Saturday, June 9, 2012

Monday, April 16, 2012

With a Cherry on Top.

 I have a husband that thinks of dates that are fun, creative, and usually involve a unique challenge.  This past weekend was no exception. We were each given five dollars to spend on vanilla ice cream toppings.  We would then vote and choose a winner.
Here is the "Best of all worlds," creation by Landon.  He combined peaches (healthy but tasty), soft chocolate cookie crumbs (great chewy texture addition), and flips chocolate covered pretzels (salt, chocolate, and pretzel-pretty much the most addicting combination known to scientists to date).  He topped it off with whipped cream, and gave a fancy flair  during his presentation of this tasty treat. 
 My creation, named the "Grand Slam," was named after Denny's Restaurant's Grand Slam breakfast combo. It had bacon bits, maple syrup, pecans, bananas, and a touch of whipped cream.  Yep, I was able to stretch those five dollars to their max, and bring together a delectable, complimentary, and totally innovative ice cream dish.  Like Landon, I thought the combination of salty and sweet would tip the balances in my favor.
 Jason made the "Candy Bar Melt."  It had crushed up Reese's Pieces with Hershey's Cookie and Cream candy bar melted, and drizzled on top.  He knew that these two time-tested, classic flavors would dominate the ice cream competition.  He did, however, have to endure some jeering from the his competitors, that his creation was "too simple," and could not stand the test.

We first made our creations on Saturday night, just the three of us, and then we all voted on our favorite.  It was decreed that you couldn't vote for your own creation, and that you couldn't eat the entirety of your favorite ice cream dish (unless it was yours to begin with). Well, even with these fool-proof rules, there was despair in the battlefield.  None of the combatants prevailed, and the competition's 3 way tie had to be bumped to the next level of justice.
Thus, we enlisted the help of two crafty, well reputed judges. Each of us labored over our respective creation again, Sunday night, and placed them side-by-side on the judgement table.  To preserve equality, the judges remained impartial to the identity of each creation's maker.  With trepidation, greed on the part of one of the judges, and a little drooling, the judges set to the task of deciding the winner of this epic competition.  They also surmised, between bites, as to who created each treat, and mentioned that they wished to remain judges until all the ice cream treats were devoured (this of course, was not allowed).
The judges struggled over their favorite treat, so rabid that none dared intervene.  And, at last, Jason was declared the champion.  The best ice cream topper around town.  He replied, "simple is better."

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Llama Drama.

For Easter we went out to Nana's house to have dinner, and have a going-away-party for Steffan; he left for air force boot camp two days later. After dinner, we went to my aunt's friend's home, to see her new baby llama.  Not only does she have about eight different llamas, but she also has nine dogs, two turkeys, two ducks (Saltine and Quackers), and a smattering of clucking chickens.  The llamas are all of different ages; about half of them are adults, and half in the baby-to-teenage range.  She also trains cadaver dogs, which help with searches for missing persons.  Her nine dogs are quite the welcome party, and they were not afraid of a moving vehicle.  In fact, one big dog jumped up, and stuck his massive head through the driver's window; he then walked with the car on his back legs, as we finished parking.  Deciding to take advantage of the four strapping young lads at the house, the opportunity presented to catch and harness one of the younger llamas.
Catching llamas is not as easy as it might seem.  First, you can't scare them too much, because you don't want them jumping over the fence and running away.  Next, all the other llamas and goats in the area will surround you, to make sure you aren't hurting their buddy.  One, in my opinion, looked ready to inflict 200% retribution to anyone who hut the baby llama.  Landon reported that the baby llama was pretty strong, but really not heavy at all.  He found that the llama was mostly a furry, fluff-ball that could be lifted up when it tried to get away.  Thus, its efforts to escape could be thwarted.  Keep eating llama buddy, next time he expects a real challenge.
She did get happier, after a while, but she was still not super pleased about the whole ordeal of getting captured.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

#37: Finish Medical School Research

You would think matching would have been the hardest thing to accomplish during med school.  Nope.  In our experience research has been a long, drawn out, frustrating experience.
At last, however, Landon and his team finished their study; it investigated how social determinants, specifically income, gender, insurance, and distance from healthy food resources, are associated with higher rates of chronic diseases.  They found that for every mile away from a grocery store, the more likely you are to have chronic diseases.  The theory is that distance and poverty contribute toward fewer trips to the grocery store, and thus, fewer fresh fruits and vegetables purchased.  This causes malnutrition, as more canned/processed products are purchased because of their longevity.  The chronic diseases that you are most likely to have are high blood pressure and diabetes.  The results of this study now allow your favorite orthopedic surgeon to recommend: If you don't want to get bone problems, live closer to the grocery store.  Or something like that.  OK, it doesn't really apply to ortho, but it was an interesting study.
Here Landon is pointing to his name as the principle investigator and author of the study.  He presented his poster at the UNM research convention, and was pleased to finally put this phase behind him.  Not that we will never do research again, but we have learned some valuable lessons in how to get research through strict IRB (institutional review board-designed to make sure that all research is fair and safe during human research projects), timelines for each step of research, and how to approach getting a project presented and published. 
We are proud of this step forward, and feel that much more prepared for the research that Landon will do during residency!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Pillow Talk.

About a year ago, Landon and I made what is arguably the best purchase of our married lives: a Tempur-Pedic mattress. Remember how dangerous sharing a bed was for our sheets?  Thankfully, our new bed has created a more "peaceful" sleeping environment; one that is conducive to a sheet-longevity generally enjoyed by sleepers all across the country.  Fortunately for me, even with the best mattress ever, Landon still talks in his sleep.

I first noticed Landon's sleep talking, during his studying for the United States Medical Licensing exam: Step One; he would often recite for me pharmaceutical regiments capable of keeping a zombie alive well past 100 years old, all while in his sleep.  It was funny to hear him mumbling about the efficacy of catacholamines and parasympathomimetics.

Then things got even more exciting: Landon is not a morning person, and it takes him a little bit to wake up.  Often, since I wake up before him on weekends, he is still in a half-asleep-daze; he tells me some of the most entertaining things.

Here are some of my favorites:

"I figured out what we need to do!  Just get the fire power, and go back and forth."
Of course, Landon is talking about Super Mario Brothers.

"There is a parking space over there, you should get it."

"But about the weather."

 "Do you want me to send the fax?" I of course responded, "I don't know what you're talking about." To which he replied, "I'm just trying to help! I thought I could send the fax!" 
This conversation occurred after he had gotten home late in the night, after I had already gone to bed; he was still trying to be a helpful, loving husband, as I went out the door for school.

I always appreciate a good giggle to start my day.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Biggest Day of the Year 2012!

The DAY we have been talking about, since Landon and I started dating, finally came this week: 3/16/2012.  What a journey it has been!  After Monday, when we knew that we matched, the stress of getting into residency was mostly gone.  We enjoyed the rest of our week, knowing that we were moving forward, but waiting to find out the location that will drastically affect the next five years of our lives. 

The Match Day envelope ceremony at UNM started at 10:00; however across the nation, everyone opens their envelopes at 11:00.  This meant that the UNM Dean of Students, and other important leaders, tried to appease the tense/anxious crowd, by feeding us breakfast, giving motivational speeches, and leading multiple toasts.  
Finally at 11:00, they let the medical students walk across the room, to find their envelope.
Here is the single piece of paper, that revealed so much of our future.  
Of course, my husband being a big tease, Landon offered to read the address and phone numbers on top of the paper.  I, of course, was not interested in the ID codes of his home institution, or the address of the NMRP.  After discovering where we were heading, we could not have been more thrilled!  Landon's phone rang several times during the match; however, we had already determined that we were going to wait, and not tell anyone, until both our families were together that evening.  Thus, Landon did not answer his phone.  Funny thing though, those calls were actually from people in the program that accepted Landon, and were calling to say congratulations and welcome.  Back to the match:  Talk about witnessing the whole spectrum of human emotions.  Remember a couple of posts back, where Landon talked about all the different reactions we could possibly have? Well, we saw it all: people screaming and jumping with joy, tears of sadness, anger, calm acceptance, and yes....even hillbilly (OK, well maybe not hillbilly).  It was a wild experience.

I decided to take Landon on a picnic, so we could enjoy our fun little secret. Unfortunately, I forgot the lunch meat.  We contemplated having pepper jack cheese and hummus sandwiches, but decided to forgoe the picnic; we went home and ate ice cream instead. 

Landon kept getting more phone calls from the new "ortho family" at our new program.  It was neat to have them calling to give advice on housing, things to do in the next couple of months, congratulating him, and letting him know how excited they were to work with him.  Talk about flattering!  We really like all the people at our program, and are looking forward to these next 5 years.

Both of our families came together that evening, for a celebratory bar-b-q. After getting everyone's guesses, as to where we would go, we gave everyone a clue of where we would be heading.
We passed out a hint:  York Peppermint Patties, and asked a very important question.  "Where do they make York Peppermint Patties?"  That's right folks, only the sweetest place on earth! We could not have been more pleased with our match at, and the enthusiastic support we have received from, Penn State-Hershey Orthopedics!