Wednesday, August 29, 2012

L7 Weenie


There is this little thing called a hurricane.  It sometimes floods houses, uproots people from their cities, snaps 100 year old trees in half, demolishes roofs and fences, leaves you without electricity for weeks on end, and some have been known to bring the crazies (and traffic) to your little bitty small town.  I’m from Louisiana. It’s fair to say I’ve experienced my share of inclement weather, and although these little wind busters are dangerous, I LOVE THEM!  Love them, I tell you!  I love the board games, sitting in candlelight, rushing to cook everything in the freezer before it goes bad, and I love the rain (all of it).

Hurricane Isaac is currently heading straight for Louisiana, and I’m jealous. I keep seeing Facebook updates about hurricane parties, and I actually commented on one that my friend Jenny posted, “JEALOUS! I love hurricane parties! Board games, candlelight, and spoiled milk… what’s better?!”  I was serious.  COMPLETELY serious.

Jenny responded, “more like booze, queso, and dark chocolate.” 

It was at this very moment when I realized... I am SO lame.




Some of you may be thinking… It took you THAT long?

Yes.  It did, and the truth hurts.  I was not even thinking about booze.  I was thinking… maybe after J’s test tomorrow I can convince him to play MADGAB with me by candlelight! (mental note: cool people always think booze first)

This is the part where I would like to blame my lack of coolness on being stuck in the middle of nowhere with my hubs in Med School, but that wouldn’t be true.  The being lame bit started when I was a senior in high school.  I was at a party in the middle of a pasture dodging cow patties when I realized, This stinks... literally.  After that party (we'll call it 'the night I saw the light'), I went through an incredibly awkward stage of painting my fingernails black, and I also developed an unhealthy love for Louis Armstrong and cassette tapes.   

Looking back, I feel like a had a decent amount of coolness through most of my junior high and high school life, but something about that Senior year was where everything changed.  Not only was I a girl with black fingernails and a strange collection of cassette tapes (that even included MEATLOAF), but I also quit the cheerleading team (heaven forbid) and turned over my letterman jacket for a handmade tie-dyed sweater. You would think that after I cashed in my senior cruise money for a chance to stay in Mexico for a month and work in a village that was about as depressing as the show Hoarders, my mom would have put her foot down... but somehow I managed to make her think I was just a caring, sensitive 18 year old.  The truth was I was scared to death of being stuck on a boat with a ton of horny, drunk seniors.

With that said, I have a new quest in life… BECOMING UN-LAME. 

This is a hard one.  We are talking about a person that actually considers buying a new ball of yarn and starting new knitting projects an exciting Friday night party.  This is far more serious than turning Rachel Leigh Cook into the prom queen.  I need an intervention.  A “how to not act 72 when you’re 24 INTERVENTION”!

I think I've made a few baby steps in the coolness department since senior year.  My once black nails are now coral and my cassette tapes have been replaced with records (which is apparently cool these days).  However; I still knit on Friday nights, post publicly to Facebook about how excited I am to play board games by candlelight, and I genuinely feel like the T-shirt/slogan, "Keep Austin Weird" was the best advertisement ever...So I have a ways to go.


It is my hope that whether you are 18, 24, or 72... you stay cooler than me. So in an effort to keep you cool, I’ll give you a list of what I consider my “problem areas” aka WHAT NOT TO DO.

Obvious lame tendencies

-Napping
-Lame Facebook posts
-Owning house slippers
-Wearing house slippers
-Thinking Italian coffee is a great excuse to splurge
-Chasing turkeys
-Running from turkeys
-Hating jello shots
-Knitting on Friday nights
-Knitting
-Dancing obnoxiously on purpose.
-Going to bed at 10pm
-Passing on a free cruise
-Eating lunch in your car so you can finish listening to Mocking Jay on Audiobooks.

Best of Luck to you, cool kids!

-Cap

P.S.
Little update about "Back in the Burg":
I got the job!  Now, I just have to dig up all of my legal documents that prove I'm legit, and wait 6 weeks while my Louisiana cosmetology license is being changed to WV.  Fun.

*Tip:  If you feel you may be moving around the country in your adult life... Do not become a professional in an area where each state requires you have a different license.  It's not fun to switch them over, and it costs a ridiculous amount of money.  I realize it's the system, but let's get serious people... IT'S JUST HAIR.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

8 Year Olds (AKA Birth Control)

Yesterday, I stayed at work until 7:15pm so that a cub scout troop could tour the museum as a part of their meeting.

I should have known that mixing psychotic mutants rambunctious little boys with 200 year old antiques within a 176 year old house was probably a terrible not such a good idea.

They started to arrive one-by-one with their hostages parents. I should have known by the complete mental absence of the parents that these children would be bona fide hellions.

If there is one thing Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel have succeeded at, it is the disillusionment of our society into thinking that 8 year olds are:

1. clever
2. witty
3. in control of their own bodies
4. adept at adult conversation
5. humanoid

LIARS.


Two of them were chasing each other around, literally throwing themselves at one another, firing pretend finger guns. They then proceeded to argue about which one of them was indeed dead. "YOU are bleeding from your neck, because I blew off your face, you sorry mother effer!" This outburst was followed by maniacal laughter and a very decent pirouette (or jump-for-JOY!-I-murdered-you!).

The other arrival was running in circles, like a hamster but without the wheel, breathlessly chanting devil worship.

Are these kids on meth? They must crumble it in their Cinnamon Toast Crunch while their parents aren't looking. Sneaky beasts.

I retreated inside the house to escape the West-Nile-carrying mosquitoes and to await the arrival of the other spawn. I took that time to say a quick Prayer for safety. St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the devil....

Five minutes later, they had all arrived. Seeing my pale face staring at them from the front window, they all simultaneously broke into a gallop towards the house, the porch of which they reached in a singular jump from 6 feet below, like those Twilight kids. The grubby band then began pushing its weight against the front door.

I'm not entirely sure, but haven't you learned by 8 years old that doors with knobs tend to require the turning of the knob to open?

I stood inside working up the nerve to open the bulging door. I had to act fast, the hinges were creaking. I guess they figured that their combined weights paired with the energy from their spinning heads (a la The Exorcist) were no match for the nearly 200 year old door, which continued to hold strong. Suckers.

I braced myself, turned the knob, and pushed against the door to stop them all tumbling in on top of each other, which I am sure was exactly what they were hoping might happen. I gently released the door, held up my hands, palms facing out (that's less threatening to wild animals and rabid dogs, right?), and threatened them all to within an inch of their precious, young lives.

I swear I saw the parents taking notes.

I Google-d "8 year old boys". This is what I got.

Threats completed, I asked them to place their hands on their chests. One of them started reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, mechanically. The others joined in, all set to the tune of a funeral march. This was creepy.

"QUIET!" I shouted. "With your hand on your chest, say, 'hello'."

"HEEELLLOOOOOO," they all shouted in unison.

Demons.

"Did you feel the vibrations from your chest in your hand?"

They nodded, strangely quiet. I am sure they were all thinking, What the EF is this crazy lady talking about?

(Of course, all 8 year olds cuss like a drunk Lindsay Lohan. Have you met one that doesn't? Honestly?)

"Now," I said, "look at the walls and the ceiling."

They looked around. Did they actually look vulnerable, a bit nervous, I thought. I was getting to them!

I continued, "The walls are made of plaster, which is basically dried mud. The vibrations from your loud voices will cause the plaster to crack."

I finally had their full attentions. They silently observed the walls.

"If the walls start to crack from you being too loud, the ceiling could fall down on us."

"And kill us?" One of them asked.

"Exactly," I said.

The parents' faces shone with admiration for my excellent scare tactics. Well done, their smiles said to me, well done.

I then tried to actually instill a few interesting facts into their ice-filled brains.

"The architecture of the house is based on ancient Greek temples; notice the columns."
"See how big the windows are? There was no electricity back then. They had to take advantage of sunlight and even moonlight at night."
"There is no kitchen in the house. Meals were cooked in a separate building for fear of fire and to keep the house from getting hot."

"Any questions?" I am an idiot.

A million little, dirt-stained claws shot up into the air. "Mee, me, me." "I do, I dooooo, I do-do." Snickers from the bunch of them for that clever quip.

"Are there ghosts?" "Is it haunted?" One little jerk even claimed to "feel" something like a "presence" (his word!) in the general vicinity of his forehead, which he indicated with a flourish of his hand. I resisted the very strong urge to thump him soundly between the eyes.

"Has anyone died in here," was the most popular question.

One kid, so determined to make himself heard, jumped up and with a heavy landing that shook the window panes and made me clutch the door frame in case the floor gave way, bellowed, "HAVE LOTS OF PEOPLE DIED IN THIS HOUSE?!?!?!?!"

"YEAH, yeah, yeah." "Has anyone!??!" "Has anyone died in this spo-oky house?"

I took a deep breath, bent forward to their level and met every pair of beady eyes with my own.

"Yes, lots and lots of 8 year olds. Next question."

Funny, there were no more questions.

The tour continued. The next two rooms were pretty easy. They thankfully hadn't broken anything. They didn't even try to touch anything! Strangely, unnaturally, I could feel my heart beginning to thaw towards them.

And then.

And then, the troop leader's very own son--the one who felt the "presence" (little drama queen)--proceeded to hike up his leg and fart right as I was gaining the attention of his fellow scouts as I explained the lack of indoor plumbing. Poetic, right?

What did his mom, the said troop leader, do when her son released his dead soul amongst the living in the form of the foulest odor you have ever encountered? She let out a snort of laughter and ran out of the room.

It was then that I decided, SCREW it. The rest of the tour consisted of me telling them how unimportant children were to these early pioneers.

"And why did mommies and daddies have so many kids back then," I asked sweetly.

Blank stares.

"FREE LABOR."

One brave, blonde soul, who was actually kind of adorable, asked, "You mean like slaves? Kids were slaves?"

"EXACTLY."

Cue witch cackle.

OK, maybe I was too quick to judge. I think I would love all 8 year olds, if they were as hilarious as the one who drew this picture of her sister at college.

(source)
 

I hope by the time I have an 8 year old, there are places to send them far, far away until they are once again suitable for human interaction.

-b

*Editor's note: Most of this account has been slightly embellished. No 8 year olds were harmed in the making of this post.

Monday, August 27, 2012

"Do you have a mouse in your pocket?"


As a kid, anytime I would say a sentence with “we” my stepdad’s response would be, “Do you have a mouse in your pocket?” 

For instance,
“We should go to the movies.” 
“Do you have a mouse in your pocket?”

“We should go get ice cream!”
“Do you have a mouse in your pocket?”

I never understood the joke as a kid, but he is from England and that always seemed to be the perfect excuse to never fully understand what he was talking about.

Now 14 years later, I get it.


















      J is famous for his “we” sentences.

We should really start working out.”
We should fold clothes today.”
We should stop drinking soft drinks.”
We should try to read more often.”

When he says this, I think three things:

     ~  I already do all of those things.
     ~  Who is this “WE
     ~ “Do you have a mouse in your pocket?”

Then, I go for a run.

Running makes everything in my life seem a little less serious.  I usually leave frustrated and sometimes stressed because J has been pacing around the apartment or circling me like a shark while I sit reading on the couch.  (J is what WVSOM calls an “active learner”.  I think it’s similar to Christian Bale in American Psycho!)  When I return from my run I am always refreshed, calm, and a more understanding wife who isn't fearful for her life.  


                                                              SOURCE

I normally run the Greenbrier River Trail, because it's open enough for me to scream loudly if I feel I need to let it all out.  It's also beautiful;  really really really beautiful.

This is how my running brain works…

Before halfway point

-What does he mean “WE” Should start working out?!
-WHY AM I IN WEST VIRGINIA?!
-Does he not know I just folded all of his clothes yesterday?
-Man, that old dude can run!  He’s even got a six-pack.
-WHY AM I IN WEST VIRGINIA?!
-I’m never folding clothes again.
-I hope bears aren’t in these woods.
-That man was creepy.  Maybe I should bring mace next time.


My favorite spot along the Greenbrier River Trail
After halfway point

 (after seeing how beautiful the Greenbrier River Trail is and thinking about breathing consistently instead of American Psycho)

-I guess I could start running more.
-West Virginia is really beautiful.
-Maybe J was just thinking out loud.
-Man, that old dude is already finished and stretching!
-I really love the weather here.
-I should probably do laundry tonight.
-I really hope bears aren’t in these woods.
-I will definitely bring mace next time.


And this, my fellow housewives and live-in girlfriends, is why you should run.  So you don’t end up being the new premise for a Saturday night movie special (be it victim or murderer) on Lifetime.  IT'S CRUCIAL!  

I realize females normally get the "crazy" title by the men in our lives, and it makes us FURIOUS… but sometimes, the only normal explanation to the goings on in my brain is that I am going crazy.  When I freak out about folding J's clothes, "we" sentences, being circled like a shark's next meal, and having turkeys take over my driveway,  I am normally jolted back into reality either mid run or two minutes into a hot bath when I realize a few key points:

 -I am not crazy.
-Maybe this med school/housewife thing J and I have going on isn’t so bad. 
-Having a little alone time is actually nice.
-Maybe finding turkeys who are ready to attack in your driveway is a fun memory to tell the kids you WILL have ONE day. 
-Maybe living off of student loans isn’t as stressful as you make it out to be.  Wait.. no,  that one isn’t true.




The bottom line is… There is a silver lining.  And it is that one day, (approximately 6-7 years from now) J will be living his dream.  I will have a wonderful feeling of accomplishment that I did indeed not go crazy, and hopefully… we will have a Golden Retriever named Willow.  

-Cap

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Journey

So, how did we get here? And, what has it all meant?

One month into my freshman year of college, I met W, a very tall, very handsome, very quiet senior. (Interestingly enough, I had seen him on Facebook a month before school started and had been stalking him ever since. I was so intrigued. Creepy, right?) He and I became friends, sharing long meals in the caf (he likes to chew and chew and chew his food). Facts I knew: he was a biology major; he wanted to be a doctor. Cool.

Skip ahead 10 months, and we were dating. (Interestingly enough, throughout those 10 months I often referred to him as my future husband. When you know, you know! Creepier though, right?) W was beginning his super senior semester, and I was entering my sophomore year. He still wanted to be a doctor. I still wanted to skip Spanish to get a sunburn on the beach. Priorities were fully intact. After that semester, W took a job at a local hospital.

At this point, what were my thoughts on a future with this man who wanted to be a doctor? Hmm... honestly? I never really thought about it. I like to live in the now. And right then, the beach, America's Next Top Model, and Moe's Southwest Grill (oh, and W's strong arms) were the only things I ever really thought about.



Skip ahead three years, W is proposing to me in the back of his SUV as our Valentine's Day picnic had been relocated due to torrential downpours. I said yes, of course. Wedding planning commenced.

This is probably the first time in our relationship that I really thought about medical school. W was then interviewing at schools. We wanted to get married before the end of summer in case he was accepted somewhere for the fall. He was wait-listed at his first choice.

Skip to July 25, 2009, we were married on the front porch of a plantation house in my hometown. We honeymooned and hoped to come back to the good news that a spot had opened up for him. We lived two weeks in his mother's basement, waiting.

No spots. But, one thing became set in stone. W would be starting medical school next fall. His place was guaranteed. We set up house in Columbia, SC, temporarily. W continued to work at a local hospital. He and I moved to West Virginia the following June where he started school in August.

Throughout all of this, what were my thoughts on medical school?

Did I consider the long and lonely hours I would endure as W forfeited his soul for excellent grades and a top standing in his class? Nope.

Did I ponder the mountain of debt we would accrue in the next four years? Absolutely not.

What were my thoughts?

Do you think it will snow a lot? Because I have only seen snow like four times. The heaviest coat I own is a rain shell. Will that be enough worn over a hoodie?
I hope we can find a cute place to live!!
I need a JOB there. There's a museum in town. Maybe if I continue to show up and volunteer, they will offer me a part-time job.
Is there a Chick-fil-a? A Moe's?
Will I find friends?
Should I be worried about meeting people with three eyes or tails?
What is a "holler"?
Do you think they have boiled peanuts there? I hope so.


You see, I am one of those people that the worry gene skipped over. This is not to say I don't have my moments. But mine tend to come once or twice a year, last for a few hours--heart racing, head cracking in two, dry mouth, trembles, moments of thinking the next second would be my last. I'm wild eyed and panting. "We have no money!!" "Can you feed us, W, because I can't!!" "There's nooooo moneeeeeeyy!!" And then, its over.

And, I'm like, "Let's go for ice cream, and maybe, I can get that skirt I saw last week!"

I swear I am not bipolar.

What I am, however, through and through is painfully practical. I believe--naively, I know--that good actions are rewarded with equally pleasant reactions. I would edit Newton's third law to say, "For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction." Put in good; get good out. This thought process allows me to sleep peacefully every night. (The only things that keep me up are caffeine and cocaine.)

There is also this other minor thing called DEATH. Yeah, that seems to keep most things in perspective for me. If you are going to sleep when you're dead, well, I am going to worry.

Skip ahead to the present. Two years of medical school are under his belt. I am still (incredibly) making it work in this foreign state. Things are just--dare I say it--great.

You must now be thinking that I am a complete fraud.

Why then, Bri, are you writing a blog about how to not murder your husband when it seems that everything is just GREAT and you have absolutely no issue with him or his life choices?

You see, I don't want to murder W because he is in medical school and wants to be a doctor. No way. But, I do oftentimes want to off him because of what medical school does to him.

Example 1:
The months preceding Step 1 board exams (he took both of them--DO & MD), there was this strange alien life form inhabiting W's body. This form hardly bothered himself with trying to imitate his victim and fool me into believing he was actually my husband. He was mostly mute; ate mechanically and without the robust appetite typical of W. The chewing rate was however normal. (FREAKY.) I often caught the form, looking at me oddly, suspiciously, like I might possibly be the alien being. I'm not entirely sure the form knew my name or even cared to know it for that matter. The form had this nasty habit of staring blankly at the space above my left ear when I spoke to him not hearing most of what I said. Grunting became an appropriate means of communication. This form had the worst memory I have ever encountered. This form was certainly not W. In short, I could have murdered him.

Example 2:
As I am sobbing through a segment of the Today Show (this is a very common scene in our house), I ask W to explain to me how someone could get leukemia.

"I mean, how can that just happen to someone?" SOBBING. "What does it actually do to you?" SOB.

(Asking a med student to explain anything medical is always a BIG MISTAKE, by the way.)

(Because:) W starts to explain leukemia to me, the least scientific person you've ever met, who hates hospitals, and still holds out hope that storks deliver babies.

"Leukemia" (this is the part where he stands up a little taller and assumes his calmest voice) "from the Greek leukos" (Suddenly, my tears have vanished. Cue eye roll.) "is a type of cancer in the hematopoietic" (huh) "compartment of bone marrow characterized by an abnormal increase of blasts..."

"Blasts?" I interject loudly, to bring him back from the God-I-am-SO-much-smarter-than-you doctorosphere of EW.

"Yes, mmhmm, blasts." This is where he would straighten his tie and pull at his white coat lapels if he were so clothed.

"Yeah, W, that was a question mark at the end of that word."

At this point, his eyes are focused on a point on the ceiling, as his mind retreats to doctorosphere, where he is still defining leukemia. He is even nodding his head in agreement, as he mentally converses with himself. But, startled from his mental decathlon by my snark, he responds, "What, babe?"

The heat is rising up my neck.

"BLASTS. WHAT ARE BLASTS. YOU DO REALIZE THAT I AM A NORMAL PERSON AND THAT NORMAL PEOPLE ARE THE ONES YOU WILL BE DIAGNOSING ONE DAY AND THEY DO NOT SPEAK MEDICAL-ESE EITHER. YOU NEED TO USE REAL WORDS. SMALL WORDS. FORGET IT. DON'T TALK TO ME. I DON'T EVEN CARE ANYMORE. SCREW LEUKEMIA. WHATEVER IT IS, IT SUCKS BALLS."

"Blasts are immature blood cells."

It is at moments like these that W should be very thankful that I do not leave sharp implements or heavy blunt objects lying around the house.

-b

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Weekly recap

This week in true how to not murder your medical student husband fashion, I:

Read Harry Potter.
Went to the farmers market and sniffed the peppers.
Enjoyed the breeze.
Played with the amazing bath cat.
Drank margaritas with three medical students, a mom and a pair of grandparents (not our own). It was awesome.
Ate delicious sushi with Cap.
Wore these glasses to Junior League. MISTAKE.
I hope you had a wonderful week!

-b

This week in true how to not murder your medical student husband fashion, I:

 Ate a Spicy crab salad & sushi with Bri before our big JL meeting.

Enjoyed a little bit of city life!

Went for a run down the river trail
Found a few treasures at the flea market
Purchased a loaf of tomato bread (my favorite) from Panera while visiting Bri in the big city.
Picked a sunflower
Indulged in an apple tart from the farmer's market.  Life is sweet.
-Cap

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Not quite a 50's housewife...


In our first year of marriage, before medical school and being overcome with boredom, J and I lived in a studio apartment above his father’s garage.  The apartment was charming, cozy, and actually quite perfect.  Except for one small problem… There was no stove and no oven.  As a new wife eager to please (ha), it only seemed like a small set back.  I learned how to cook just about anything in a slow cooker, how to make blueberry cobbler in a toaster oven, and I even managed to turn a wardrobe closet into a pantry.  The adventures were endless!  Through all of the many science experiments, I will admit I failed NUMEROUS times!  Some things were not very eatable, but J (being the good husband he is) ate them anyway.  I did not. Wasted calories! Right? I do believe I’ve come quite a long way since those days and I hope J agrees.  I still have my occasional flop in the kitchen, but now I don’t have a toaster oven or slow cooker to blame it on.  Which is a bummer.  I have this crazy dream of wanting to bring back the classic 50's housewife, and I like to think my many attempts at cooking will get me there slowly.  I wouldn't say that I'm close to vacuuming in heels, wearing pearls, and toting a baby on my hip while a turkey is roasting in the oven... but maybe I will be by the time I'm 60.  (and maybe J can be Don Draper)


I’m no chief… Obviously, but I do have some amazing cooks in my family that I look up to and steal recipes from!  Being that they are 950 miles away now, I’ve had to lean on other resources.  Like cookbooks.  I love reading cookbooks… any and all of them!  J’s Nana gave me a cookbook called The Best Recipe when I moved into my very first apartment at age 18 (scary thought!).  It was a VERY intimidating cookbook for a ramen noodles and pizza roll kind of girl, but now it is my kitchen bible.  I use it at least three times a week.  I don’t always cook their exact recipes, but I do learn how to knead bread, tie a brisket, and fry the perfect egg while getting new ideas.  I’m also a huge fan of Allrecipes.com.  It is a great website to visit when you find yourself cooking the same meal over and over and over again… like me with fish tacos and guacamole.  




... Getting Sappy....

Cooking to me is not only a way to escape from the vast darkness that is medical school, but it is also comforting.  There is something about making a big pot of chicken and dumplings that instantly brings me back to childhood.  One bite and I'm dreaming of Minnie Mouse, Skip-Bo with my Mammaw, and Saints football.  Which makes it more than worth the effort.

I'm sure it isn't healthy for my waist line and as cheesy as it may sound, food makes me happy.  Deep down, warm heart, feel it in your toes kind of happy.  And that my friends, is something hard to come by!  So, I cook a lot.  

That is also my same excuse for eating chocolate ice cream every night in WV.

... end sap...

With that said, I thought I would share one of my favorite recipes…Spinach Dip.  I know spinach dip is a dish that seems to be EVERYWHERE, but I cannot help myself.  I love it!  It does not necessarily bring me back to the Minnie Mouse years, but it is still worth the effort.   I’ve tried lots of different spinach dip recipes, and I guess you can say I did what Glee would call a MASH UP!   I figured out what I liked about each one I tried, eliminated what I didn’t like, and now you have…



Cap’s Spinach Dip

Ingredients:

¼ cup butter           
1 (10 oz) package of frozen chopped spinach (drained in washcloth)
1 (14 oz) can chopped artichokes
1 (8oz) package cream cheese
1 (8 oz) container sour cream
1 ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup Mozzarella cheese
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Melt butter in a medium saucepan and saute the minced garlic.  Add drained spinach and artichokes and cook for 5-7 minutes on medium heat.  Add cream cheese, sour cream, 1cup Parmesan cheese, and ½ cup Mozzarella cheese.  Cook on low for about 10-15 minutes.

Transfer sauce into a medium baking dish. Top with remainder mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.  Serve with Croutons. 


Speaking of Croutons…

J actually escaped from the study world for a few seconds to assist me in cooking dinner the other night.  While he was showing me around the kitchen, we discovered that (contrary to popular belief) he can indeed cook.  A little.

J’s Croutons 

Ingredients:

1 skinny loaf of fresh bread (we used a multigrain banquette)
I stick of butter (you won’t use the whole thing, but it makes it easier to grip)

Directions:

Cut bread in slices ¼ to one half of an inch thick. Rub the bottom of a cookie sheet with stick of butter and lay cut bread on sheet.  Rub the bread around the bottom of sheet (as to butter the bread) and flip, rubbing the opposite side as well.  Bake for approximately 15 minutes at 375 degrees, or until they are just barely crispy to the touch.  I like mine still a little soft in the middle.

Now that I’ve said all of that, I realize you’re probably wondering why I just explained how to butter bread… that was J’s fast way.  It worked out much easier than my OCD knife and tub of butter method.

Hope you enjoy, and let me know if you decide to try it out!

-Cap

Classic 2012 housewife with a store bought ham.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Importance of Busy-ness

I have never really considered before how good for the soul it is to maintain a state of busy-ness. I don't mean the kind of busy-ness that makes you a bad wife, friend, mother, daughter, sister, etc. Nor do I mean the kind that leads to broken commitments, tardiness, or exhaustion. I'm talking about the healthy kind of busy-ness.

If I had to define busy-ness, it would be a state of conscious presence--an active decision to participate in the now.

My bad habits are the perfect example of what not to do.

You know the scene. Its 8:30 on a Friday night. No plans. No possibility of human interaction as the husband's brain is a few hundred pages into a medical text. (And no, your cats don't count as human interaction even though you can hold a conversation with them. They are not talking to you. They are in fact very clearly talking to one another about you.) You're in sweats, or worse, a nightgown (guilty!), slumped into the creases of the couch that by now are neatly compacted to the perfect outline of your buttocks. Your eyes are watery and bloodshot from adjusting to the various colors and movements of each channel as you mindlessly click the channel up button. (I like to think that my choice to click up denotes a positive outlook on life and general steadiness of character. Discuss.) You might be drooling. Your mouth is most definitely ajar; tongue visible, resting heavily on your bottom teeth. You pause on a show about people called the Hudderites. You are strangely fascinated by their odd accent, deadpan demeanor, and love of beef jerky. Commercial break. You go into autopilot and continue to click the channels up without even realizing it. Five minutes later, you remember that you had just found something interesting to watch, but oddly can't seem to reach back into the endless depths of your short-term memory and recollect what you had been so interested in staring at. What had it been about? There were definitely people in it. Maybe, if I could just remember whether the channel number fell above or below 50, I could find it again...


DO NOT DO THIS.

Television will make you dumb. And, a little fat. But, mostly just dumb.

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE television, but only when it is watched because of a conscious decision to enjoy a particular show. You should watch TV on a schedule based on the shows you enjoy. When they are over, turn the television off. Channel surfing is not really watching TV. Its a bad reflex. Clicking through the channels gives you the feeling of doing something, but there is nothing engaging about it.

Step away from the remote.

TIME OUT while I prove to you just how much I love television. I watch the Kardashians every Sunday night at 9pm and will sometimes even watch the marathon leading up to the new episode if I have fallen behind. There is no shame in having one TV vice. The Ks are mine.

I also love anything with Gordon Ramsey, because both W and I have a HUGE crush on him. I love Bones, New Girl, 30 Rock, and Castle. I enjoy my Bravo shows as well, Flipping Out and Top Chef. gossipgirl. And, the best show out there: Project Runway.

Adjusting my neck be-ard!
(source)

This is a bit embarrassing. But here I am, dear friends, exposing my soul and deepest, darkest secrets to you all. TIME IN.

How to Stay Busy 101

Busy suggestion #1: Start cooking--from scratch! This past weekend, I filled the lameness of not having a single thing to do on a hopping Friday night by making spaghetti meat sauce from scratch (Cap's recipe). There was lots of chopping, lots of sauteing, lots of dirtying of dishes. It took a solid hour to prep and finally have simmering my completed sauce. By then, I had a pile of dirty dishes that needed to be washed (alas, no dishwasher). I filled the hour while the sauce simmered away with washing dishes.

Of course it doesn't take an hour to wash dishes (unless you do like I used to do and use TV as a distraction: I would wash during the commercial breaks. That is probably not healthy...). So I did what any normal 25 year-old professional would with nothing else to do on a Friday night. I dusted off Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and fled to Hogwarts. Indeed, I was tempted to turn on the television, but Harry, Ron, and Hermione are much more fulfilling companions.

Busy suggestion #2: Watch television. Wait--what?! I know. I am a big, fat liar. Not. It is OK to watch TV. Friday night, after dinner was consumed and cleaned up, the whole evening stretched before me, dark and empty, mocking my solitude. I made a conscious decision to turn on the television and search for a movie to watch. I gave myself a time limit--30 minutes to find something engaging and enjoyable. If I didn't find it, I was to turn it off and read, clean, or weep. I found My Sister's Keeper, which I had never seen. It was definitely not enjoyable, but considering that the front of my t-shirt was soaked with tears, my eyes were nearly swollen shut, and I was as blotchy as a newborn fresh from the womb, it can be deduced that it was engaging.

Busy suggestion #3: Read/Research. Expand your mind and read! Whether its the newest best seller or an old favorite like HP, escaping to a literary world is much healthier than zombie-posing in front of the TV. Research. Want to re-do some furniture or rework your living room? Want to start cooking healthy? How about a new workout regime? There are thousands of blogs out there with really creative people behind them. Start following a few and get inspired. Facebook stalking does NOT count as research. Don't let scrolling through the interweb become your tongue-lolling downfall like TV. It is just as dangerous, unsatisfactory, and counter-productive.

Busy suggestion #4: Study breaks. Force the medical student to take a study break. They will most likely need it and might just thank you later (if, of course, you poke and prod and explain to them how much better they feel for leaving the desk and books for some fresh air). On Sunday, I made W go to the farmer's market, also known as Heaven. I love to stick my face in the mound of peppers and breath deeply. (I've never really considered how that might look until now...) W is very disappointed in me when I do this. He reminds me that the sweet pepper I am clutching to my appreciative nose will be purchased by someone (who is not me, since I already have a bag full) and that I probably shouldn't be rubbing it all over my face. If you learn anything from this blog, let it be this: Wash your produce, people.



Busy suggestion #5: LEAVE. Just get out of the house. Go for a walk. Run (yeah, right). Get in the car. Drive. Just move and eventually you will figure out what to do.
Sidenote: When I do this, I tend to find myself in the parking lot of some type of shopping establishment: antique shop, Gabriel Brother's (dear God, save me), TJMAXX, Home Goods, Target. Before I know it, I'm at the checkout counter. It is then, after the card has been swiped, that I awake from the nightmare that is retail addiction and mentally retrace my steps to figure out where it was that it all went horribly wrong. THIS is NOT healthy. However, it is distracting and for me, as far from punishment as you can get. I am one of those unfortunate people who never have buyer's remorse and is really good at justifying everything. I daily curse my exceptional rationalizing skills. I should have been a lawyer! (When I am ready to admit to myself just how unhealthy this habit is without spiraling into a nervous breakdown or questioning my very existence, I will do a post on my abusive tendencies towards my submissive bank account.)

Busy suggestion #6: Clean. It is exercise (sort of) and does have the ability to make you feel good all under. There really is no better feeling than a clean house. I mean, have you ever spent three hours hardcore scrubbing, vacuuming, mopping, etc. and regretted it? I didn't think so. Could you say the same about channel surfing or interwebbing? My point exactly.

Busy suggestion #7: Get a job. A job means 40 hours a week that you know will not be spent in zombie land, doing something that is not fulfilling and that you will most likely regret later.

Busy suggestion #8: Have a baby.

Busy suggestion #7: Join a club. Cap and I will be testing this one out on Thursday when we attend out first ever Junior League meeting. I already play Bunko once a month with a bunch of women who know how to have a good time. Its sad when the 60 year olds (who have been filling your glass all night) have to drive you home..... I also am trying to talk myself into taking an adult ballet class for beginners. We will keep you posted!

What do you do to stay busy?

-b

Monday, August 20, 2012

Back in the burg.


Chris Rock once said, “If you haven't contemplated murder, you ain't been in love.”

I believe him now more than ever.  Medical school will make your husband crazy, and if you’re not careful… it will make you crazy.  But this blog, like Bri said, is not about Medical school and it isn’t about being crazy.  It’s about the hilarious, fun and strange things we put ourselves through to strive not to turn crazy.  It’s about why we drink cosmos on a park bench in the middle of town until 1am.  It’s about why we watch civil war reenactments, why I learned to knit, why Bri plays Bunko, why I take a million pictures of the same mountain, why we join Junior League, and why we blog about it.









A little bit about me  (aka a piece of the long story Bri mentioned)

I have recently been jolted back into the small town life after having a torturously short taste of living in a city with Pho soup, Indian food and a full time husband.  Two apartments, two jobs, a new niece, a new nephew and $3,500 down the drain to moving companies later…. we’re back in the burg.  The transition has been interesting, to say the least.  I moved into a beautiful little pink house that had a pleasant aroma of feline urine, slept on an air mattress while our furniture was held hostage, and mistook my neighbors for intruders. (I don’t do well in the West Virginia woods. I blame the movie Wrong Turn.)

It’s different here in the burg. And while Bri is living it up in a city with Starbucks and Panera Bread, I’m catching the maintenance lady popping a squat in our driveway (Yes, peeing in our driveway!).  I mean, for the love of all things holy… use my toilet! But things are slowly starting to groove and I’m starting to remember the little things I loved about Lewisburg… like year round pumpkin spice lattes from The Wild Bean and being able to go to Wal-Mart without brushing my teeth.  Kidding! 

Or am I?






 


  The new adventure
   
I'm currently searching for a job that will ensure life beyond medical school, murderous thoughts and the Hansel and Gretel house.  Luckily, thanks to my major character flaw of following J around the country, I have had my share of interviews. And to my surprise, I have actually managed to get the hang of them.  Today, I had an interview that carries the fate of my sanity and J's safety.  It’s nothing special, but dear friends… this is my only hope for normalcy!  Last year I attempted to be a stay at home wife.  It was fun for about two minutes. This year, I’m working towards fun that lasts at least five.

I want the job.
I need the job.
I want the job.
I need the job.

Don’t get me wrong…I love my comfy couch and staying in yoga pants all day, but I would desperately love a daily excuse to escape from the all-consuming study house!  Let’s hope I get it, and let’s hope they didn’t mistake the purple curling iron burn on my neck for a hickey!  

I’ll keep you posted, but until then...

Here's to new adventures that don’t involve medical school!

-Cap

Friday, August 17, 2012

Disclaimer: THIS BLOG IS NOT ABOUT MEDICAL SCHOOL

I think that it is very important to say first and foremost that this blog is absolutely not about medical school in any way, shape, or form. Sure, "medical" is in the title, but neither Cap nor I define ourselves by the choice our husbands have made to pursue a career in medicine. We are, however (and perhaps, unfortunately), affected by this choice and have had to adapt our lives accordingly.

And that, my friends, is exactly what this blog is about.

Maybe the title should have been, The C and B Chronicles: Adapting to Medical School. God, that's depressing. Besides that, its false. Maybe adapt wasn't the best word. The past two years have not been a story of adaptation. These two years have been about survival--of finding ways to entertain ourselves and enjoy life (with so very little money) as our husbands forsook us for medical school. These past two years have been a study in patience, understanding--virtues which do not come so easily to me--and have been a practice in the art of not murdering our husbands.

See what I did there?


THE STORY

Cap and I became friends out of circumstance. We met because our husbands were in the same class and studied together. Studying together in medical school constitutes as friendship (FYI). I guess at some point, Cap and I figured we should maybe hang out, too. Looking back, the early days of our acquaintance are a bit fuzzy.

Now, I think (and hope she agrees), Cap and I are friends by choice.

Uprooted from family and friends and all other familiar things, Cap (from Louisiana) and I (from South Carolina) have not--by choice--settled comfortably into life in the mountains of West Virginia. Our foundations in this state have been set very gingerly atop the ground, knowing full well that this is just a temporary stop along the way to wives-of-doctor-hood.

Cap and I have known each other for just over two years now. Our story could be long, is certainly complicated, and most likely absurdly boring, so I am just going to jump ahead to the present.

Three things you should know first as it will help you understand our friendship:

1. We are couple friends. Meaning that the four of us (Cap, husbands, and I) love hanging out together doing all sorts of fun things that we will thrill you with on here.

2. J (Cap's husband) and I are so very similar that it is creepy. On that note, W (my husband) and Cap are so very similar that it is ADORABLE. Probably the only things that J and I have in common are our shared loves for Cap and W.

3. The four of us were reunited this July after a yearlong separation. (That year is what could make our story long, so let's just leave it at that.)


 THE PRESENT

There have been many changes since before the "long story." First of all, W and I no longer live in the same town as Cap and J. We are all still in West Virginia, but are now separated by a harrowing 1.5 hour drive through mountains and valleys.

Three days after Cap and J moved back to West Virginia, they visited us. That's love! It was an epic weekend consisting of too much queso, margaritas, music on the river, a nature hike, running down a mountain, the farmer's market, grilling out in a downpour, bloody marys, and some mosquito bites. It was a perfect weekend. The boys incessant medical school chatter hardly dampened the mood, although we did break them up a few times.

Two weeks later, Cap was back and getting dolled up to attend a local fundraiser with me. It was a great time complete with lime-a-ritas, the longest bathroom lines you've ever seen, and dancing in the mist high above the city to the tunes of West Virginia's very own country music band, who was ironically (and thankfully!) covering such hits as the Doobie Brothers' "Long Train Running," MJ's "Billie Jean," and others that even inspired Cap to begin a congo line.

That very next day, W and I were on our way to stay with Cap and J in their adorable house, now forever known as the Hansel and Gretel Cottage. We ate Cap's delicious home cooking (she is quite accomplished in the domesticity department), drank lots of red wine, played Mad Gab (which I am awesome at!), went antiquing, farmer's marketing, and state fairing, where we all ate enough to feed a small village and leave leftovers.


THE BLOG

This blog was created at my insistence and has come into being because of Cap's very gracious acceptance of the task. I thought this journey was one that should be documented and surely one to laugh at later.

Cap and I now find ourselves planning and trying, in various ways, to fill our devoid schedules with as many activities as we can find to do together, so that we don't, of course, murder the husbands.

I mean, we are talking about madly searching to do things like play Bunko with women 30 years our seniors, ballet classes with retired Russian ballerinas (not really, but it is my worst fear that this will be true), and anything else remotely interesting that will stave off the boredom.

Next Thursday, we will attend the local Junior League meeting with the hopes of joining. Believe it. Me in Junior League. That is if they'll have me, which is still out for debate.

-b