26 April 2012

The Problem With Health Insurance

I listened to this radio piece last week and was amazed! Maybe these topics have more of an impact on me now that my husband is in the process of becoming a doctor. 

Does this sound like a problem to anyone else? I like how they covered this story because in a concise way NPR was able to highlight some issues with our current health insurance cycle of doom. I don't like this story because he didn't present any sort of solution. Without any real working knowledge of how the U.S. health care system works, I can't offer one either, though there are always directions for my finger to point blame.

23 April 2012

Honors Award

Because Scott participated in the summer ISAC program and was a TA for the Gross Anatomy course in the fall, he was invited to be part of the Honors Day Ceremony with all award winning DO students from Pomona and Lebanon campuses.

Scott and I actually rode to school together after work from Corvallis, where he was finishing his last IEP class with students from health programs at OSU and LBCC. The ceremony was broadcast from Pomona to Lecture Hall 1 at COMP-NW in Lebanon. They had a screen to view our students as well. The ceremony was about 90 minutes long (right around dinner time, ouch!) and was followed by a reception with refreshments. I have to mention that one student in Pomona was given an award for having improved the algorithm for matching student rotations. Even though this student is already done with the majority of his rotations, improving the system means that students are 70% more likely (I'm making that number up but it sounds right) to get their first choice of rotation sites. In my opinion, he more than deserves that award and a big "thank you" from all of us first years!

Look at those sharp award winners! There are three more proud wives in the world.

I am even more proud of hubby now that he did so well on his written and practical OMM finals. Some portion of that grade should go to me, considering I spent all last weekend pretending I was Scott's dad, brother, or grandma and had a neck, back or hip injury. Then again I was compensated with free neck massages and muscle energy! This school year is coming to a close fast!

19 April 2012

Philadelphia Indulgence Chocolate Cheesecake

A few weeks ago I scored an awesome deal on Philadelphia Indulgence spread using coupons at my grocery store. Of course I got dark chocolate! Was there even a question? Before I even entered the store I knew what I wanted to use the indulgence for... chocolate cheesecake! Does anyone else get on cheesecake kicks? Well, to my dissapointment, there were no sponsored recipes for Philadelphia Indulgence chocolate cheesecake. So I made one up, and even more it was successful!

Now I'm not saying that this is the ultimate chocolate cheesecake recipe, but it will sure get you by if you have this indulgence spread in your refrigerator. My friends say that it was divine... sorry, got lost in Emma.

Creamy Chocolate Indulgence Cheesecake
adapted from Our Best Bites

2 8-oz. packages of dark chocolate Philadelphia Indulgence spread
3 eggs
1/3 c. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. sour cream (not the low-fat or fat free kind)

1 1/2 c. graham cracker or chocolate wafer crumbs
1/3 c. white sugar
6 Tbsp. butter, melted
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375. Combine crust ingredients and very gently pat into the bottom of a 9″ springform pan. Bake for 5-7 minutes to set the crust before adding the batter. Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, beat the indulgence spread, adding one egg at a time, until combined. Add in the sugar, salt, and vanilla extract. Add the sour cream and mix well. Pour batter into pan and wrap the pan with aluminum foil or a turkey roasting bag (I should use one because my springform pan is leaky). Place the wrapped pan into a larger baking or roasting pan and fill the larger pan with water so it comes up about 3/4 of the side of the springform pan.

Bake for one hour or until filling is custard-like. The cake should jiggle like firm Jello, and should NOT be liquidy. You can tell because the chocolate color becomes darker. Don’t overbake. Turn off the heat and crack the oven and allow to stand for another 20 minutes or so. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 8 hours. DON’T remove springform sides until cake has set for 8 hours. This chocolate indulgence cheesecake is pretty rich, so you can make 12-15 servings. I served our cheesecake with a homemade caramel sauce and thought it was the perfect pair.


16 April 2012

A Meme for Jazz Appreciation Month

My brother, Matt, has been working on a myriad of YouTube projects lately. He is a master sound artist and a lover of movies, so these multimedia memes are right up his alley. Since April is Jazz Appreciation month, Matt decided to select one of his favorite songs by Ella Fitzgerald to spice up a scene in Shawshank Redemption. Classic movie (I watch the edited version), and classic song. Matt said he was thinking about the movie and how Andy says the Motzart aria (song originally played in this scene of Shawshank) is the most beautiful song he's ever heard. "It was like cheating," Matt said when he called me to preview his work, "since during the period when this movie was set, no one would have been familiar with this song." So Matt edited into this scene the most beautiful song he's ever heard:

Sit down and relax while appreciating the beauty of this song! When I listen to Ella singing I Love You Porgy, fond memories come to mind - driving in the car on a warm summer day, laying on my bed after a particularly hard day at work, lying on the floor sprawled out like a starfish. EVERY time I hear this song I breathe deep, stress relieving breaths, close my eyes, and think "Wow!" How amazing that a song, a woman singing can make you feel that way! Sometimes I feel the need to croon along with Ella, but I can't add to or immitate that sort of perfection.
It's hard to appreciate Matt's master sound design skills when the new music fits so seemlessly in the original movie clip. He described the work he does like Photoshoping sound - working around the dialog and sound effects to put in the new track, and then adding sounds to enhance the clip. In order to fully appreciate the skill it took Matt to make this clip, you should watch this guy's attempt at the same task. Matt's work is far superior! Good job, brother, and thank you for another peaceful, awe-inspired moment!

13 April 2012

Wicked Weekend in Portland

For Christmas, my in-laws gave Scott and I tickets to see Wicked in Portland. We loved seeing Wicked in LA when Scott and I were dating, so of course we were stoked about this Christmas gift. It was actually perfect timing too because not only did Scott have a cousin that had tickets to the show on the same weekend, but we also got to visit with Scott's grandparents who had just returned from a church mission in Kentucky!

Why I didn't take a picture of Scott with his grandparents, I'm not sure.

I did selfishly have a picture of myself, though. If you've ever been to Wicked, you know that the ushers are super strict about taking pictures in the auditorium. I have a couple theories as to why that is, including wanting to maintain the hype or not wanting to share set designs. Whatever the reason, this picture of me with the lobby poster is all I could manage by the end of the night.

That and this picture of downtown Portland at midnight.

I had to drive home so Scott could study with his laptop for his Neuro midterm on Monday. Scott was confused when I took this picture. Now that I look at it, I'm a bit surprised at its unimpressiveness.

11 April 2012

You Know A Winner

I won a sweepstakes! Impossible, right? That's what I was thinking. In fact, I don't always enter sweepstakes just because I feel like the odds are against me (I was going to write "not in my favor", but that phrase has taken on a morbid connotation). Despite these feelings, I did in fact submit my name into the Sweet Escapes Getaway Sweepstakes sponsored by Rite Aid. The grand prize was an all inclusive trip to Hershey, Pennsilvania. I've been to Hershey's Park before and thought it would be a fun Valentine's surprise to take Scott there as well. Before you get any big ideas, I didn't win a trip to chocolate wonderland. But I did win one of the sweepstakes three first prize packages from American Greetings Co retailing at $150!

One day a few months after I had submitted my name into the sweepstakes on Facebook, I received an email from someone at Don Jagoda Associates, Inc. At first I thought it was a joke or a scam, but I looked the company up on the internet and found they were legit. I also remembered that I had entered the sweepstakes, and I trusted Rite Aid's facebook page when I had entered my information for the sweeps. I responded to the email, aswering whatever questions they had (perfectly safe questions, nothing scamish), and just last week I received a box in the mail.

My prize pack included:
-3 gift bags
-2 packages of tissue paper
-1 package of Thank You cards
-1 package of blank note cards
-11 greeting cards (Yes, that pirate gator card plays music!)
-3 packages of stickers

Included in my prize is a year membership to the American Greetings website, which means that all my friends and family should at some point expect to get a "Just Because" ecard this year.

06 April 2012

Spring Is Busting Out All Over

Blooming Tree at the rear entrance of Bexell Hall on OSU Campus
Popcorn Popping at the LDS Church Building in Lebanon, Oregon
Daffodils grow like weeds here, patches sprout up in the middle of fields
Purple bushes outside Kerr Administration Building on OSU Campus

Spring has arrived in Oregon. For us this new season means color is introduced into the world again despite the persistent downpour. I doubt that it's actually BECAUSE of the rain, considering that there has been a drop or shower in the forecast since October. More than once this week someone has inserted the word "hate", with passion, in context with this weather and thus their state residency. Because rain comes with gray clouds, it does have a tendency to be depressing. Doesn't that purple just give you hope, though, that summer is around the corner for Oregon? And of course by corner, I mean July.

04 April 2012

Feeling Kind of Crummy

Stress has always been bad for Mr. Crohns. When I was in college, I spent every break between semesters sleeping. Most likely I had pushed my body to its stress limits each finals week. Once I even spent Christmas break in bed with mono. Not fun - especially since no romantic smooching introduced it.

So I guess I wasn't shocked that after a month of living in a construction zone and my sudden  move during reconstruction that I got sick. Sick involved unusual stomach pain, a high fever, and a week off from work. Bleh! I visited the doctor and he ordered some poking, pushing, and imaging to give him a better idea of where this began. See, my Crohns has to be a part of every diagnosis because it inevitably plays a part. However, that doesn't guarantee that the symptoms I experience aren't coming from another player.

This time the other player was my enlarged spleen. Involving the spleen can mean a variety of things. Most of my technicians asked if I had ever had mono, and yet, test results were all inconclusive.  Two weeks and one antiobiotic treatment later, I am fever-less (besides faux-Beiber-fever, Schnooks) and back at work. There's still something going on, but then again there has been since September. Acupuncture has been pretty successful for me up until this point, so I'm not giving up on it. But it sounds like I might need to supplement with some heavy Crohns medications. Double bleh!

*Speaking of acupuncture, I saw a blog post the other day from a couponing site that said almost the exact things that my acupuncturist said I should do for my diet. I guess I needed a Chinese detox.