blueberry crunch, hold the blueberries

I'm working on my domesticity. I hate cleaning. I like to cook, but for the last couple of years, I've been too tired to do it. There are a lot of nights that I just eat random crap until I'm not hungry anymore. One day last week I ate some grapes, 3 tomatoes, and cereal straight out of the box. Another night, I boiled some broccoli and made some toast. For the most part, if it can't be made within 10 minutes, I'm over it. I realize this is pitiful. This cannot continue throughout my adult life. So I'm working on it. My family put together this amazing cookbook last year:

I've been cooking things out of it lately. It's helping me with my domestic issue. I used to attempt to make things like my Mamaw (on the other side of my family). However, I cannot make things based on directions like "a little of this, a smidge of that, just enough to make it look good." Make it look good? Who cares what it looks like? I need it to not taste like rubber. My life revolves around science. I need an exact measurement. What the crap is a "smidge"? Please. I guess Mamaw is going to have to keep making things herself until I develop some kind of 6th culinary sense. Anyway, so this book is all of my dad's family's personal recipes. A couple of weeks ago, I decided to make my great-grandmother's pineapple upside down cake from scratch... I do not make things from scratch. It turned out amazing, and I was quite proud of myself. We called my great-grandmother "Ma," and she lived to be 102 years old. Just FYI.

Ok, so I had these intentions of making Aunt Ruby's mandarin orange cake, which sounded awesome. Still does. Maybe I'll make that once I learn to read the directions. Maybe I'll rename my blog "Stupid crap I do." I feel like half my blog is just that... stupid crap I do. So this recipe isn't exactly from scratch. It involves cake mix. The key, though, is to substitute the mandarin oranges and juice for the water while making the cake batter. I read that. Then I got all my crap out. Then I forgot about the "don't put water in there" part. So I mixed the cake batter all up, con agua, re-read the directions, and realized that I wasn't going to be making mandarin orange cake today.


So. I thought to myself... I have no icing, so I can't just make a regular cake. So I flipped through the Arnold family cookbook to find something that involved regularly-prepared cake mix and other ingredients that I happened to have. No dice. So I decided to make blueberry crunch without the blueberries. I guess I could just call it pineapple crunch, and it wouldn't sound stupid, but anyway...


If you've never had blueberry crunch, you're missing out. It also involves pineapples (I didn't just make that part up. I try not to be inventive when it comes to cooking. It usually doesn't turn out like I think it's going to.) You basically pour some crushed pineapples (and blueberries) in the bottom of a pan, add some sugar and butter, pour the cake batter on top, pour some more butter on top (this is really healthy) and top it with pecans. And bake. Voila! I like to add "refrigerate for a while" at the end of the directions. I'm not down with hot fruit. No cobblers for me. I like my fruit cold. It tastes much better after it's been refrigerated overnight.

So about those pecans. My dad's pal has a bunch of pecan trees. So every year, he goes and picks a million pecans and shells them and ziplocs them for me. God forbid we go to the grocery store and buy pecans like normal people. So I have 10 bags of pecans in my freezer. I mean, I'm not complaining. Pecans are expensive. Relatively. So are walnuts. It's a nut, not an imported delicacy. Geez. Why do you have to charge me $7 for a bag of nuts? That seems a little ridiculous to me. So I'll take my ziplocked pecans with a smile. Thanks, papa.

Along with  the pecans, my kitchen has just been re-stocked from The Garden. If you missed my post about my family's aversion to store-bought produce, here's the explanation for the pictures below. We are fully stocked with creamed corn, corn on the cob, pecans, green beans, squash....

...peppers, plums, tomatoes, cucumbers....

...homemade pickles, salsa, corn relish, plum jelly, pickled squash....


I told you that The Garden was serious business. So anyway, back to my blueberry crunch without the blueberries. It turned out fabulous.

Be back soon with mandarin orange cake--sin agua.


"I only felt like an idiot once today!"

This is going to be a long post. Just warning you. Apparently my blog is in high demand, and I don't want to let people down by leaving out any important play-by-plays in my spectacularly exciting and dramatic life. (Hey, Mom and Beth Ellen.)

First of all, it's freaking hot outside. I mean, just in case you didn't notice. Is it always this hot this early? I swear it's not. That hike to the parking lot in pants, closed-toe shoes, and a jacket is less than awesome in the afternoons. (I know what you're thinking: "take off the jacket, stupid." Well, then I lose things out of my pockets, and then I'm searching my car and retracing my steps in 110 degrees for my reference notebooks and penlights and I'm sweating and... it's just not worth it.) I think I'm going to get one of those tacky windshield reflector things so my car isn't so hot after baking in the stadium lot for 9 hours. Sorry if I've offended any proud windshield-reflector owners, but let's be honest... those things are not cool. They're tacky. Don't kid yourself.

Anyway... we are finally out of that stupid classroom! We had a "Clinician Ceremony" before we started this year. They gave us new coats with our names embroidered on them to make us feel special for a second before we spend the rest of the year feeling like incompetent dumbasses. We all went to Julep afterwards, and, well, 8:00am orientation was pretty miserable the next day. Here's part of the photo shoot.

SO. Finally! I spend time with people and not textbooks  as of a couple of weeks ago. I am starting out on Pediatrics, and I love it! Pediatricians are nice people. They don't yell at you. Thank God. Feeling stupid is bad enough; getting yelled at out loud for being stupid is ten times worse. I'll take passive aggressive over borderline verbal abuse any day. Our team sees general peds patients and a couple of specialties, including pediatric neurology! IMAGINE my nerdy excitement. It's been awesome, but we were pretty clueless for a while. Ok... who am I kidding... we're still clueless, but it's getting better. The first day of our rotation, we were on call. The first freakin day! I didn't even know where to find the charts, let alone what to write in them. I remember getting on the elevator, looking at Morgan, and saying, "That was like the 6th dumb thing I've done today." We laughed at ourselves. Yesterday, I said, "I only felt like an idiot once today!" I dare say that's improvement.

When I started this blog, I said it wasn't going to be a "med school blog." Well, it has occurred to me that med school pretty much IS my life. It's really all I have to talk about, much to the dismay of Matt Newman. I think his stomach is getting a little stronger these days, though. He doesn't cringe quite as much when I casually mention graphically detailed, interesting-only-to-me pathologies that I've discovered. Lately, he even lets me tell him about things at the dinner table, which was "against the rules" for the last couple of years. "Laura... for the love of God, let me eat first." Haha.. poor guy. He's getting more into it. It takes us 2 hours to watch "House" because he asks 200 questions, which results in  way too much use of the pause button. Thank God for DVR, right?

Fortunately, my stories are getting a bit more exciting. Usually the best ones are about the crazy things people say and do, not the medicine part of it. For example... A couple of days ago, a well-meaning lady comes up to me and says "Let me ask you a question. Mamaw always told me that insurance pays for the pillows in here. Is that still true? Or do y'all re-use 'em nowadays? Mamaw always said if you go to the hospital, you get to take them pillows because you paid for 'em anyway. So I was just wonderin'. The reason I'm askin' is 'cause I been needin' some new pillows. But I didn't wanna walk outta here with all them pillows and y'all thinkin I'm a-crazy." Too late, lady. Good grief.

Some of our stories are a little too R rated for this blog. (Ob/Gyn at a University hospital gets pretty exciting, apparently.) John got attacked by a psych patient. I would've given anything to have seen that one go down. One of the peds floors had Morgan's pager number down as "housekeeping." Housekeeping gets paged at all hours of the night, apparently. There's been crying and fainting and near-vomiting. Batson, the pediatric hospital, is under construction, so our "student lounge" is currently a cleaned-out former housekeeping closet, complete with washer and dryer hook-ups. About 3 people can fit comfortably in that room. There are 17 of us.

So anyway, it's pretty great, excluding the 5:00am alarm clock. Someone remind me why I didn't want to live in Belhaven...? Oscar Bob hates me every morning for waking him up before the sun. Speaking of which, I think it's bedtime. Have a happy Wednesday!


Step 1 is over... Hallelujah!!

Have you ever taken a test for 8 freaking hours? It truly is awful. I mean really, really, really awful. I've never been so glad to have something over with in my life. The funny thing is, I took an 8 hour exam, and I can only remember 2 of the questions. That is some serious subconscious mental blocking, my friends.

I studied for 12 hours a day (or more) for almost a month, and last Monday I took Step 1. I stayed with my Mama in Hattiesburg for the month... best decision EVER. I have the best Mama. She not only cooked me dinner every night (and none of it involved the microwave), but she also did my laundry, changed my sheets, set me up a "study space," gave me some good pep talks, and she even drove me to Mobile to take my test. We drove down on Sunday night, went to dinner, and watched the show on TLC about the guy with half a body. It was nice to just relax a little bit the night before the test (between waves of impending doom and nausea). After my test on Monday, Mama picked me up, gave me a big hug, and drove me back to Hattiesburg for some Mexican food. Thank you, Mama... I couldn't have done it without you. Someone told her the other day that it was time to cut the apron strings. This made me panicky. I said, "Please, Mama! Don't ever cut the apron strings!" Haha... I have no doubts that she won't.

This is where I spent every waking moment of May 2010.

Chelsea was pretty bored with my studies.

Now I get 2 whole weeks (that are halfway over) to enjoy the sunshine before I officially begin the life of days filled only with fluorescent lighting. I'll never have a tan again.

Ah.. now that I have some time, there's lots to catch up on. Right before our finals and boards back in April, three other girls and I threw a baby shower for our friends, Matt and Laura Miller. (Not to be confused with this Matt and Laura, whose names do not belong in the same sentence as the word "baby.") Matt is in my class, and his wife Laura has gotten to be a good friend of mine as well. They are expecting their baby boy next month!! I absolutely can't wait. She's so funny... She is having the baby at Women's Hospital and not at UMC. When asked about it, she said that there's no way she's letting a bunch of short-coats near her newborn baby! Thanks for the confidence, Laura. Just kidding. I wouldn't want my husband's friends in my L&D room either. Here are a few pictures from the shower:

Cutest cake EVER.

Rowdy bunch, we are.

Macey, Hayes, Me, and Morgan, and Matt & Laura.

Another exciting thing has happened during all this study-torture. For Mother's Day, Mama, my sister, and I went to my Mamaw and Pap's house. It was the best day of this past month. On the drive home, I realized that I hadn't thought about school or studying or the Step one single time all day. I enjoyed my family and ate Mamaw's cooking. While we were there, she told me that she was going to give me one of her sets of china. I was so excited! It's so beautiful, and more importantly, it's hers. I'm very sentimental about it. I can't wait to use it! (And yes, I plan on actually using my fine china. Life's too short to keep your china in a cabinet.) Here's what it looks like:

Isn't it pretty? My pictures just don't do it justice. I love the light blue and silver. My great-grandmother actually had a set of china identical to this one, which I think is pretty cool.

Here are a few of my favorite Mother's Day pictures. For some reason, every single time there is a holiday or some other gathering at my grandparents' house, there is a mandatory photo-shoot in the front yard, whether only a few of us are there, or if all 50 of us are there (I have quite a large family). This is usually orchestrated by my mother. At least when we're all old, there won't be any shortage of pictures from the good ol' days.

Mothers and daughters.

This is my Pap. And let me tell you one thing about this man: he can fix a mean ponytail.

Somebody give this woman an award...

Two of my absolute favorite people in the whole world...

Anyway, I guess that's about it. I am an M3!! I'm so excited to be out of a classroom and into the hospital! I start out on June 8 on Pediatrics. Cheers to the first, last, and only 2 weeks of summer--