in the back of my mind that I was still going to go. There will be plenty other days when I will really have to psych myself up to run, but right now I'm enjoying the fact that I WANT to run! I don't want to go more than a few days without it. It really does make me feel better and best of all, it's becoming a part of me.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Here's the thing about nursing: it humbles you. We are extremely short-staffed this week (I feel like everyone's on vacation except me). People-pleaser that I am, I said I'd stay 4 hours late tonight and also work extra from 11am-7:30pm tomorrow.

I started regretting this choice around 2pm today. Now I've just spent 16 hours mostly on my feet, running from bed to bed. My feet are throbbing, my shoulders are cramping, my head is pounding and I want to pull my hair out. I had that baby again today. However, I'm getting to know her better and it's ever so slightly easier to calm her down. But at shift change, they split up my 2 baby assignment and gave me a baby who is even more difficult! It's like God said, "you're whining about that baby? Suck if up and try dealing with this baby!"

But that's not even the most humbling part. Here I am complaining about a headache and working overtime that I voluntarily (but probably not sanely) signed up for and, by the way, am getting paid extra for. And I hear a terrible, sad story about a baby's family that practically brings me to my knees. I remember interacting with this family recently as mom held the baby for the first time and I can't believe so much has changed in so little time. It only took a moment for their world to shatter and nothing will ever be the same.

It's a blessing in disguise that I see human fragility so frequently, and it saddens me that I've already grown calloused toward it. Part of it is a self-protection mechanism: too much sadness would break a person. But part of it is arrogance. I'm ashamed to admit that I still hear stories from time to time and think, "that would never happen to me." But when I meet the people behind the stories, it always hits a little closer to home when I realize they're just like me!

I really need to start working less overtime and LIVE my life! We've lived in KC 8 months as of today, and I still don't have friends. I still don't get out much. I still haven't found a church. At first I blamed it on night shift. I've been on day shift a little over a month now, and while I may not be completely back to my old self, I feel a little better. If I stopped picking up overtime, I could spend more time with the few people I do know here.

I inhaled a Panera pastry and sat in the break room in shock on my dinner break, my heart breaking over this poor family. Now I have heartburn and I know that even though I'm worn out, I won't sleep tonight. I'll be having fitful dreams about those who are so much more worn out and those who have much bigger battles to fight.

Some people would give anything to have the life I have. I need to stop hiding in the corner and live what I've been given, before it's gone!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Daily Affirmation (after one of those days)

Yesterday was one of those days. I mean, it was Monday after all. Things started off okay despite 5 hours of sleep and a heavy hand on the snooze button. I left for work on time. But when I got to my normal parking lot, it was already full. I realized that *fun parking changes* had begun.

I end up walking into work from my parking lot most days, which takes about 5-7 minutes depending on how awake I am. But NOW. Due to garage construction (which will supposedly someday improve the parking situation), those of us with yellow stickers have been pushed to the limit, quite literally. I now have to park in a gravel lot behind a post office and a fire station.

I'm all for parking far from the door to get a few extra steps in. But this adds an extra mile to my day (from my car to the hospital entrance is 0.51 miles and 85 feet uphill, according to I don't know whether to brag about this or whine about it. Yesterday, I whined.

By the time I found my way to the new lot and parked, I didn't have time to wait for the shuttle. I had to bust my butt uphill in the drizzling rain if I wanted to clock in on time. And the whole time I trudged uphill, the shuttle never did pass me. It took me 10 minutes to walk and I clocked in one minute late.

Since others were in the same position as me, it wasn't a big deal, but it still stressed me out. Then I saw my assignment and knew my day was not going to improve. I had that patient. I do not get along with that patient and I'm pretty sure it's mutual. I swear this baby starts to scream when it hears my voice.

Luckily, my day never did get as bad as it could have. It was just constantly busy and I was on my feet running back and forth between patients more often than not. I also spent my lunch break waiting in line at the pharmacy.

*Since I'm already on a roll, I would like to take this opportunity to ask my doctor friends a question: why do residents not only get to automatically park in the garage (for nurses, it's a 5 year wait list), but they also get a discount in the hospital cafeteria whereas I don't?!*

I digress. I have today off (thankfully) before another 3 shifts in a row, but I'm dragging. I'm playing on the computer in my running clothes, avoiding the inevitable. Then I saw this video and it made me laugh. You have GOT to listen to this. I guarantee this will brighten your day!

I guess it's time to go running. Since my iPod is broken, I will be singing, "I can do anything good, yeah, yeah, yeah, I can do anything good. Better than anyone. Better than anyone" to myself!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

CSA Week 5

We got the last of the strawberries this week and ate them in about two days! We also got some 'troutback' lettuce (a speckled version, related to Romaine) and arugula.

Sugarsnap peas.

Tri-color Swiss Chard.

Note farm chard...

...versus mine. Maybe it needs more sunlight!

My garden is growing slowly, but it's getting there! Some cheerful flowers popped up this week. The cucumbers plants are starting to bloom:

And we just bought these for looks :o)

Have a sunny weekend! I'm off to small-town Missouri for a family reunion.