Monday, June 29, 2009

Bounty - Tell Garden '09

Tell garden '09 is getting into full swing. Its a lot different than Tell garden '08 was. Partly because I was smart and planted things differently, partly because I was lazy and got a late start on my tomatoes, and partly because certain things are growing better and certain things worse than last year. Sadly, because of the late start it will be a few more weeks before we enjoy the rich red bounty of homegrown tomatoes. But I do have three new varieties going that we didn't do last year, so it will be worth the wait.

In the meantime, here is tonight's bounty...

the three on the right are cucumbers, a few green beans in the middle (yes, I did try to write our name with the beans), and a whole slew of zucchini. We're having trouble keeping up with the zucchini production. We've already eaten 6 or 7 of them in various preparations, and as you can see, we still have 7 in the kitchen, including this monster...

Aubrey asked me to take a shot of the zucchini without her in it, because she didn't think she looked cute enough to go on the blog. So naturally, I took her picture. Isn't she cute?

Sunday, June 28, 2009


I've had a horrible week. I've been on call 3 times in 7 days, plus another extra work shift requiring me to be at the hospital until 10:30 pm. I'm on call now. I have been completely frustrated, stressed out, and exhausted this week. There is a lot that I don't understand right now.

What to do when you feel like this? Try reading some John Piper.

"Trust does not demand more than God has told us. And he has given us immeasurably precious promises that he is in control of all things and only does good to his children. And he has given us a very thick book where we can read story after story after story about how he rules for the good of his people.

Let’s trust him and not ask for what our brains cannot contain."

Trying hard to remember that today.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

7 very quick takes.

The ultra short edition...

1. I ate Thai food the other night... in Greenwood!! Ethnic food has come to town. It was delicious, fairly inexpensive, and here in town! I cannot explain how excited I am to finally have good ethnic food here. Now if only we'd get a good bookstore, I could live here permanently.

2. I have felt so exhausted being back on call every fourth night. Did I feel this tired all of last year?? Apparently I've blocked it out. One more reason to be glad I'm almost a third year - just one call a month.

3. There is almost nothing quite as lovely as fresh peaches cut up, being made into jam. The yellowy-orangey-reddish hues are just stunningly beautiful. And tasty. Pictures (and recipe) to follow later.

4. I admitted someone to the hospital Monday night with blood pressure so high it could not even accurately be measured on our equipment. That means his systolic pressure (the number on top) was OVER 320!! I didn't even know that was possible. Miraculously, he felt fine. I almost expected to go into the room and find his body exploded.

5. I become a third year resident officially on July 1. It seems like the time has flown by. I'm excited, but also a little scared since now I really need to start looking for a job. It stresses me out just thinking about it. (Which is why I currently am just ignoring it.)

6. A bug flew in my eye while I was running the other night and scratched my cornea. It hurt like the dickens. I didn't think it was possible to have a bug-related eye injury. Aren't eyelashes supposed to stop stuff like that?

7. I was at Bible Study on Monday night with 7 other women - 1 with a newborn, FIVE who were pregnant, and one single girl. Sometimes I hate my life. Sigh.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Healthier Frosting

Since I've been on OB again, I'm back on call every fourth night, which means my blog has been a little neglected. Since my post-call, pre-call brain can't come up with much of substance to write, I thought I'd post a recipe.

I love dessert. A little too much. But in my recent kick of healthier eating I've been looking for some better-for-you sweet things to satisfy my sweet tooth. My most recent discovery is a fairly tasty frosting that is much lower in fat than usual. This week I used it to frost some chocolate-zucchini mini-cupcakes (maybe a post for a later day?) that were delicious.

As an aside, this is not a pretty frosting. Your cupcakes or cake will not look like something from a magazine, but you can rest in knowing that you can enjoy them without feeling guilty about what they will do to your hips.

Guiltless orange cream cheese frosting
8 oz. low-fat or fat free cream cheese
1/2 c. low fat cottage cheese
1/2 c. splenda
1/2 to 1 c. powdered sugar
Juice and zest from 1/2 orange
1/2 t. Vanilla

Mix together cheeses and sugar/splenda until smooth-ish. You may need to add a little more sugar depending on your taste. Then add orange juice, zest, and vanilla and blend until incorporated. If it is too thick, you can add a little more cottage cheese.

Frost to your heart's content! It goes really well with chocolate. Or just eat it on some fruit. Or to top off some crepes.

Tasty and healthy?? That definitely works for me.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

How to know if your husband watches Food Network.

1. You decide to make grilled chicken sandwiches for dinner. He thinks to whip up a little garlic-dill-lime mayo to go on top. (I don't really even like mayo, but that was perfect.)

2. After dinner, he realizes he wants to make some dessert. His choice? Crepes. That's right - he makes delicious crepes, then fills them with a smear of nutella and strawberries.

This is easily the biggest benefit to having cable TV.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Just when I think I grasp a little of what to expect from the human body, patients come along and totally surprise me.

Tonight, I delivered a sweet little boy - not too surprising. His mom, though, had to be induced because of pre-eclampsia, a dangerous condition in pregnancy that can result in seizures, stroke, and even death to mom, and numerous complications in the child. We made the decision to induce after a lot of deliberation this afternoon - she was only 35 weeks along, but seemed to be worsening, and we felt the risks of keeping mom pregnant outweighed the risks of preterm delivery. I started her induction this afternoon by placing a medication in her cervix to make it softer, so hopefully tonight I could start a second medication to open it.

As I placed the medicine in, I knew, I just knew without a doubt, that this induction was not going to go well. Everything from her exam indicated that we might have a difficult time getting her delivered. I had already decided that either late tonight or early tomorrow something would happen - baby wouldn't tolerate the medicine, she wouldn't change her cervix, that her pre-eclampsia would worsen further, necesitating rapid delivery, and we would have to do a c-section. I was convinced that there was almost no chance of vaginal delivery.

Around 8pm, a mere 6 hours after I put in the medication (a medicine that doesn't usually make the cervix open), I was called to evaluate the patient because she was in lots of pain and contracting every other minute. The nurse pulled out the medicine, I checked her cervix and she was 6cm dilated. The CRNA came in to give her an epidural and 15 minutes later(!) I was called back in as we were ready for delivery. 1 slow, steady push later, baby came right out and quickly let out a strong cry.

The longer I am in medicine, the more I realize that we are beautifully and wonderfully made, and that our amazing creator knows a lot more than I do about his very good creation.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Nutella Ice Cream

I'm not sure who figured out that hazelnut and chocolate were the perfect combination, but whoever it was, I might should name my firstborn after them. It is easily my favorite flavor. The best cookies I have ever made and eaten? These right here. Why I never before thought to make Nutella Ice Cream, I'm not sure, but when I was looking for good ice cream recipes the other day, I was very happy to find this one. It was super simple - no eggs, no cooking, just a few ingredients to make a delicious, chocolately dessert.

The recipe I found only makes about 2 cups of ice cream, though. Whoever only make 2 cups of ice cream? Not me. Or anyone else with the last name (or former last name) of Rampey. So here is what I did:

1 jar Nutella
1 c. sugar
1.5 c. heavy cream
3 c. milk.

Mix all ingredients in the stand mixer, chill, and freeze in ice cream machine.

I think it might be better to use warm milk or cream to help the Nutella dissolve in the milk better. There is another recipe I also found that looks even easier that I might try next time.

I'm excited about trying some new flavors of homemade ice cream this summer. Next time, I think I'll try this one, for salted butter caramel ice cream. (Doesn't that just make your mouth water?) I'd also like to try to make some honey ice cream.

What do you think? What sounds good to you? Any interesting flavors we should try?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Jeff's favorite baseball stadiums

On our recent California vacation Aubrey and I added two more major league baseball stadiums to our list. I'd been to both of the old stadiums in San Diego and San Fransisco, but the new ones were major improvements. So for your enjoyment and mine, I thought I'd rank the ones I've been to in terms of quality of (my) experience.

1. Wrigley Field. As a lifelong Cubs fan this ranking might be accused of being subjective and emotionally based. Yeah? So? Wrigley is an awesome stadium. It was a downtown stadium before downtown stadiums were cool. If you're a baseball fan at all, a trip to the friendly confines is worth it. The beauty of the ivy, the experience of the bleachers, the hand operated scoreboard, the lack of jumbo-tron, the flags blowing out, Harry Carey singing Take Me Out to the Ballgame off pitch back in the day, the non-corporate sponsor based name, the view of the Sears tower, the historic marquee, Clark and Addison, Waveland and Sheffield, the majority of day games. And if the Cubbies win one, its even better.

2. AT & T, San Fransisco. The Old Candlestick was pretty horrible for baseball, but the new AT & T is pretty excellent. Its still cold at night in San Fransisco, but now sitting out in the cold is worth it. The views of the bay are so stunning that its easy to lose track of the game. The chance of a homerun ball going in the bay is pretty cool. And it is perhaps the only downtown stadium that provides parking, no small feat in downtown San Fransisco.

3. Petco, San Diego. This is another serious improvement. The old Qualcomm (nee Jack Murphy) out in the valley was pretty blah, a generic staduim surrounded by a sea of concrete. But Petco is a beautiful old timey stadium right in the heart of downtown San Diego, one of my favorite cities in the world. The stadium includes a park for the kids, and an old building was incorperated into the stadium, rather than being torn down.

4. The Old Busch, St. Louis. Ironically (for a Cubs fan) this is another sentimental favorite. You could see down into it from the top of the Arch, Steve Stone famously quipped at a hot and humid midsummer Cubs game, "Its a beautiful day for baseball, if you're a fern." And on April 5, 2003, at a Cards-Astros game, in the upper left field seats, I held Aubrey's hand for the first time ever. The new Busch looks awfully nice too, but it was sold out the one day we tried to go, and the scalpers were all overpriced.

5. Progressive Field, Cleveland. This is the only AL stadium on the list, but if they're all like this, then I like them. The stadium was one highlight of an excellent Cleveland vacation last summer around Austin and Elise's wedding. Stadium is pretty, we had fun with the new in-laws, and Grady Sizemore hit a home run.

6. Coors, Denver. As a psuedo-Coloradan, one might think this would rank higher, but for some reason it doesn't. Maybe because its been a long time since my last visit. It is a nice stadium though, with good views of Denver and the Rockies, nice sunsets, lots of home runs, and volatile weather. Me and Dad once caught a Cubs game there, and with two outs in the bottom of the eighth the game was delayed for over an hour by a thunderstorm. Dad and I had to leave our upper deck seats because of lightning. And when the game resumed an hour later, there were only a couple hundred fans left, and we had awesome seats behind the first base dugout for those last four outs. And ten minutes later the Cubs lost and we headed home.

7. Turner, Atlanta. This is my closest "home" stadium, and we make the yearly visit when the Cubs are in town, but still, it doesn't do much for me. Its pretty enough. Maybe if we saw the Cubs win more often I'd like it more.

8. The Vet, Philadelphia. In the tradition of stadiums built in the 60's and 70's it was a multi-purpose circle of concrete blahness.

Friday, June 12, 2009

More reasons to love ultrasound.

As if you didn't know already, I love doing ultrasounds. Tuesday in clinic, I had one of the most fun ones I've done yet.

It was my first visit with this patient, a young Mennonite woman, pregnant with her first baby. I always like to do an ultrasound at the first visit, just so I can get a measurement and make sure the dates are correct. (I also do an ultrasound at almost every visit if there's time, mostly because I love to do it and it's good practice.)

As I placed the probe on her belly, I was immediately struck by how many body parts I saw. I continued looking, more carefully, and counting. Two heads. Two bodies. Two placentas.

"Well," I said, "You're having twins."
She looked at me, shocked. "I've been worried I would have twins. My husband and I were joking about it yesterday."
I pulled the machine around so she could see better, and took some pictures of the two tiny bodies. They were beautiful - moving a lot, growing well, and with two strong heartbeats. I was excited - this was the first time I've ever actually told someone they were having twins.

She, mostly, was speechless.

I can't wait to see her again.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

At the Drive-In.

Greenwood now boasts its own drive-in movie theater. Having never actually been to one, I was quite excited to check it out last weekend. We packed up some dinner, got some cash (they only accept cash at the gate) and headed out just before sundown. We parked, tuned our radio station to 106.1, and waited for the previews to start. They charge $7 admission per adult, but each week show a double feature, so you get two movies for the price of one. Our only complaint is that now that we are old, staying awake through two movies when the first one starts at 9pm is a bit of a challenge. That aside, being able to enjoy a delicious dinner from home, bring our own drinks, and enjoy the movie under the summer sky was quite a treat. We will definitely be going back.

Ever since Toy Story, I always look forward to Pixar movies, and had been waiting for a good time to see their newest feature, Up. Thankfully for us, both Up and Night at the Museum 2 were this week's selections down at the drive in.

Up met all of my expectations for a Pixar film - beautifully animated, quirky, likeable characters, and a creative premise that all made for a wonderful film. Often in cartoon movies, the plot is about the princess finding her prince, and ends at the wedding. The beginning of this movie showed the beauty of marriage, of living the ups and downs of life with your best friend at your side, and of how much more full life can be when we reach out to those around us. I was struck by how much more I liked this movie than, say, Fireproof. I know I'm supposed to like movies that are "Christian," but I'd rather see a movie that is actually good. Instead of an overwrought film that tells me that marriage is great and that husbands and wives should love each other, I pick the subtle, well made story that shows me.

So go see Up. I can't promise that you won't cry (I did) but it's one of the best things to come out of Hollywood since, well, Wall-E.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Summer Reading.

In addition to doing lots of other fun things on vacation, I read several books. My usual way to find stuff to read is just to go to the library and check out some books that catch my fancy, but occasionally I'll have things in mind before going. The results are usually mixed. For example: I read Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms and loved it, Lewis's Through the Looking Glass and thought it strange but good. In Country by Bobbie Ann Mason, though, was not really worth the time. My absolute favorite thing I read on the trip was actually something I picked up at the airport on the way home, having slightly miscalculated and not brought enough books with me.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows is a well written novel that is entirely in the form of letters between the characters. I have read a few other books written this way, and find it to be fairly creative and interesting way to tell a story. It is not a difficult read - I finished it on the plane - but was highly entertaining, funny, and moving. Before reading this, I had never even heard about the German occupation of these islands, but now I find myself wanting to do a little research. The characters came alive to me and I just couldn't stop reading. Before I knew it, it was over. I wished for a sequel. Sadly, the main author of this book passed away just as it was published, and it was finished by her niece. So if you need a good beach book (and don't mind maybe crying at the beach) I'd say pick this one up!

On a similar note, I'd love to hear some other suggestions about what I should read next....

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Mile High Doctor.

On our flight to California, I was watching some TV when suddenly I heard an announcement overhead:
"If there are any doctors on board, you are needed in the coach cabin."

I looked over to the other aisle, and sure enough, there were several people gathered. I got up quickly and went over. A young woman had apparently fainted. She was lying down in the aisle, a flight attendant was giving her some oxygen. There were 2 other people there, as well. She apparently occasionally passes out. I felt her pulse, and took her blood pressure - both normal. I could tell she now mostly just felt embarrassed. Eventually, she got up and I walked with her to the bathroom. She really was fine. The flight attendants asked me several times if I wanted a cocktail. I declined. I really didn't feel like I had done anything. I got back in my seat, and then I had to do .... you guessed it... paperwork. I wrote down my name and address several times, as well as her symptoms. Apparently there is no escaping paperwork, even if you are cruising at 10,000 feet.

Then another flight attendant walked over and handed me a container of pringles and a bag of M&Ms, about $6 worth of overpriced airline snacks.

I decided it was payment for services rendered.

Friday, June 05, 2009


I found out today a friend is pregnant. I was excited - her husband is a graduating third year, they are moving back to his hometown, and I really wasn't surprised. (It's odd how finding out certain people are pregnant bothers me more than hearing certain other people are pregnant. I can't really explain it.) I, of course, ask all the prerequisite questions.

Do you know what you are having? She wants to be surprised.
How far along are you? 16 weeks.
When are you due? November 15.

Then it hit me, hard. My smile faltered. November 15 was my due date. The one I quickly looked up on the pregnancy wheel at work one day, right after I saw that second faint blue line.

And suddenly I was reminded again of all that I have lost.

Thursday, June 04, 2009


We are home.

I came back to work today and was greeted by a box full of paperwork to fill out.

I love paperwork.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Final postcard.

It's been a fun and tiring few days - another baseball game (Sacramento Rivercats),

Calaveras Big Trees State Park,

Lake Tahoe,

Napa Valley. All beautiful and fun, but we are ready to come home. Hopefully we'll see you all soon!

Jeff and Aubrey