Friday, July 31, 2009

Interesting sight of the day...

In ritzy part of downtown Kansas city today, we saw a street musician. Not that unusual.

She was playing a huge harp.

That would definitely be a first.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

So there might be someone out there dorkier than me.

We're in Lawrence, KS, today, visiting with Dave, Hannah, Ashlyn, and Jackson.

Dave is a professor of rhetoric and so gets a few academic-y magazines. One of them is called the London Review of Books, a magazine that contains, not surprisingly, lots of book reviews. In the back, it also has a sort of classified section advertising vacation homes, writer's retreats, and requests for out of print books.

It also has a bit of a personals ad section, which might just be my favorite part of the magazine. Here is just a sampling:

"Elegant truth-seeking musician seeks wise enchantress to gamble with the seeds of life"

"Not very friendly woman seeks not very friendly man."

"Passionate, intellectual F desires really nice geeky M."

Oh yeah - and there's one written entirely in Latin. Seriously.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Reuniting again...

So we're at a reunion for the second weekend in a row. This time it's with the whole Rampey clan, up at Table Rock Wesleyan Camp. It's been a great weekend and I feel like the only thing I've done is eat.

Last night was homemade ice cream night, with 6 churns of different flavors (including the best nutella ice cream I've made yet). I do love my family.

Next Tuesday, we leave for Kansas City, for a quick visit with Dave, Hannah, and the kids before going to the Family Medicine conference. I'll try to post some photos in the midst of our travels, though things may be a bit sparse around here for a few more days. Now I'm back outside to watch my nephew go down the water slide.

I love vacation.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Very cool video

You have to watch this video of the classic battle of moth vs. bat.

Apparently researchers recently discovered that some moths make a noise with their bodies when they hear a bat nearing that actually jams a bat's sonar capabilities.

You will also get to see the acro-BAT-ics (pun definitely intended) of the bats catching some moths in slow motion.

Although I probably won't ever be a big nerd about bats or moths, I'm glad that this world seems to be full of all kinds of nerds - even the kind that will tie moths to strings and let some bats loose in the room.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Re-uniting

My high school graduating class had an 11 year reunion this past weekend.

Eleven because no one ever planned a ten year reunion. It was a small crowd. We met for a picnic dinner at a local park. Jeff was very sociable - he played the extrovert well for a few hours, talking with lots of people he'd never met. I was thankful for the name tags, although now that there is such a thing as facebook, I've been able to sort of get a small glimpse at the lives many of these people have been leading.

Sometimes I think that if I went back to high school now, I might have a different group of friends. I had a great group of friends in high school that I was thankful for, but being at this reunion kind of reminded me how much I've changed since then. How I have different priorities. And lots of the people who I didn't hang out with as much in high school, I have lots more in common with these days.

There is not much a point to this post, other than to say that it was good and strange seeing everyone again. And that I'm glad that I'm not in high school anymore.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Five!




















7-17-2004

To see it written out like that make it seem like a long time ago! But time has been flying by, and I love her more everyday.

"As the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,
so shall your God rejoice over you."
- Isaiah 62:5

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Nerdy.

Every year, it becomes more and more clear what a big dork I am.

On my call night on Tuesday (one of the worse I've had in a while, but that's another story), I met a very interesting patient.

He came in with a fairly uninteresting problem - back pain - one of my least favorite to deal with. In talking with him, though, he told me he has a very rare genetic disease. It was a genetic disease I've never actually heard of, involving cholesterol metabolism. Just before I was about to leave to finish the paperwork so he could leave, he told that he was the first person diagnosed with the disease.

I could not believe it. The first patient!! I told him he was like a celebrity. He kind of rolled his eyes at me. I looked it up (on google), and sure enough, every site that talks about it mentions that it gets it name from the island where the first case, a five year old boy, and his sister lived. I'm still in awe that I met someone who was the first person diagnosed with this disease.

I told you I'm a dork.

Monday, July 13, 2009

In which I am excited about something our president does.

This is not a political blog. I have opinions, certainly, but don't usually air them here. That said, I have thus far been exceedingly underwhelmed by what our president has done.

Today, though, I was pleasantly surprised and even excited when I learned that Obama nominated a family practice doctor as the new surgeon general. Even though I am wary of what his plans are for health care, by nominating a family practice doctor, he has at least signaled that he understands the importance of good primary care doctors, and hopefully part of his "overhaul" will be compensating primary care doctors better. And I'm not saying this because I would benefit from such a change. By increasing pay to family practice and other primary care docs, more and better physicians will stay in primary care, which will be better for patients in the long run, and cheaper for our nation as a whole. First of all, primary care docs are uniquely suited to coordinate care, and can make sure that the sickest patients, who always have numerous doctors, are being treated appropriately. Secondly, many specialists like to refer patients for costly procedures. Some of these are medically indicated, but sometimes a primary care doctor might be able to treat the problem without having the test. Thirdly, many people rely on emergency departments to get their primary care. Going to the ER results in much higher costs, and often treatable problems become devastating when patients wait until it's an emergency.

Stepping down off my soap box. And, at least for today, saying, "Thanks, Mr. President. Good job."

It shouldn't surprise me.

Not all patient interactions are pleasant ones.

Sometimes, when I look at my clinic schedule, I groan inwardly at some of the names. "I don't have the energy to deal with that patient today. Why are they here?" These are usually pleasant enough people, but they have lots of social problems, poor health, are often on chronic pain medicines, and I never feel like I can fix them. I leave the room exhausted and frustrated, feeling like I accomplished nothing.

Twice recently, when I've had that feeling, I mumbled a little prayer under my breath before going in the room. "God, please give me patience, please help me be a good doctor to this patient." Or something to that effect. (And please don't be impressed. I pray for my patients so rarely, it's really embarrassing. This is not a story about me doing something good.)

And just like that, both times, on going into the room, it's been completely different. Once, I was able to really talk with a patient and realize that she was really struggling with stress and depression, and even feeling suicidal. We prayed together, and I actually had her admitted to the inpatient psych unit because I was so worried about her. Then, just a few days ago, I saw a patient who had been in the hospital since her last visit. Having her in the hospital helped her get some of her health problems under control - like her diabetes and high blood pressure - and also made her realize that all the pain medicines she was on were actually getting in the way of her health. She was happier than she'd ever been. And even hopeful about how things were going.

I'm not sure why I was so surprised. I think sometimes I just forget how powerful is the God we serve, and that he does answer prayers, far more powerfully than we can imagine.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Surgery.

I'm back on a surgery rotation, which is nice in that it's fairly laid back and I end up having free time. (Have I mentioned how much I like working half days??) If I'd known the surgeon didn't start until 9:30 this morning I would have slept in a little longer.

But it's boring in that mostly I just follow another doctor around and watch them do things. It's like being back in medical school again.

One of the coolest parts about it is getting to watch all the high tech surgery equipment in use. I do not have a mechanically minded brain, so I'm often amazed that someone can invent such smartly-designed things as a big gun-looking thing that is used to rejoin two cut ends of colon without sewing. I'm still not sure how it works exactly. Maybe magic?

Anyone else out there with a favorite engineering feat? Some technology you think is just nifty? I'd love to hear about it.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Going Deeper.

I haven't been writing much of substance lately. Posting recipes is a good way to make me feel like I'm updating the blog without having to really delve into what's going on around here.

It's been a rough few weeks. In between the crazy every fourth night call that was my OB rotation and feeling surrounded by pregnant women, it has been sort of miserable. Thank heavens for an understanding husband who has put up with much more than he should have to, and the start of third year which has brought a lighter call schedule with it.

I was challenged recently by something I listened to over on Mark's blog - part of a sermon by John Piper. The line that really sticks with me is this one:
"God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.... in loss." I have heard him say the first part of that statement several times and though to myself, "yeah, yeah, of course I'm satisfied." It's easy to be satisfied when life is great. Those two little words at then end, though, are where the problem comes in. All the frustrations and sadness of this last year has shown me that I am not really satisfied in God. And definitely not in loss. I was even more convicted when he quoted Psalm 73:25: "Whom have I in heaven besides you? And there is nothing on earth I desire besides you..."

I wish I could say that this was true for me. But lately, I have desired things - good things, things that God tells us are blessings, much more than him. I have idolized having a child, as if that will save me, or make my life perfect, or even fix this sadness I've had inside me. But I should have remembered the next verse in Psalm 73, verse 26: "My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."

I do want a child. But I think these days I need to do more praying that I don't want one more than I want the one who can form them in their inmost being.

Friend or Foe?

This morning I went out to check on the garden, as I often do, and found that I was not the only one checking things out. I was joined be this little fella...













Cute little guy, to be sure. But then I wondered, is he really here just to bask in the beauty of the garden I have planted, or is he here for something more sinister? Does he intend to help himself to my home grown ground level salad bar? I don't know. Thankfully, most of the garden is in raised beds, and I seriously doubt turtles can scale vertical walls (can they?). But the zucchini and cucumber vines have long since outgrown the garden beds and are sprawling across the yard.

I picked another zucchini to keep the turtle from eating it. But I thought I should look into the matter. Are garden turtles friends or foes? Does anybody know?

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Zucchini

We've been trying to get creative about eating our zucchini.

So far, I've made:
zucchini fritters
roasted zucchini
grilled zucchini
chocolate zucchini cupcakes
honey zucchini bread


Last week, I decided I wanted to make some kind of tart, and found this recipe on the web, for a zucchini tart made with a polenta crust. I don't have polenta, nor have I ever eaten it. I'm also a little fuzzy on what exactly it is, except I know it has something to do with corn.

For a southern twist, I substituted grits for the base, making them according to the recipe on the package, and then baking them in the oven. I think I made a little too much and the crust ended up being so thick that it didn't get all crunchy like in the other recipe, and I wish I'd added a little more season to them to make the crust a little more flavorful.

But the recipe was really delicious, and I cooked the zucchini with fresh thyme and sage, and also added caramelized onions for extra flavor. The second day I cooked up some sausage and served the sausage along with the tart - making it decidedly not vegetarian, but definitely more delicious than it had been.


Up next for our adventures in zucchini? Stuffed zucchini. And maybe some zucchini relish. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Happy moments.

If you didn't already know, I kind of, just a little bit, enjoy delivering babies. I think I've said this before, but I always feel very honored that people would choose to let me take part in such a special moment in their lives.

I especially feel honored when my coworkers choose to come to me for their OB care.

Early this morning, I had the pleasure of being present at the delivery of the son of one of my co-residents. Not only do I work with him, but his wife is one of my closest friends here in Greenwood, and for the last 9 months or so, I've gotten to watch this little guy grow and take care of his mom.

It's been a blast, and it was wonderful finally seeing the cute chubby cheeks we've been watching on ultrasound for so long. The only thing better than delivering babies is delivering a baby you've prayed for and whose parents you love.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Peaches, round 2.

After making jam, I started looking for other ways to use peaches. When my mom makes roast pork or pork chops, she often serves it with curried fruit. I am a huge fan of the fruit/meat combination, and so wanted to find some way to use the peaches along with some thick cut pork chops I had in my freezer.

I decided to do a peach stuffed pork chop, and thinking about how well curried fruit goes with pork, I added some curry and ginger to give it a good flavor.


Curried peach stuffed pork chops

3 or 4 thick cut pork chops
4 c. chopped peaches
1 onion, sliced
1 clove garlic
2 tsp. fresh grated ginger
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 c. bread crumbs
salt and pepper

Heat 2 T. olive oil in a saute pan and add garlic and ginger and saute until garlic is brown. Next add onions and soften. Add peaches and curry and cook until soft. Take off heat and stir in bread crumbs.

Slice open pork chops, leaving attached along one edge. Put as much stuffing as will fit into the pork chop, and use toothpicks to secure it closed. Sprinkle each side with salt and pepper. Over medium heat, sear each side of the pork chop for a few minutes, then place in a baking dish, surround with any leftover stuffing, and bake at 350 for 45 minutes, or until the internal temperature is 160.

These were really delicious. The pork was tender, the flavor of the fruit complementing it well. I also added a dash of some chili powder, and so ours had a bit of a kick, but they'd be good without it as well.

Peaches

I love fresh, ripe peaches. And South Carolina peaches are some of the best around. I recently got a huge basket of them. My first thought of what to make was Vanilla Peach Jam.

Jam is surprisingly easy to make. And now, with all the fresh fruit around, is the best time to do it. The best way, in my opinion to peel peaches is to blanch them, placing them first in boiling water for a few minutes, then dropping them into an ice bath. The skins come off easily then, and you don't waste any fruit.

To prepare the jars, you can either run them through the dishwasher, or put them in another pot filled with boiling water. You don't need to boil the lids, just heat them with a little water in a small saute pan.

Vanilla Peach Jam

4 c. peeled, sliced, and slightly smushed peaches
1 box low sugar pectin
3 c. sugar
1 T. vanilla
2t. lemon juice.

Put peaches with lemon juice in a large stock pot (it will seem like over kill, but trust me) and stir in the pectin. While stirring constantly, bring peaches to a full boil. Add the vanilla and sugar and boil for another minute.

Pour into prepared jars, leaving 1/4 in. head space at top. Put on lids, then process in boiling water for 10 minutes.

I got 1 pint jar, and 5 half pint jars from this recipe.