Monday, April 30, 2007

At the beach....

Just a short post to let everyone know that I, Aubrey, will be at the beach this week. My cute and funny husband had to stay at home and win some bread. (Boooo.) So I'm here with some medical school friends celebrating being done!! Our first day has been gloriously uneventful.

That said, there won't be much posting, unless you can convince my cute and very funny husband to write a few posts.

Pictures to come later.....

Saturday, April 28, 2007

nephew update

Our nephews keep growing and getting cuter. Here's the proof:

Sam is laughing and trying to roll over....
And Jackson turned one!!

Just a few more weeks and they're going to be here!!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Last Day!!!

I realize it is tradition to have a picture of someone on their first day of school. I decided to start a new tradition. Here I am on my LAST DAY OF SCHOOL EVER!!

It's the last time I ever have to wear that short, white coat!!

And now I can actually start to make money, instead of just spending it on tuition!

(I guess you can tell I'm rather excited.)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Lessons from dermatology

This rotation, my very last in medical school, has been in dermatology. I've picked up some useful tidbits this month about how dermatologists like to treat certain skin conditions, and I thought I'd pass them along, for A LOT less than the dermatologists charge, too.

1. WEAR SUNSCREEN. I know this seems obvious, but trust me. Sun-damaged skin does NOT age well. It ages very, very poorly. People who spend their lives in the sun without protection end up looking very wrinkled with discoloration and spots on their faces and arms. You don't want to look like that. After spending just a few days in clinic, I decided I was OK with staying the pasty white color I've always been.

And when you apply sunscreen, apply lots of it. Very few people actually put enough on to protect themselves, which is why you should use at least SPF 15, if not 30. Here are some brands that the dermatologists I worked with recommend: For adults, Neutrogena with Helioplex - this sunscreen blocks both UVA and UVB rays, both of which are harmful. (Most sunscreens do not block against both.) For kids, especially very young children in whom you want to limit exposure to chemicals normally found in sunscreens that can cause allergies, try Blue Lizard - this works by reflecting the sun's rays, is waterproof, but shouldn't cause problems in people with sensitive skin.

2. Dry Skin - If you have very dry skin, or have a child with eczema, try putting on lotion just after you get out of the shower and aren't completely dry. By doing this, you lock the moisture from your shower into your skin before it evaporates and dries your skin out. One of the residents referred to this regimen as the "soak and grease." Good lotions that they are always recommending to people are: Cetaphil, Eucerin, or Neutrogena Norwegian Formula. For very dry and scaly skin, try Lac-hydrin lotion, which is just a little stronger. Especially for kids with eczema, the key to controlling it well is making sure the skin stays very hydrated.

3. Keep an eye on all moles and other skin lesions. The big things to worry about with moles is if they're changing, or if you see a new one. If you have a mole you've had your whole life and suddenly it looks different, please go and see a doctor. Likewise, if you or someone you know has a sore that just won't heal on their nose, forehead, ear, or other sun-damaged area, it could be cancerous. And young people can get these, too, so be self-aware. And if you start to notice something, please come in right away. Don't wait until you have a giant cauliflower-sized mass growing out of your nose, like one patient who came to clinic recently. (No kidding about the size.)

4. Steroid creams - Don't use these indescriminately unless you've been instructed to do so. They can cause permanent changes to your skin, especially thinner skin like that found on your face. Please don't borrow steroid creams from someone else and put them on your face. There are different types of steroid creams for your face that are more gentle.

5. Dandruff - Any shampoo like T-Gel or T-sal can be helpful. Sometimes it works best to use two different ones and rotate them. If these don't work, or if you find you're getting flaky skin around your nose or ears, you might benefit from a steroid cream to help clear this up, so visit your doctor.

I hope this info helps! Visit Shannon for more useful tips.


Yesterday I picked up my graduation regalia. As in the robe I will wear as I graduate from medical school and become a DOCTOR!!! I can't really believe it. These four years have gone by quickly. And now I only have 2 more days in medical school. Just 2 more days of going to the hospital here in Charleston to work. Then the fun begins.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Sabbath Rest

We had a nice restful Sabbath today.

We rested and went to a nearby park and watched lots of other people in a not-so-restful activity.

The finals of a criterium bike race were in Hampton Park, just a 1/2 mile from our house. We enjoyed the lovely weather, good company, and I was glad it wasn't me out there trying to bike really fast for a long time. Their uniforms looked really cool, though.

(sorry for the picture quality - all I had was my camera phone.)

Friday, April 20, 2007

A dream come true.

Today a life-long dream was fulfilled. (OK, so maybe I haven't been dreaming about it my whole life, but it has definitely been a life goal for a few years.)

Let me just say that I realize I am a somewhat of a nerd. Or possibly an outright nerd. And I'm completely OK with it.

I LOVE NPR. I love to listen to all the interesting talk shows that come on during the day. I love how they find all kinds of interesting topics and invite experts and have lots of thoughtful commentary. When I was studying for my boards, I listened to NPR excessively. I would listen to our local talk station (as in, this one doesn't play classical music during the day, but news/talk shows) ALL DAY. It was great.

For years now, I have dreamed of calling in to one of these shows and making a comment on the air. I have even tried a few times. But I was never able to get through.

Until today. Today I thought I'd give it another try. The story today was about depression, and this psychotherapist came on and talked about how he doesn't think that depression should be "medicalized" and that calling it an "illness" can be bad. He doesn't have a problem with using medication, but he just doesn't think it should be called an "illness." I disagreed with what he said, and thought I might be able to add something intelligent to the conversation.

So I dialed. And then, when it was busy, I dialed again. But finally, after lots of busy signals, it rang. And this guy said, "Hi. Thanks for calling. What is your name?" After getting my name and location, he asked what I wanted to say, presumably to decide if I was interesting enough to get on the air. Apparently I didn't sound like a total idiot, and was put on hold for another five or ten minutes. Before putting me on hold, the phone answering guy told me not to say "Good Morning" when my call was answered since the show doesn't air everywhere in the morning. He informed me that "Hello" and "Hi, Jane" are both acceptable greetings. After being on hold, another girl came on to tell me that I was "in the queue" and again reminded me that "Good Morning" is forbidden and "Hi, Jane" or "Hello" is a good way to start the conversation. As I was on hold, the radio show was playing as the background music. Suddenly, I hear the host say, "And now we have a caller from Charleston, SC. Hi, you're on the air."

And I replied, "Hello. Uh. Hi, Jane." (Apparently I was listening when they told me what to say.) Then I proceeded with, "Thanks for taking my call." (Being somewhat of a connoisseur of talk radio, I knew this was a good way to start.) Then I began my comment in earnest. I was so nervous during this call, I thought people might be able to tell in my voice. But I made my comment, and was thanked by the host. Then I hung up.

I actually made a comment on air on a nationally broadcast show!! Me!! I would guess at least 50 people heard me.

And while I was doing this, I was sitting inside the locker room in the gym, waiting to go and swim. At least I was dressed, though. I would feel totally wierd making a comment on a national radio show while nude.

I just listened to my comment again from NPR's website. I was worried I might have sounded super nervous or downright stupid, but after listening to my comment, I think it was well said and possibly even thoughtful. I still agree with myself.

You can go and listen here. Play it with the player of your choice, and my comment begins around 39:00. Or you could listen to some at the beginning to get the feel of the show, just so you know what I was reacting to. Although you probably won't care, since you're probably not enough of a dork to enjoy NPR. But that's ok.

Thursday, April 19, 2007


Continuing my recent adventures in bread making, last night I decided to make a Challah! (is it more proper to say "make some Challah?") Challah is a traditional Jewish bread, although in a blind taste test, I might not identify it as particularly Jewishy tasting. But it is delicious. And pretty. It's some of the best looking bread around, it really flaunts its stuff. Between this and bagels I'd say those Jews really know what's what when it comes to making yummy bread products.

Here is my Challah before going into the oven...

And here is the finished product, see how good looking this bread is?

That bread is so pretty its almost hard to tell who is better looking in this next pic, me or the bread. (ok, me by a long shot, but still.. it wasn't a fair comparison for the bread.)

Mmmmmm... smells so good.......

Lesson of the day

I finally got my own pair of actual bike shorts. What I learned today is that these shorts do NOT flatter my body type. Come to think of it, I'm not sure they are flattering for ANY body type. These were obviously invented by a man.

I can honestly say, though, that I will proudly don these shorts each and every time I ride, since I have just returned from a short little jaunt and my behind still has sensation. Nice, huh?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Windy City

It was a little windy this weekend in Charleston.
This is the view down our driveway. Yes, that is in fact a stop light which apparently got twisted around. So now we have our own personal stop light for our driveway. I guess now it's safe to leave.
Better slow down, since it's turning yellow....

Better Salads

In my recent quest for healthier eating, I've been eating lots of salads. In some ways, I think I"ve become a tasty and healthy salad expert. But I do not want to hoard these ideas, so I will share them with you. Here are a few ideas about how to make your salad better for you, and tastier:

1. Use spinach instead of iceberg lettuce. Since it's bagged, you can just put it right into the bowl, making salads more convenient. Spinach is so much healthier than regular lettuce I just don't see the point in buying the other anymore. It's full of vitamins A and C, and also has some Calcium and iron. Popeye was no fool.

2. Add some nuts. First of all, the crunch makes a pleasant addition. Second, they are tasty. And third, they are full of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which are the good fats that can help improve cholesterol and are good for the brain.

3. There are tons of very flavorful, low- and non-fat dressings out there. Branch out from the usual ranch or italian. This makes the salad more exciting, which helps it compete with things I sometimes would rather eat, like french fries or homemade biscuits.

4. Add some cottage cheese. I have never been a big fan of cottage cheese. I used to always think it was gross. But a few spoonfuls in a salad are awesome. It doesn't have an overwhelming flavor, but adds tons of protein and also some calcium. And nonfat cottage cheese is low in calories. Plus, you'll be eating "curds and whey" as it used to be called, and any food found in a nursery rhyme seems good to me.

Go here for more tips.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

My best craft ever....

Finally, finally, finally I can post a photo of my best craft ever. I made the first one a long while ago, but only recently did everyone whom I wanted to surprise receive them. So here he is, trying to keep warm in this unseasonably cold spring.
But soon, summer will be here and he can hit the beach.
He also really loves to swim, but doesn't love when the salt water gets in his eyes. (These are multi-purpose goggles, so he can also use them when he goes skiing.)

I really amused myself this time. I created the pattern for this little guy by modifying this one .

(And don't worry, Melanie, I already made Sam's penguin goggles and sunglasses, but just haven't stuck them in the mail yet. You'll get them in time for summer, though.)

It's going to be sad next year when I don't have as much time to play.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

My favorite kind of Saturday.....

Today I got one of my favorite kinds of saturdays.

It started with a somewhat early rise, around 7:15. I actually did a tiny bit of cleaning, then made breakfast. Then Erin came over and went on a bike ride for around 45 or 50 minutes. Unlike last week, there was almost no wind, and so we didn't get passed by anyone, and definitely not by anyone running or walking.

Then we did a short, but fairly quick 5K. Even with our bike ride, we still did just over 3 miles in less than 26 minutes. So we were feeling good.

Then we went to the Farmer's market, possibly my favoritest saturday morning activity in Charleston, bought some local fruit and veggies, and shared an omelet with tomatoes, pesto, spinach and cheese. And we got delicious coffee. Yum all around. We got to walk through the market and made sure we sampled everything, especially all the different kinds of homemade jams. I didn't try one of the mini-doughnuts that I love, but maybe next week.

Now, if I could just get Jeff to come with me, it would have been perfect.

The most exciting part was when we were walking to the market, and suddenly we saw a guy on a motorcycle that had a sidecar!!! Naturally, we got very excited, and our loud excitement was quickly noticed by the driver. He pulled over, offered to take us on a ride, and Erin jumped in to go around the block. (He told me I could sit on a seat behind him, but I declined since I had no helmet and was wearing flip-flops.) As he and Erin drove away, I was suddenly left thinking, "I hope he brings her back...." But she did at least have her cell phone, so I figured it couldn't be too bad. Although getting into any form of transportation with a total stranger is probably not the wisest idea. (Apparently those lessons we learned about strangers in kindergarten didn't stick very well.) In a few short minutes, thankfully, they came back.

Don't you know this guy bought this thing hoping someday he would be stopped by a beautiful woman who wanted a ride? He seemed quite excited that his master plan was finally working.

If we ever see him again, maybe I'll ask for a ride. (Because how many chances do you get to ride in a sidecar?)

Thursday, April 12, 2007

An Experiment in Manliness

A couple of weeks ago I decided that it was more manly to drink my coffee black rather than dressed up all pretty with cream and suger. This was unfortunate considering that black coffee tastes like hot, bitter sludge. But ne'ertheless, other people had learned to like it, so I figured I could too.

I started by slowly weaning myself from the delicious individual serving size french vanilla creamers we have at work. First I started just using half of the little cup o' goodness. It didn't make too much difference, the coffee was still good. I was making good progress. By the end of the first week I was totally off the creamer, and drinking coffee with nothing but a packet of sweet-n-low. I was halfway to improving my manliness quotient.

Last week I began the final push. I started by limiting my artificial sweetner input. I would only use half of the little packet. Not bad. The coffee maintained some sweetness, and though I missed the yummy french vanilla flavoring, I kept a stiff upper lip and told myself that this was the right thing, yeah even the manly thing, to do. I even made sure that my coworkers noticed that I was no longer doctoring up my cup of joe with all those made-for-weaklings condiments.

By Thursday I thought I was ready. I poured a cup of coffee and walked back to my office, boldly bypassing the condiment counter. Pure black coffee. A hot steaming cup with no foofoo additives. Nothing in my hand but styrofoam and pure, hot, black, bitter, disgusting undrinkable coffee. I couldn't do it. Perhaps I had tried to wean myself too quickly. Perhaps I should have added a step for regular creamer between the french vanilla and nothing.

This morning at work I poured a cup of coffee and proudly doctored it up, gave it the works. Yummmm. Sweet, delicious, french vanillaey foofoo coffee. And I was not ashamed. I decided that black coffee is for those who can't handle their flavored creamers.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

I ate lunch at Amen Corner

I spent my Easter a little differently this year. I was given a free ticket to the Masters. The final round. The deciding round of the most prestigious tournament of the year with Tiger Woods in the final group. It was awesome.

Even just walking around Augusta National Golf Club was an experience in itself, completely apart from the tournament being played. It is, after all, the most exclusive, most famous, most pristine, most beautiful golf club in the world. Most of the second nine holes I recognized from seeing them on TV. The first nine I'm not so familiar with.

We started by walking past the clubhouse and magnolia lane. Then we headed to the practice green, where Vijay Singh and Phil Mickelson were taking some putting practice before starting their rounds. Then we watched a few groups tee off on the first, including Craig Stadler, "The Walrus." Then I wanted to see more of the course, so we walked down to number 16, the famous par 3 over water. We watched Ben Crenshaw play the hole, and I noted the spot where Tiger chipped in from in 2005, when his Nike ball teetered ever so slightly on the edge of the hole before dropping in. After Crenshaw played we walked over to 13, where we watched Fred Couples play the hole.

At that point the doctor friend who invited me and I split up to watch on our own. He wanted to stay in the bleachers at 13 for a while, I wanted to go see Amen Corner. For those non-golf fans out there, Amen Corner is the second half of 11, 12 and the beginning of 13. Its a corner of the course where patrons (fans) are not allowed too close to the action, so the players get a little reprieve.

I decided to get some lunch, which was a pleasant suprise. Apparently one Masters tradition is that they don't raise the price of concessions. So I got an egg salad sandwhich, chips and a soda for $3.50. I got my lunch and staked out a spot in the bleachers over-looking Amen Corner. I was positively giddy! I was eating an egg salad sandwhich at Amen Corner. As I came around the corner of the bleachers and saw the 12th green for the first time, I felt exactly like I felt the first time I visited Wrigley Field as a kid, when we walked through the gates into the seats, and saw the playing field for the first time. What a feeling. This beautiful, pristine green, on the far side of Rae's Creek, a bunker in the front and in the back, just in from of Azaleas and Dogwoods in bloom. Hogan's bridge just off to the side. I was truly in awe. The grass at Augusta is always impeccable. And not just on the golf course either, every blade of grass, from the 18th green, to the sidewalk to the bathrooms was perfect. I sat there at Amen Corner eating lunch and watched Jose Maria Olozabal come through.

As the afternoon progressed I watched all the leaders come through the 10th green. Tiger's approach shot landed in the right bunker, and I had a prime seat to watch him play out. After he and Appleby passed I went over to 16 and watched all the leaders go by. We saw Zach Johnson sink his birdie putt and pump his fist Tiger-style:

I was a little off to the left, so you can't see me in the photo. After this I walked over to the 18th green, but the crowd was so enormous that even I, at 6-foot-3, couldn't see anything. So I milled around for a while looking for famous people, then I started to leave. Although on my way out I nearly bumped right into Tiger Woods. He and his entourage were walking from the scoring tent to the clubhouse. He got promptly mobbed by cameras for an interview, and boy was he Mr. GrumpyPants. As though 2nd place just wasn't good enough!

They have a strict no-cameras rule, which was downright criminal, with so many things to take pictures of, so sadly I don't have more pics to post. But all told it was a pretty incredible day. I can't wait for the next time someone gives me a free ticket to the Masters! On Sunday. With Tiger in the lead.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Why I'm glad I'm in the PCA....

I just watched an ETV documentary about Jim Jones and his "People's Temple."

Scary. And exceedingly disturbing. It's nice to know that it would be extremely hard for someone to get so off base in the PCA that they would talk about how the Bible isn't "a powerful book" and then proceed to throw it like a football across the room. (Which he actually did according to a former member who was one of the 7 or so people to survive the massacre.)

And then there is the whole group suicide. Which I'm pretty sure also couldn't happen in the PCA. It seems like at some point, someone would have brought some charges against this guy at presbytery, he would have been booted out and defrocked, without a congregation to continue leading astray.

Stories like this one make you really thankful for church discipline and a form of government that gives oversight to lots of Godly men who prayerfully consider issues and try to maintain good, biblical teaching in the church.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

The Lord is Risen!

He is Risen Indeed!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Bike Riding

I took my Christmas present road bike out for its first good ride on the highway. (I've ridden a good bit in a park near our house, but never out on roads that actually go somewhere.)

Armed only with our helmets and sunglasses, my running buddy and I struck out today and actually went somewhere. We rode across the Cooper River Bridge, and then around the old village in Mt. Pleasant. On our way back, we decided to do what real bikers do and stopped at a little bakery for a muffin and a warm drink. (We did in fact NEED a warm drink, since the beautiful spring weather we've been having disappeared just in time for Easter to give us highs today only in the 50s, so by the time we got to the cafe, we really needed to thaw out our toes and fingers.)

Then the fun began. While we were riding around the old village, the wind decided to shift directions. (On our ride out on the bridge, we were riding almost, but not quite, into the wind.) And on our way back, we were riding up a rather steep hill, directly INTO the wind (that's right-we were riding into the wind going both directions. Nice huh?). I should have known it it would be a struggle when the electronic sign at the bottom warned cars about a high wind advisory.

And then it was a struggle. We were going soo slowly. I knew it was bad when a runner jogged past us. (No kidding. To our credit, though, I say he was really booking it, because getting passed on your bike by a slow runner would be WAY too embarrassing.) Then we almost got blown over at the top. On the downhill, I couldn't even coast the wind was blowing so bad. I still had to pedal the entire way.

But we didn't get hit by any cars, and I didn't accidentally brake with the wrong hand and get thrown over the handlebars either off the bridge or into oncoming traffic, which is what I was picturing this morning in my head before I got up. So I'd call our ride a success.

(And here we are, looking very sporty. That's me on the left, and Erin on the right.)

Thursday, April 05, 2007

A Maundy Thursday prayer

Come now, O Spirit of Christ, brood over these bodily things, this bread and this wine. May they be for us your body and blood, vibrant with life, healing, renewing, and making us whole.

And embrace us with your life-giving power, that as bread and wine are made one with us, we may become one with you, bone of your bone, flesh of your flesh.

So, as we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim the mystery of our faith:

Christ in us the hope of glory.


Wednesday, April 04, 2007

House News

Jeff and I are excited to announce that we found a house!!! We made an offer, and after a little haggling (they demanded that we keep their nice, new washer and dryer), we came to an agreement and we are now under contract!! So we are definitely moving to Greenwood. (Not that it wasn't definite before, but now we will have a place to put all our stuff.) Here are some photos:

And possibly my favorite part, the master bath: But first, a reminder of what our current master (and only) bathroom looks like:
And now the new:

When you compare our future bathroom with our current bathroom, you get a much better idea why I'm so excited. There is counter space! and a nice tub! two beautiful sinks! level floors! new fixtures! natural light! a nice window! a big mirror! that is right behind the sink!! and even enough space to turn around!!!

And in our new house we will have a whole two and a half bathrooms!! That's three total toilets, and two showers!!! Jeff and I could both use the toilet AT THE SAME TIME and still have ONE WHOLE toilet leftover! And the bathrooms all look nice, with nice tile floors and lovely white gleaming countertops. I guess you never imagined that a person could get so excited about a bathroom. But I can.

And when I think about the fact that the lovely wooden fence means that we will have space for a dog, I think I might burst from excitement. (Hopefully not in the new house, since that would leave quite a mess on my walls.)

Monday, April 02, 2007

Eventful weekend

Wow...lots has happened since our last post. We've had a very busy weekend of househunting, but more on that later.

For the 4th year in a row, I completed the Cooper River Bridge Run.

Here are the super speedy Kenyans. I was right up there racing with them, but somehow this picture doesn't show it. :) I guess somehow Jeff just missed getting me in this photo since I was soo fast. (Ok, ok, so there may have been a few dozens (or possibly thousands) of people between me and them.)

So maybe I can't quite compete with the Kenyans, but I did get my best time yet for a 10K. In the four years of medical school (which was really when I started running) I've taken 6 minutes off my time. Although I didn't win my division like last year, I think I did pretty well. Sadly, I went to check my time on the website, and for some reason my timing chip didn't work and so I have no official time. But it was somewhere around 54 minutes, which was my goal.

It's been a long time since I've been as sore as I was yesterday. Watching me hobble down steps and into and out of houses all day was probably an amusing sight. I had to kind of sidle down sideways since stepping directly forward was nearly impossible.

I guess that's just the price I have to pay for my speedy finish. :)

And check back tomorrow for more house hunting news.