Saturday, March 2, 2013

Confession: I'm an recovering addict...Of caffeine that is!

I've been a little absent from the blog again, but I think I had some pretty good reasons!

About a month ago, I had a mild head cold and just wasn't feeling all that great.  Unfortunately, rotations still go on and I was trying to do too much outside of my rotation on top of not feeling well.  I kicked the cold, but with less than 6 hours of sleep a night, I was waking up nauseated, already tired, and compensating with WAY too much caffeine.  I'm talking a couple of cups of coffee in the morning, feeling the slump at noon and adding in a Crystal Light Energize (120 mg of caffeine) for the afternoon!  So over the limit of 200 mg of caffeine a day.  It was time to change before I spiraled even further down. #caffeineaddictionconfession

First thing to go?  Caffeine.  I quit "cold turkey" and had an AWFUL headache the first day.  Yes, I could have had a bit of caffeine to get me over the hump, but my mindset was all or nothing at the time.  I've never been a big pop drinker, but stopping the coffee and Crystal Light Energize addiction was difficult.  So I started by substituting in regular Crystal Light - Lemonade, Raspberry Lemonade, and Raspberry Ice are my usual go-to flavors! My goal was to drink two water bottles a day (my reusable water bottles are similar to these, so closer to 20 oz a pop, so 40 oz total).
Nalgene On The Fly Water Bottle
I've gradually cut back on the Crystal Light flavors and am drinking mainly straight ice water.  I've found that containers keep me accountable and I tend to drink more water with a straw.  Some days are obviously easier than others. For example, if I know there's an 8 or 10 hour surgery the next day, I'm not about to down a bunch of water the night before or the morning of.  That's setting yourself up for disaster in the OR. Take my word for it, or take Grey's Anatomy word for it. 
Disclaimer: I've never met anyone who has actually resorted to this, including myself. We just have amazing bladder training, which is definitely not good for the bladder either.  #theworstpatients

With the changes to the amount of caffeine I ingest and how much water I was drinking, I noticed within a few days, I was already feeling MUCH better!  However, I was still battling the alarm clock pretty bad in the morning.  I think my problem was I adjusted my sleeping schedule EVERY day based on when I had to be up the next morning, but often stayed up too late because that was what my body was used to.  My sleep schedule was WAY out of whack. So I morphed into an 80 year old.  I started going to bed between 9:15 and 9:45 at night, waking up at 5:30 to 6:00 in the morning (I usually leave for the hospital around 6:30 in the morning).   Yes I know that's actually quite a lot of sleep, but I usually require between 8 and 9 hours of sleep to be happy and function like a normal person.

Within a few days, I was only hitting snooze once (HUGE accomplishment for me who normally hits it for a solid 30 minutes at least).  I stuck to this sleep schedule regardless of what time I needed to be up the next day (i.e. clinic days at 8 am or weekends with no need to wake up!).  I found myself waking up on my own within a half hour or so of when I normally would need to be up, but I was AWAKE and feeling like I actually was getting enough sleep for once.

So at this point I've been off caffeine for about 4 weeks, have upped my water intake to almost 50 oz a day (still short of the 64 oz generally recommended, but I really don't care), and have adjusted my sleep schedule accordingly.  While I've feeling WAY better than I was a month ago, I still feel a little "meh."  I think the next thing I need to add to my "new lifestyle" is exercise. I've had all the excuses in the past that everyone else has had, but time and motivation are really my limiting factors. I like to see results instantly, so I've always struggled with exercise, as I know it takes WEEKS to really see or feel a true difference. 

With that being said, I'm going to take the next few weeks to figure out what works with my schedule and see how I feel after trying it for about a month (during my busiest rotation this year coincidentally).  And since I just broadcast it to the world, I guess I'm going to have to follow through huh?

Disclaimer #2 of this post: I recently injured myself pretty good.  And by recently I mean 3 months ago and I'm still sore and somewhat limited in what I can do.  So this transition to exercise may not be earth shattering, but every little bit helps right? #nolongerhobblingorbeingadvisedtouseacane #IswearI'minmy20s

Anybody else changing their usual lifestyle or routine? Anybody with workout motivation for me? I seem to have lost my motivation back in high school and never really found it again...

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Soup casualty

I made the potato soup on my list of options for dinner which was a GREAT decision - it's delicious!  The not so great decision was deciding to heat it up in the microwave uncovered.  The microwave suffered casualties.

There was soup was already a dried on mess and was EVERYWHERE.

To the point I didn't want to heat anything else up in the microwave it was that bad.  So I combined some water with some lemon juice (the reason the water looks a little off), set the microwave to 4 minutes and let the steam do the work. You need a decent amount of water in the bowl so that all of the water doesn't evaporate and cause more problems, but not so much you are running your microwave forever to get it warmed up.

When the time is up, the microwave is a steamy lemony smelling mess, which is EXACTLY what you want!  I used a Magic Eraser while wearing gloves (because the lemon-water mixture is HOT) and dipped the Magic Eraser in the hot water prior to wiping down the side of the microwave.

I started with the door, then the ceiling, then the back of the microwave before the effects of the steam had worn off.  So I added some cool water to the bowl and restarted the microwave for another couple of minutes, then attacked the sides.  I washed the tray in the sink and finally cleaned up the floor of the microwave.

Total time? About ten minutes.

Outcome? I can use my microwave again!

What tricks do you use to clean your microwave?

Monday, January 21, 2013

Stompin' in my Air Force Ones

No, I never did have a pair of Nike Air Force Ones, but with the Presidential Inauguration playing on TV, I thought I would share my most recent "Presidential" experiences involving Air Force One (not the shoes, the plane).

Since I started interviewing in October, I had AMPLE opportunities to "run" into the Presidential Campaign of 2012.  In fact, on one interview trip, I ran into BOTH candidates in a total of three states. That made for a LONG travel experience, especially when they shut down the airports for HOURS.  It was almost entertaining to see how mad people were at O'hare at this point, with numerous flights delayed, connections missed, etc., but I digress.

I got to the airport a full two hours early because I knew Air Force One was supposed to be landing and I didn't want to be delayed getting TO the airport since my flight was scheduled to leave during his arrival.  If you have never had the pleasure of trying to get around a town with the President in town, I can vouch on my experiences that it is definitely not easy.  The highways are shut down. Pedestrian traffic is rerouted.  Snipers appear all over the place.  It's a little eery!

I made it to the airport this day with no problems and as I sat at my gate, the friendly security guard explained how the whole process worked to me and another passenger waiting for our flight.  Then he pointed to the sky:

And within seconds, Air Force One had landed, unfortunately without Harrison Ford.  (Airforce One was one of the first movies I saw at the drive-in. I remember it being awesome, but I was also in the single digits for age and don't think I've seen it since. #didIjustagemyself?)

Air Force One taxied across the airport to it's own separate hanger, so the President can disembark safely and in privacy to his awaiting motorcade! Then he and his motorcade can proceed to his event and then, only then, can the airport resume the boarding process and air travel (nobody can be outside the actual airport during all of this - something about snipers?). Whole process took about 45 minutes from seeing Air Force One until we could board.  We were delayed, but not too bad!

What I wish I would have gotten a picture of?  The minivan that was escorting Air Force One with the snipers hanging out of the top.  A MINIVAN.  Brings new meaning to Mommy Missles!  #watchoutforminivans

I actually learned from the same friendly security guard that prior to the President's arrival, one to three or more of these show up:

This photo does not do the size of this plane justice: it was impressively sized.  To give a little bit of perspective, the back of the airplane actually opens up and the motorcade spills out!  One of the cargo planes usually stays at whatever site the President is supposed to be at, while the others drop their cargo and move on, only to return in the next few days to pick up their cargo.

Since he was only scheduled to talk for an hour, there were several more cities with the same set-up that day.  And as odds would have it, I ran into his running mate in another city (delayed an hour and half or so), then the President himself at O'hare. He had been there a few hours before actually, but we ran into the aftermath of hundreds of flights delayed and diverted, now trying to catch up.  We actually got diverted because we were running low on fuel from circling the airport, then diverted again back to O'hare (confusing). Thankfully, my connecting flight home was also delayed because of the craziness that day, so no connections were missed for this girl!

If I could give any advice to people interviewing at cities necessitating flying during the Presidential Campaign?  Don't do it.  Wait the extra few weeks.  Or you can do what I did: TCBY fro-yo for dinner during your "Presidential Delay."

Happy Inauguration/Martin Luther King Day!  Celebrate with some frozen yogurt (if you need a reason to eat frozen yogurt), or better yet some hot chocolate because it is FREEZING outside!

Now let's chat about what really matters today: The First Lady's attire and bangs.
J Crew to the Inauguration?  I like your style!  What are your thoughts on the Inauguration style?!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Oak Be Gone

When Luke and I moved to our current rental, we suddenly had more space than we had furniture for (great problem!).  We had also officially graduated to grown ups: we had room for not one, but TWO nightstands in our bedroom!  Yes, this is the sign that you are grown up in case you didn't know.

So since we were all "grown up" but still had income that was pretty much loan money for educational purposes, I scoured Craigslist and found these beauts.  

Yes they were a pair.  

Yes they were the perfect size.

Yes they were in our very reasonable price range.

No they were not where we lived BUT they were where my parents lived!  I remember them calling from the person's house and my Dad bargaining with the seller.  He was proud he had brought the price down and I was ecstatic it was all working out!  My Mom - well I think she was a little freaked she was in some stranger's house, but hey, she was there for moral support for my Dad!

So I got to work priming, painting, and attaching new handles to get rid of the oak color and dated handles that didn't really jive with our decor.

Ready for the new nightstands?

The handles were purchased through ebay for less than $2/piece and have held up well over the past couple of years! (If you search "brushed nickel cup drawer pull" you can find similar options.) The paint is Painter's Touch (Rustoleum) in Heirloom White and I think Kona Brown (?) with a poly finish on top to protect it.  Had I redone the nightstands now, I would use the ORB - Oil Rubbed Bronze - paint instead of the Kona color (was not available when I originally did this).

We use the nightstands daily and the surface is just now starting to get a little scratched, but they easily wipe down for dusting and have been quite practical for storing books for night reading, sheets for the bed, and other odds and ends.  

 Before and After:

Total for the actual nightstands and refinishing was under $70 (maybe even lower) for the pair.  Not too shabby! 

Friday, January 18, 2013

What's for dinner?

I think this is one of the most common questions in every household: What's for dinner?!

Our house is no different.  Since we both have fairly unpredictable schedules, we never have a "set" menu for the week, as at our current stage in life this wouldn't be a practical solution.  Instead, last fall we started having a "What are the options for dinner" list on the refrigerator.  I write down different options for dinner that we have all of the ingredients for, and Luke knows what options are available if he's hungry or motivated to make dinner!

Typically we have options that are quick, as well as some options that may take a little longer to make/bake, but are generally pretty straightforward. We've also found that having this list makes it easier to say, "Hey, this and this sound good, which one of the two would you like tonight?"  By having a more limited option list, we don't spend half hour looking in the fridge, freezer, or pantry, then ultimately deciding on cereal because we are too famished to actually make something at this point.

Once we make something on the list, we cross it off.  Once we are down to a few options, I generally go back through the fridge, freezer, and pantry and see if there are any other options.  If we have no other options left - it's back to the store!

Sometimes I see that we have majority of the ingredients for a few meals and make a quick grocery store run for just those items that we need.  We end up saving money using what we already have and not going to the grocery store aimlessly.

Another perk?  We often have leftovers, which means a night off of cooking or an easy lunch option for the next day.  Living with Luke, leftovers typically don't last much past the next day ;)

Need some ideas for some easy meals? 
I love Pearls, Handcuffs, and Happy Hour's Easy Crockpot Potato Soup and her Hot Chicken Salad (to DIE for!).  I make minor modifications to both (i.e. fat free soups and light mayo, silvered almonds instead of potato chips, etc) but these two recipes routinely make their way into our dinner rotations!

Other websites I love for recipes? 
Has HUNDREDS of recipes that are all made more healthy and nutritious without sacrificing flavor!

Iowa Girl Eats
Down to earth Iowa girl with a wide variety of recipes that are easy to follow and offers variety without being difficult or too far out for the ingredient list!

All Recipes
The mecca of recipes.  Thousands of recipes with reviews and the option to save recipes to your digital recipe box.  Also has the option to search for recipes with certain ingredients.  A little overwhelming with the number of recipes, but I have found some FANTASTIC options on this site!