I hope you had a Merry CHRISTmas!

It's been a while since I've blogged. I've been too busy doing absolutely nothing. Since exams have been over, most days I've slept a minimum of 13 hours. To a med student, it really is the most wonderful time of the year! Anyway, I just thought I'd share some of my favorite pictures of Christmas. But before that, I just have one thing to say. Christmas is about JESUS. Not about being politically correct. It is NOT a secular holiday. If you don't believe in the birth of Christ, you have no reason to celebrate Christmas. So if you aren't interested in celebrating or seeking Christ during this time, mind your own business. And if I hear one more story about protesters trying to take nativity scenes or other religious elements out of Christmas, I am going to go postal on somebody. You don't like it, ignore it. It is not hurting you. I don't celebrate Buddhist holidays or Hindu, Muslim, or Jewish holidays, but I also don't go around trying to stop people from celebrating the true meaning of their holidays. Last time I checked, this was AMERICA. And last time I checked, that was the point of the founding of this country. Freedom of religion, speech, etc. etc. etc. Ok. You get it. Moving on.

We started off Christmas break with the Tacky Christmas party in Jackson. It's a fundraiser for the Magnolia Speech School. Please note that I'm wearing a moo moo... Love it.

See that picture of Katie and I in those white nightgowns? I don't think you can really see it here, but I think we look like vampires or dead children in a horror movie. We're really pale, our hair is messy, and we're not really smiling. I picked it out of the pile of pictures to put on display myself. I like the creepiness. 

I love these things... I think they're hilarious. 

Every year Katie and I each get a new ornament. This was my very first ornament.

And my most recent ornament. Roll Tide!

The stocking I've had since birth. My favorite part is my name: glued-and-glittered. My mom used to always forget to fill our stockings, so Christmas mornings she would stuff our smallest present down in it. I don't have a picture of the stocking that I have at my daddy's house, but he was very reliable in his stocking-stuffing. Candy candy candy. Always.

I like this picture because Oscar Bob snuck in at the last second with his hedgehog.

While you may think Occabob is posing for his Olan Mills portrait, he's really grunting at me so that I will throw his ball, which is laying at my feet. He's also a bit irritated that we tied Christmas present ribbons and ornaments around his neck. He's dang cute though, huh? 

Christmas morning hot chocolate.

A few of my cousins on my mom's side of the family. Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera during my dad's side of the family Christmas. I have about a million wonderful cousins on both sides. I'm very lucky to have such a [huge] great family. 

I think this is my favorite picture ever of my sister. She is so happy about that dirty Santa gift!! I'm stealing it and wearing it to next year's Christmas party. Fo. Sho.

My cousin Ashley. I almost dropped my camera and this was the result. I thought it was a cool picture!

On my dad's side, we draw names. On my mom's side, we play dirty santa. This year, I won a little hand-held massager thing, which Matt termed "pocket spa." I think I had about 6 different things at some point or another. Everyone kept stealing from me! At the very end, I had these amazing, candy-cane colored, shea butter-infused SOCKS. It was my mamaw's backup gift (ie, someone forgot theirs), so there was also $5 in it. Mamaw has been sticking $5 bills in everything from letters she sent while we were at camp to dirty santa gifts. She always says it's "coke money." I just think that's funny. Anyway, my cousin Ryan, who is several years older than me, STOLE MY SOCKS because he wanted the $5! I pouted about it and tried to run away with my socks, but he got them. Later, he gave the socks to Matt and told him to give them to me later. I guess sometimes you just really need five bucks. Thanks Ryan :)

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! Happy New Year! 


My favorite holiday and....PASADENA?!

IWell, first things first: ROLL TIDE!!! Being the lone Bama fan in a sea of Ole Miss grads has made for an interesting couple of football seasons. I have faithfully defended my team AND my quarterback every weekend. I must say, I love me some Greg McElroy. Ask Ben Mullins. I've been chanting McElroy's name since circa 2007 (I'm not so much a JP fan...). So Ole Miss got a little big for their britches at the beginning of the season (see previous post), but I've just been waiting...quietly. Well, we beat the Rebels. Then we beat everybody else. Still, everyone just knew Florida was going to kick our tails. Everyone said we couldn't do it. It'd be close, sure, but there's "no way y'all are beating Tebow." 32-13 says we did. So, I'll let you know what the weather's like in Pasadena. I smell roses!!

Now, a little back-track. In the midst of studying for finals (which I should be doing right now), I have not had a chance to write about my favorite time of the year!  Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It's just about family and spending time together. You don't have to worry about giving presents, and it doesn't come with all the stress. I have a huge family, and I love hanging out with all of my cousins. There is nothing I look forward to more than my Mamaw's dressing and banana pudding without bananas (seriously). I slept straight through most of the parade, which I usually like to watch, but the sleep was much-needed. I somehow slept through the tv, the food processor, a small army of people talking in rather loud voices (y'all know my whole family is deaf). So I suppose I really needed the sleep. After I put myself on the brink of a food-induced coma at my Mamaw and Pap's house, I drove 45 minutes to see my dad's side of the family. The first thing my 5 year old cousin Drew said to me was "WHERE is your boyfriend? WHY isn't he HERE?" Good to see you, Drew. Somehow Matt has stolen the hearts of my cousins' children. He teaches them magic tricks and things like how to flip coins. It really is precious. After a few hours of visiting, stuffing more food into my body, and taking a cat nap on the loveseat in my Papaw's room, I headed back to Monticello, the land of one redlight, hometown of my mother, Mamaw and Pap's house. We always play games, usually skip-bo or some kind of card game. (I know what you're thinking.. how lame.. but it really is fun!) However, this Thanksgiving there was a new game on the table. It was homemade: hand-cut wood, painted, and it even had those little labels on it that you can make with a label-making kit. This wonderful game was called Fast Track. All I know is that it came from Arkansas (I don't know...), and Ryan and I won! (Ps, if you ever play a game with my grandmother, be warned that she is a VERY competitive woman.) We had a grand ol' time. My cousins keep me laughing. They are funny people. It was a much-needed, wonderful break from school. I have so much to be thankful for!

A few of my cousins, my sister (she says she's the pretty one), and my overly-competitive grandmother, Shirley. She's my favorite person ever.

Fast track!

Decorating the tree! 

We put this angel on top of our tree. It's pretty ugly. I don't know what made my mother pick that out to put on top of the tree, but it's been around for at least as long as I've been alive. Now it's just funny, and I would never want to replace it. I also like to be the one to put it up there.

Much to Oscar Bob's delight, it was a smooth 70 degrees on Sunday after Thanksgiving. Gotta love Mississippi.


Don't get too big for your britches.

I am going to post about my Thanksgiving as soon as I find my camera cord. For now, a funny little story about today....

So, I saw a patient by myself for the first time today. I felt very empowered. You walk in with a white coat on, and people just start telling you things. They assume you know everything. This, of course, is ridiculous, but I must admit that I may have felt a little too big for my britches for a minute. Then I got lost trying to get back to the medicine lounge, and I had to ask a janitor where it was. Don't worry, my britches fit again. Humility....a very good thing. 


Welcome to the 21st century...

When I was old enough to hold a dish without dropping it, my dad made me wash dishes. He does not believe in a dishwasher. In fact, I really don't think our dishwasher has been used in at least ten years. Seriously. I'm not kidding. After dinner, my sister, my dad, and I would clean up. Immediately. One of us would wash the dishes, one would dry, and the other would put up. I don't know where the obsessive-compulsiveness comes from, but I certainly didn't get the genes. I have absolutely no problem letting those dishes sit there for a couple of hours while I relax after a good meal. And when I do get ready to do the dishes, I certainly don't wash them by hand. I hate to sound like a brat, but HELLO, welcome to the 21st century. Use a freaking dishwasher. That's what they're there for.

Along with snubbing modern technology, my family members also turn their noses up at the produce aisle in the grocery store. You see, we have a garden. "The Garden." The Garden is more like a small farm. My whole family--my dad, my aunts and uncles, cousins--plants rows and rows and rows of every vegetable you can think of every year. Okra, corn, cucumbers, squash, every kind of peppers in existence, the list goes on. Here's the thing though: all of these fruits and vegetables are planted by hand, then picked by hand. It doesn't stop there, my friends. We make our own jellies, pickles, salsa, corn relish, and probably some other things that I can't think of at the moment. (When I say "we," I really mean "they." However, I do contribute to the picking and shelling/shucking processes. I learned how to shell peas before I could write my name.) I sometimes feel like this is how Laura Ingalls Wilder lived. I love Laura Ingalls Wilder. Or George Washington. I'm not complaining: my pantry is stocked with mason jars of various homemade concoctions, and my freezer is packed with fresh, frozen vegetables. I have a huge family, and there's enough to last everyone a whole year. This garden is serious business. 

The dishwasher issue I despise, but the Garden is my favorite thing about my family. It's a tradition. It's funny. Who does that? Who plants and picks that many crops by hand in the year 2009? We do. Arnold family bonding is what we like to call it. The Garden is a family affair. We sit on the back porch of my aunt's house and wash, snap, shuck, shell, ziploc, and label. Usually there's beer and good story-telling, which is all the more reason to love the Garden.

So tonight, I pulled some potatoes out of a tattered wal-mart bag and scrubbed the dirt off of them. They were straight from the Garden. I sliced them up, poured Italian dressing over them, and powdered them with Tony's. Then I put them in the old corningware that my mom gave me. I was so excited that she gave me some of it. I never thought I'd cherish my mother's corningware. But I do. Not because of what it is or how it looks... Because it's my mom's. She's cooked in it since I was a child, and it just feels like home with it sitting on my stove. It's simple. Classic. It makes me happy. Thanks, Mom.


Astronaut pens

I really believe that I was born in the wrong decade. I was made for simpler times. I hate technology. I hate that every time you figure something out, they have to go and "update" it. Why?? Why the constant updating? If it ain't broke, don't fix it. It was fine like it was, and I knew how to work it! Take iTunes for example. My friends make fun of me because my iTunes hasn't been updated in years. The last time I updated it, everything was changed around, and it took me an hour to figure out where everything went. And now every time I turn on my computer, the pop up "you have updates" messages flash angrily at me. As if they are cussing me and calling me stupid. Still, I refuse. No updates for me.

Needless to say, due to my computer illiteracy, my blog is very plain. I spent 2 hours last night trying to figure out how to put pictures on it (not post them--add them to the top of my page to decorate it). It ended with me cursing my computer, the internet, Al Gore, and Comcast. Although, for once in this lifetime, it really wasn't Comcast's fault. I just hate them and their monopoly on internet service and the fact that my internet doesn't work half the time. Feel free to inform me how to put pictures up.

I am starting this blog for a couple of reasons. First of all, all of my closest friends felt the need to move away. Boston, Montgomery, Birmingham, UTAH for pete's sake... Who lives in Utah that was born in the South? My bff Amanda. She's saving the world in Utah. So some of my friends have blogs, and I like to be updated on their lives. I also like that it's like a journal. When I started medical school, I had full intentions of writing a journal about it. That lasted about five minutes. Maybe during boring lectures I'll get some "journaling" done on here. I'd like to look back and remember some things about these remaining 2.5 years because I'm sure much of it will be blocked out.

Anyway, I didn't think this post would end up being a novel, but the one thing I wanted to write about is astronaut pens. Did I miss the memo somewhere? Does everyone know about astronaut pens? I had never heard of these incredible inventions. Apparently they are pens that you can write upside down with (the pen being upside down, not you). Matt told me last night that his Papaw only used astronaut pens so that he could lay in his bed and do cross word puzzles lying down (paper in the air). You know, you go to write something on the post-it paper thing on the refrigerator and your pen doesn't work because the pen is pointed up? Well... astronaut pens. Who knew?