Saturday, January 31, 2009


Aubrey and I just discovered our new favorite breakfast place. Drumroll please......

Grits & Groceries

Its awesome. We went this morning with friends Laura Lee and Marty. Its about a forty minute drive, completely in the middle of nowhere. Its about halfway between Due West and Anderson, for those of you in the know.

First of all the building. Its just a small, unassuming building on the corner of two small country roads. It has a gravel parking lot, but a front yard in front of the building. We got there around 11:30 this morning and the place was packed out. We had about a 15 minute wait. So we got some coffee which was set up out front for people waiting, and stood around the real wood fire going on the front lawn. Also we walked across the street and fed grass to the baby goats.

We started with an appetizer of small apple fritters served with a caramel dipping sauce. They were doughy little bites of deliciousness. I got "Eggs Elizabeth" for brunch proper. Elizabeth is one of the owners, apparently she used to have a restaurant in the french quarter in New Orleans, but decided to move to a rural location just before Katrina. Anyways, it was two slices of grilled "homemade" french bread, slathered with butter, topped with ham, poached eggs, and hollandaise sauce. It was amazing. Aubrey and Marty both got the shrimp and grits. The grits were very good and creamy. As you would expect from a place that includes "grits" in the name. Laura Lee got french toast stuffed with some manner of fruit compote.

We were almost stymied at the end of the meal when we found out they only accept cash and checks, no plastic. None of us had brought cash. The owner gave us his address and happily offered to let us mail in a check. But we were not in a hurry so Marty and I drove back to an ATM in Due West and got some cash.

We decided that we will be returning often, and when you all come visit us, we will take you there.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Pardon the construction

I've been playing around on the site this afternoon, trying to change the design. Since we haven't actually been on Ashley Avenue in 18 months, it's about time. Hopefully I'll be able to tweak a few more things.

Maybe I should have paid better attention in my HTML class senior year in college.....

Seven Quick Takes Friday

1. Running twice in about 13 hours is a good way to give yourself sore legs, and make your second run A LOT slower than the first. For why I felt the need to run twice in 13 hours, see #2. I may try to add a swim in later this afternoon, too.

2. Outback's Nutter Butter Peanut Butter Pie is really, really good. And I really don't want to know how many calories in it. Outback's Chocolate Thunder from down Under is also really good. But surprisingly, I think I liked the PB one better. And please don't ask me how eating dessert at Outback fits in with my recent attempt to eat healthier.

3. Instead of just telling you it's positive, the ovulation kit we have shows you.
4. I spent almost all day on Wednesday in the operating room. (As a doctor, not a patient.) I quickly remembered why I didn't become a surgeon.

5. I'm in my continuity clinic this morning. I got to see one of my older lady patients who is so cute I just want to give her a big hug all the time and adopt her as my grandmother. I got to oversee an intern doing an ultrasound on one of my OB patients. I had a follow-up visit with the wife of one of my other patients that I saw last week. I diagnosed an enlarged thyroid (I think.) I really love family medicine.

6. After being severely mocked by my family because one time I made coffee that was a little too strong, I am finally gaining confidence in my coffee making ability. Of course, true to my nature, I do not actually measure anything, I just sort of eyeball it. Anyone have a good formula for how they make coffee?

7. Inspired by Megan's post, I took the test and think I'm an ENFP. Although it said I'm only a slightly expressed perceiving personality, so maybe I didn't answer the questions exactly right, because I am a lot more than a slightly expressed "P". Just ask my husband. Or see #6.

For more Quick Takes, go to Jennifer's Conversion Diary, a great, thoughtful blog I've recently started reading.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

3 Things

1. Ever since leaving St. Louis, I haven't found a radio station that I have really liked. But now I have discovered Pandora can consider this a free ad. It's awesome! It's like a digital radio station, but you get to personalize it to your exact tastes. You type in a song, or band that you like, and it designs a station of all similar music. You can vote each particular song up or down to fine tune the station. And you can make as many stations as you like. This is great. And Pandora has no ads, or dj's. Just music.

2. The other day I was watching tv, and there were some ads for cold medicine feature people skiing. On snow. And I thought to myself, "that's weird, I wonder why they're still using winter-themed commercials." Then I remembered that it is still January, and they were probably playing the commercial in a larger market than just South Carolina.

3. There is a construction company using dynamite somewhere near our house. I can't imagine what they are possibly doing. But once a day for the last week there has been a house rattling boom in the early afternoon. The first time it happened I went outside to see if a truck had crashed into our house. The house rattled that much. But now I have learned to recognize the distinctive series of police sirens that preceeds the blasts, so I am no longer caught off guard. But Lucy still goes berserk.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Singing praises....

We got some very good news over the weekend.

In addition to the other big struggle going on right now, we have also had a second - nearly just as distressing and discouraging. We haven't written about it because it has to do with Jeff's job situation and could affect future employment - things that are not good to throw out on the internet. Those of you who know us personally have likely heard us talking about it.

It had been dragging on for a while, and was definitely adding to the stress and heartache I already was struggling with. Just when I had all but lost hope, that battle is over. Without even a shot being fired. We were gearing up for what we thought would be a big fight, then poof! Minds were changed, battle lines abandoned, inexplicably.

Well, I guess I would say "inexplicably" only if I didn't know the God we serve. So many of you have been praying for Jeff, and this situation, and I have been reminded that God does hear our prayers. And answers them - sometimes in the most surprising and unexpected ways. So thanks for your prayers. In the midst of everything going on, it was such a blessing and a strong reminder to me that God is working. He is good. His timing, though confusing, is perfect.

It was just what my heart needed to remember.

Isaiah 40:3-5
3 A voice cries: "In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD;
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
4 Every valley shall be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
and the rough places a plain.
5 And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed,
and all flesh shall see it together,
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken."

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Photo of the Day

Note: this is the photo of the day. However, its presence should not be taken to promise, declare, or imply that future days will also have a photo. This might end up being the photo of the week, or the month. There is no way to know.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Better broccoli works for me.

I haven't posted a tip in a long while, but I did recently start doing something different that has completely changed my existence.

Ok, that may be a slight exaggeration, but I will say that there's no going back.

My life-changing tip: roasted broccoli.

I have always been a big fan of broccoli, but honestly it's not the most exciting veggie. Especially steamed. Which was the only way I'd ever eaten it. It was fine (a little blah), and something we'd eat regularly, but never very exciting.

Well, a friend a few months turned me onto roasted broccoli and I've never looked back.
Here is how I make it:
Chop broccoli the way you normally would to steam it.
Put in in a bowl, add a little olive oil, garlic salt, and pepper, put on baking tray.
Roast at 400 for 15-20 minutes.

Yum-mo!! Not only is it healthy, but it's delicious!
This also works great for cauliflower. And I just cannot tell you how much better and more flavorful this is than steamed.

Better tasting veggies work for me.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

It Snew!!!

We probably won't be making a snow man or anything today, but still, it snew! We are quite excited. Some of the local schools are even starting late today, which is a tad ridiculous. Now all of you in the wintery northern climes can see that we in SC also have to deal with the fierce depth of winter. Good thing we have plenty of canned goods here in the house.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

I am a PC

Aubrey and I finally broke down and bought a new computer this week. Here are the salient talking points...

1. After much discussion and debate we decided on a PC over a Mac. Price was the primary consideration. Available software was the second consideration. I think we got a really good deal, and it sure is nice to having a fully functional computer again.

2. We bought it from Circuit City late Thursday night. And Friday morning we saw that Circuit City announced it will be closing all its stores effective immediately. Hmmm. Oh well, no regrets. According to CC the warranty is covered by a third party so it will still be good.

3. I was amazed at how much computer you can get for so little money these days. Wow... technology. What will they think of next?

4. Finally, all this replacing of things (car last fall, now computer) has made me realize how much I tend to resist change. Even changes from cheap thing to nice thing. I tend to stick with what I got. Por Exemplo: Until last fall I was still driving the same car I got when I was sixteen years old. We were still using the same laptop despite its host of problems, such as being hooked up to an external monitor because the screen was broken. I still wear the same golf shoes I bought in high school. I still use the email account Keith helped me set up in the summer of 1997. I'm only on my second cell phone, which isn't quite as impressive, but there was an unfortunate "incident" with the first one at the beach. All of which to say, I tend to use things until they are absolutely unuseable before I replace them.

5. Hooray for new computer!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Dark Days

I do not cope well with disappointment. This is something I get to realize every month. People ask me how I'm doing. Most days, thankfully, the answer is "good." Even occasionally"great." God is good to me.

This week, though, we've had a few doozies. Suffice it to say that I discovered, for the 17th month in a row, that I am still not pregnant. And no matter how strongly I try to convince myself that I know I'm not, just couldn't be, pregnant..... well... I continue to be crushed to find out it's true. The tricks my body plays on me just seem cruel - the thousand little feelings and twinges that all lead to a big "What if???" only to be quickly followed by an even bigger "NO WAY."

And the dark days come. Unbidden. And the questions and doubts start:
What am I being punished for?
How can I take this any longer?
What should we do now?
It's because I would be a bad mom.
It's because I became a doctor.
What is wrong with me?
We're never going to have children.
Why is she pregnant and not me?
What have I done wrong?
Where are you?
What is your purpose?

Thursday I stood during my postcall morning (I didn't have anywhere else I needed to be) on the roof of the hospital and watched the sunrise. (Another seemingly cruel circumstance that conspired with everything else to make these dark days a little darker was the fact that I was on OB call that day.) I stood there, in the freezing cold, taking photo after photo of this huge ball of flame slipping slowly above the horizon, changing the dark blue sky to orange.

And I thought of the passage in Job where God answers Job's questions with more questions:
Where were you.....? And watching this amazing, every day happening, I thought to myself that he should have asked Job where he was when the sun rose every morning. Of course, it turns out, he did.

"Have you commanded the morning since your days began, and caused the dawn to know its place, that it might take hold of the skirts of the earth, and the wicked be shaken out of it?

Where is the way to the dwelling of light, and where is the place of darkness, that you may take it to its territory and that you may discern the paths to its home? You know, for you were born then, and the number of your days is great!

Job 38:12, 13, 19-21

And I guess standing there, it was no longer a story about Job. It was about me. And God answering me out of the whirlwind. I have no more answers than I did before. I'm still sad, and frustrated, and let down, and perplexed, and even a little angry.

But it's good to know he's here in the whirlwind with me.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I heart snow.

Everything just looks better in the snow.

Handmade Christmas, part 2.

I had a little too much fun making felt food for my niece and nephew. This was probably the funnest thing to sew. And you can bet that felt food will be making more appearances around holidays. Just so you know, the top picture is bacon, eggs, and toast with jam. The second one is two sandwiches, one with turkey, cheese, tomato, lettuce, and the other one with PB and J. And the bottom is pizza (which hopefully was obvious) with pepperoni, mushroom, and green pepper pieces, none of which are sewn down so it can be made in numerous flavors.

There were a few other things I made that I forgot to photograph, including two journals (one for Jeff's mom, and one for his dad) based on this idea. They both write lots of notecards, so I made them each a little cloth folder to keep a pen, notecards, envelopes, and stamps, to make it easy to slide into luggage or just pick up and take to the coffee shop. I'm very pleased to say that the one I made for Jeff's dad is easily the most manly thing I've ever sewn, made of blue and dark brown corduroy with a magnetic snap to close. Maybe Mom will read this and can send me a photo of them to post here. We then filled them with some homemade notecards of some of the photos we've taken over the years. A rather well-executed gift, if I do say so myself.

I must admit, even though it creates added stress, I love the time spent creating gifts for the people I love. Maybe next year I'll get started a little sooner. And since I totally scored this book for Christmas (Thanks D & H!!) I now have some more ideas for next year!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Jeff's Rules O' Life

Some might call them idiosyncracies, I call them just plain smart. Three incontrovertible rules gleaned from years of experience. They are as follows...

1. Never buy a book with a picture of the author on the cover. Caveat: If the author is dead, then it becomes acceptable. But no living authors should have their picture on the cover of their book. See for yourself if this is not true. How many great books have a picture of the living author on the cover?

2. Never buy more groceries than you can carry in one trip. For the many years I lived in upstairs apartments this was a hard and fast rule. I admit I fudge on it occasionally now that our garage is so close to the kitchen. Although with plastic bags and resilient fingers one can carry quite a few bags in one trip.

3. Never, ever, ought one to wait for someone to get in their car and back out of a close parking spot if another spot is available, even if it is far away. Aubrey thinks I'm weird for this, but I just won't do it. I think its a pride thing.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

More Christmas photos!

Having a nicer camera apparently means I take more pictures. For instance, I am currently in the middle of downloading 262 pictures that I took while I was in Colorado. That's about 50 photos a day. Apparently I went a little photo crazy while I was there. But with a cute nephew and niece, it was hard to stop. Here's a few highlights:

No kidding, it just took over an hour to get all the photos off the camera. Now that it's done, maybe I can start to do some important things around here, like take down the Christmas tree...

Monday, January 05, 2009

Hello 2009

We're back in SC with lots of pictures on our camera, clothes to unpack, and some fun new presents. Also some post-vacation fatigue (PVF, for short) as we didn't get home until 1:30. (Thank you, flight delays!) And of course, work started for me at 7am today. Although I didn't, ahem, get there until 7:45.

Colorado was great, of course, and wintery. I had even prayed for snow, which I realize is silly, but I love snow and was hoping to see some before coming home. And wouldn't you know it, Saturday night, the flakes started drifting down and we awoke a 2 or so inches of the pristine white stuff on Sunday morning. Just enough to remind me what a great God I serve, who cares about me enough to give me some snow, but not so much that Dave and Hannah had bad roads for their drive home to Kansas.

Thank you, Father! Which is probably the best thing to write to start off this new year - not focusing on things I want to change, but instead reminding myself of the beauty and blessings that surround me.