Thursday, July 26, 2012

Living in the future

339 days til residency is over.

That's the first time I've actually counted how much time we have left in residency.  I can't even calculate a number for how much longer I have til I'm done with my PhD.  It gives me too much anxiety to not have an exact graduation date.

339 days feels like such a long time, but it's not really when I think about how far Jeff and I have come since moving to New Orleans the summer before his intern year.  For some reason I feel like this last year will be extra slow and as torturous as possible though.

We've started reading a book called The Medical Marriage by Wayne and Mary Sotile.  We'll read a chapter together on the weekends or whenever we have time.  I know this is incredibly cheesy, but so far it's given us invaluable insight.  Not all of it pertains to us, but that's ok.  So far, the biggest lightbulb that has gone off in our heads from reading this book is that we are constantly living in the future.  Physicians in training and medical families are used to delayed gratification.  But after so many years of postponing our lives til residency is over, til we have more money, til I'm done with school that we've become pretty miserable in our day to day lives.  Or at least I have.

It's no secret that I hate grad school.  But the constant "going without" all the time so we can save for when we'll have no income next summer has gotten pretty unbearable lately and has compounded my hatred for having to go into the lab everyday.  It makes it extremely difficult to get through the stresses of grad school and residency when we feel like we can't even enjoy ourselves along the way.

Add that to the fact that the hubs and I are both crazy Type A people who always want to do the responsible thing by saving for a rainy day.  This has resulted in our social lives becoming pretty depressing lately.  But our recent failed beach vacay combined with some insight gleaned from The Medical Marriage was just the push we needed to decide we were done living in the future.  Or at least to such an extreme.

We've decided to treat ourselves to nice dinners every now and then, and not panic so much if we go over our set monthly budget for various entertainment expenses.  But perhaps most exciting of all, we've started planning a big vacation for next summer after we both graduate.  We've always tossed around this idea in our heads, but for awhile dismissed it as costing too much money, money that could be more responsibly spent paying down loans.  But postponing our lives for so long has taken such a toll on our morale that we've just decided to go for it.  Even though it's still a year away, it gives me something exciting to look forward to which will hopefully make this last year a little less painful.  I know that looking forward to a vacation next summer is still technically living in the future, but at least it's the not so distant future.

It will be nothing short of a miracle when Jeff graduates residency and I finish my PhD next summer.  And I can't think of a better reason to spend a chunk of our hard earned cash on something intangible!

So here's to living more in the present.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Get off your butt and cook

I was doing so good last week cooking healthy meals for myself.  Full of motivation and still excited about my new "project."  I have to say though that sometimes it's just easier to have a bowl of cereal and some yogurt and call it a night.

But the eggplant and zucchini I bought last week weren't getting any fresher sitting in my fridge, so I pulled myself out of my cooking rut tonight and decided to make this Barley Ratatouille Salad I found on this Sprouted Kitchen blog recently:

It turned out pretty good!  It's the first time I've ever cooked with barley and I really liked the texture.  Plus, I'm giving myself a big pat on the back for actually enjoying the zucchini and eggplant which have historically not been my favorite veggies.

Guess I'll be eating leftovers all weekend cause I know there's no way I'll get Jeff to eat it :)

If you're interested, I'll have the recipe posted on my Recipage.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Let's try this again

Our last attempt at a beach vacation was a complete bust.  It literally rained poured the entire time Jeff and I were in Gulf Shores last month.  So when my mom invited us to come stay with her in the condo she rented this past weekend, we made a last minute decision to drive back to Gulf Shores for another chance at some sun.

Jeff and I were both in a rush to get out of work Friday and get on the road.  And that's when Jeff realized he had lost his wedding band.  Awesome.  I knew it was only a matter of time before this happened with him taking it on and off all day during surgeries.  That's why I bought him a cheapo ring.  But still, I couldn't help being a little irritated.  After driving downtown to search a classroom he had been in, and making frantic phone calls to housekeeping staff at the Baton Rouge hospital he had operated in earlier that day, a cleaning lady actually found his ring!  In a scrub pants pocket in a huge laundry bin full of dirty scrubs.  We will be writing this woman a very nice thank you note.  So an hour behind schedule, we were finally on our way to the beach!

And get sun we did.  The weather on Saturday was ok, but Sunday was perfect and we soaked up as many rays as possible.  I have proof of a successful beach vacay in the form of an uneven sunburn covering approximately 75% of my body.

One thing we have learned about Gulf Shores is that the eating situation is terrible.  Not only do the majority of restaurants down there serve downright bad food, but you have to wait a guaranteed hour and a half to get into most places at dinner time.  Anyone looking for a surefire business opportunity?  Open a restaurant in Gulf Shores.

Luckily, there's a little beach shack called Sea & Suds within walking distance of where we always stay that serves the best fish or shrimp sandwiches for only $5-6.  (They also serve a pretty mean pina colada).  We had lunch there both days.

At Sea & Suds

Jeff's parents, brother Joe, and grandma also made a last minute trip to Gulf Shores that same weekend, so we were happy to get to spend some quality time with them:

Jeff's parents

Joe, Grandma, and Jeff

And my cousin Addie made the trip as well:

Mom and Addie

After many trips to GS driving around trying to find a tourist trap for dinner with a less than 2 hour wait, we decided to go to Louisiana Lagniappe for the sole reason that they let you call ahead and put your name on the list.  Smart, those people.

Before dinner

Dinner was awesome, albeit a bit pricey.  But definitely the best meal we've had in Gulf Shores.

At the LL Bar

Jeff, me, and Mom

Me and Addie

Note that those pictures were all pre-sunburn.

So back to the daily grind again today and back to eating healthier after our weekend splurge.  Jeff headed back to Baton Rouge this morning before dawn like he does every Monday.  Hope everyone has a great week!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Time for a change

With summer well underway and shorts and flip flops a part of my daily wardrobe, I can no longer ignore the fact that I've been a little lax on the healthy eating front lately.  Ok...a lot lax.  It's easy to do in New Orleans.  Even someone with an insane amount of willpower would have trouble resisting the lure of delicious treats on every Nola corner.  And insane willpower I have not.

So with my pre-wedding clothes fitting a little tighter and our bank account suffering from our frequent restaurant visits, I knew it was time for an extreme makeover, food edition.

I decided I really wanted to start eating better, not to be on a "diet" but just to focus on putting healthier foods into my body.  When Jeff is home, it's hard to eat healthy while also finding something to cook for dinner that he likes to eat and that's filling enough for him after a long day of fasting at the hospital.  With Jeff now living in Baton Rouge on week nights I had the opportunity about a week ago to do a complete grocery list overhaul.

Here's some of my swag:

I've been sticking to these foods for a week now and I already feel so much better.  AND by eating mostly whole foods at every meal I didn't feel so guilty when the hubs and I went for a Sunday night froyo run.

Although I have come up with a pretty good froyo substitute:

Nonfat Greek yogurt w/ frozen berries

I introduced Jeff to Lentil Quinoa Salad this past Friday night in an effort to get him to jump on the bandwagon:

He hates beans so I told him lentils were a grain.  Still couldn't fool him.  He wasn't a fan.  Guess you can't win em all.

I've been trying to make healthier decisions for breakfast and lunch as well.  I had gotten into the habit of bringing a Lean Cuisine for lunch everyday out of convenience.  Have you ever looked at the sodium content on a Lean Cuisine?  It's a lot...

Easy quick breakfast- apples and nonfat cottage cheese

Veggie sandwich- better than a Lean Cuisine!

They say it takes 30 days for something to become a habit.  It's only been a week, but so far it's been pretty easy as all these foods are filling and don't leave me feeling deprived.  I'm going to start sharing some of the recipes I've tried on a new "Recipes" tab on this blog.  

And I'd love for you to share some of your healthy recipes with me!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

4th Festivities

Oh the perks of an elective rotation- Jeff had off for the 4th!  Amazing this 5th year so far, I tell you what!

We started celebrating early the night before at Rum House uptown with some great friends for "Taco Tuesdays." $2 tacos!  Delicious and resident-budget friendly.  Problem is, everyone in New Orleans seems to know about Taco Tuesdays.   With a 1 hour wait and a 2 hour long dinner it turned into quite the event.  But well worth it!  And this isn't your run of the mill taco stand.  There's duck tacos!  Duck!  And lamb vindaloo.  On a taco!  And about 15 other variations for anything you could possibly be craving.   I have no pictures because when the waitress places your plate in front of you after waiting some 2 odd hours for these things, you don't stop to take pictures.

Rum House has it down.  They have delicious caribbean-type drinks to keep you happy while you wait.

Coconut mojito 

After dinner, Jeff declared Rum House his favorite restaurant. It's that good.

The evening of the 4th we headed down to Woldenberg Park to catch the fireworks show on the Mississippi River.  There's a dueling barges show every year that draws a huge crowd.  We learned from past years and came prepared with folding chairs and picked up a "go cup" of cheap beer while we waited for the show to start.

Go cups.  Best perk of living in Nola.

Pre-show at the park

We had a relaxing, Nola style 4th before Jeff headed back to Baton Rouge at some ungodly hour this morning.  Here's to a short week!