All my single ladies

As previously stated, the lovely Matthew left on Christmas. Since then, I have been livin' the life of a single lady, quite gloriously too I think. Okay, well, no going out and picking up guys at bars or eating my feelings while watching chick flicks. I know there are many people out there who either A. really are a single lady and have to do this every day and night or B. have husbands who travel much more than mine. Whatever. Basically, my single-lady-ness consists of: lots of sweat pants (and by lots, I mean the same pair just for many hours), working out, watching TV on hulu, and eating whenever I want. The TV thing is only slightly shaming - I have watched all of "Up All Night," most of "New Girl," and am now starting on "Parks of Rec" (current seasons of course). I just wish my chair were a little more comfortable. In terms of the eating when I want, it is sort of great. Not that Matt is bossy about when we eat, but he often has a very small lunch and, therefore, is usually hungry at 5pm. Or 5:30 if I am lucky. The past 3 nights I have eaten at 8pm. Glorious. Simply glorious. Granted, there are some downsides. I close and lock our bedroom door because no matter how much I tell myself not to, I get a little scared at night. I get a little delirious in the mornings when he isn't here. I always think he got out of bed before I did - and then get a little angry until I realize he isn't in Omaha. I have no one to bake for. Besides my coworkers. And I think they aren't always happy when I bring them hoards of baked goods. Huh. Matt's coworkers are much more receptive. Less than a week 'til he's back! Now if I could just pick up...

Sometimes I tackle things in the kitchen I think simply to say I've done it. Not so that I can do it all the time or put it in our normal dinner rotation. I just want to try things once, or twice if it is really good. This week has consisted of several things that a couple years ago I never thought I would have tackled - croissants, cheese (!), and, if single girl can get off her butt tonight, pad thai. Have I already talked about the croissants? Well, they are pronounced cwa-sauns (per the bossy lady in London). I was going to take them to work, but, Becky got a little eager and didn't let them rise enough...or cook enough. They are flaky though still for all my blunders. And yes, I will still eat them. They are taunting me now.

The cheese!!!!! So, I started off easy: queso blanco. I told myself from the get-go to follow the directions. No straying as I usually do. And I did. For the most part. I did add a chipotle pepper or 2 :D. It took much longer for my milk to get to temp than I thought it would, but it turned out great. The great thing about this cheese is that you can grill it! And put it on salads. And I am very proud of myself. Next week: mozzarella!!!

In terms of "intern year" update: night float is progressing along. My first night of cross-cover (non admitting) I got a solid 6.5 hours of sleep. Amazing. Since then, however, I haven't had as much luck. 2 hours at a time at most, but still, I will get about 5-6 a night. Fine by me! Last night, however, was different. I had a patient with atrial fibrillation (you've all seen the fun commercials about the expensive drug for it). Anyway, he will sometimes have ventricular tachycardia, which is something that can be life threatening if your heart stays in it for too long. Some people, however, you have problems with their heart rhythm to begin with will have a tendency to have "runs" of v-tach - won't stay in it but will have quite a few beats of it. This gentlemen just kept having them, only a few beats at a time at first about 30minutes apart. At about midnight, however, it became longer and more frequent. Sigh. Let's just say, I used a lot of Matt's high caffeine tea blend gift to get me through today. 


Merry Christmas! (part 2)

I think I left off on Christmas Eve.

Matt and I woke early on Christmas, ran down the stairs to find a pile of gifts left by santa, made snow angels in the fresh powder just outside our door, drank gallons of just-hot-enough cocoa, wore slippers and robes and PJs around all day, and enjoyed of feast of turkey and perfect mashed potatoes. Oh wait. That isn't what happened at all. Other than the early rising part.

Matt has the unfortunate (?) condition of having been born on Christmas day. For him, this means he usually gets fewer gifts and no parties. For me, that means more planning. I think possibly for the first time in a long time, Matt actually had a birthday party. And I gave him his Christmas and birthday gifts at different times. By different times, I mean before and after breakfast. We opened our gifts slowly (allowing the oven to heat up). Matt got me some clothes (for women shocked by this, Matt is good because he picks out things he wants to see me wear, and for anyone who knows me, I am not a big shopper and I rarely think outside the box when it comes to clothes), a new watch, some candy, and a book! And some other things I am sure. Oh, a really really great tea blend that has tons of caffeine in it. I also received fancy vanilla beans from my sister and an "exotic hot dog sampler" from my little brother. The exotic meats include - kobe beef, antelope, llama, alligator, yak, and venison. We have yet to try them, but I will let you know when we do. My parents, who already gave us an amazing wedding this year, gave us a fancy camera!!! A Canon Rebel something or other. I am reading how to use it and am so excited! The last time I bought a camera, it was in 2005 I think. The LCD screen is about 1.5inches. Yep. I am still rocking it. It still takes great pictures though. For Christmas, I got Matt some dress shirts, plenty of booze related items, some cool "speakeasy" coasters (don't ask me why that makes them different than just, well, a coaster). Then came the best part of the day - BREAKFAST!

I made this and this. I followed the recipe for the first one to a T, and it turned out awesome. We still have some in the fridge even. I go eat that now...okay, I'm back. I made the whole thing the night before, and just left it in the garage overnight. It probably could have been a little fluffier, and I probably didn't cook it long enough. None of that, however, detracted from the ooey-gooey yumminess that is cinnamon and sugar and soft bread. (and...drooling). The eggs, well, I was more inspired by this post than I was prompted to follow the directions exactly. I still marked it off my recipe list though.

After gorging ourselves came birthday gifts. I was lazy (no comments on the fact that I have hoards of hours during the day during which I watch trashy TV) and didn't wrap the birthday gifts. They were hard to wrap though! I gave him a Canucks hat, a recliner table (like an end table but very very narrow - now he can put his martinis on a table and not the floor!), and - in my most crafty of moments - a scrapbook of our honeymoon!!!! It was a cheap version though. No fancy paper or decorations on each page. I kept it "simple" and "organic" with awesome 2nd grader construction paper. I did splurge and buy a 3 pack of fun scissors. Matt (told me that he) loved it! It was fun looking at all the pictures again. It was less fun cutting things and taping things and gluing things. Bleh.

I sadly had to take Matt to the airport at about 10:15. Sigh. On the bright side, on my way home, I got in the left lane (2 lanes total) of the freeway to pass a slower vehicle. Some turkey breath who is too busy to slow down gets up on my rear end. I stay calm as it was Christmas day and all. Up ahead, driving the complete other direction, I see a sheriff. And the sheriff sees the gentleman behind me. The sheriff immediately flips around on one of those "for emergency vehicles only" things, turns on his lights, and pulls the turkey breath over! It sort of cheered me up. Justice!

I proceeded to video chat with my family during their breakfast, do Insanity since the gym was closed, and go to work. I know. Thrilling. This was my first Christmas away from my family. It has been tough as I love this time of year. :( Next year at least, we will be near family all the time. So excited.


Merry Christmas! (Part 1)

Merry Christmas every body! Happy Boxing Day! I gave the maid the day off. I hope she is enjoying it. 

During our (required) pre-marital counseling, there were questions concerning traditions and what we wanted to hand down to our children. As with many questions, we said, "Well, we understand that this will be an issue at some point, but for now, we don't know." Sigh. It was the easy way out. Even though we don't have children yet, this was our first Christmas together as a married couple, so it of course brought these questions to mind (specifically my mind). My family has a lot of traditions around this time of year. And I love them all. I love that we all fall asleep at about 9pm (if we're lucky) while watching some old Christmas movie. I love Grandpa's mass & Pete's Pizza. While Matt enjoys Christmas as well, his family doesn't have quite as many traditions. If this blog still exists when we have kids, stay tuned. We will see what happens.

Our past few days have looked something like this:

Matt's last day was Wednesday. I worked that night. He went out. I got home at 8:30am. We...went...shopping (?). He went to a basketball game that night and to play poker. Boring. Friday involved...trying a different mall(?). Matt was a little slower at the Christmas shopping that I was. I worked Friday night. I couldn't tell you what Matt did. Saturday was, as I hope you all remember, Christmas Eve. We had made reservations at Jerico's a few weeks ago. It is an old school prime rib place that boasts (with good evidence to back it up) the best prime rib in town. First and foremost, however, came Mass. I warned Matt that it would be crowded. And it was. We got there about 30 minutes early, and it was already packed. St Leo's had a 5pm, a 5:05pm, a 7pm and a midnight mass. And I am sure they were all packed. Communion was a bit chaotic with all the C&E-ers (Christmas and Easter church goers). I kept messing up the new words. 

Onwards to dinner! Jerico's is tucked under an expressway, and, like most establishments in Omaha, is located within a strip mall. Warning for anyone thinking of moving to Omaha - don't judge a place just because it is in a strip mall. You walk in the doors to find: a wall. With some rules on it about shirts and shoes and men taking their hats off. Odd. Alright, into the dinning area. Has anyone ever watched "Restaurant Impossible"? I love that show. This place, in terms of decor, would be a great candidate. I don't think they are a failing restaurant, but their decor is straight out of the 70s. I think. Yeah. The 70s. We were seated at my favorite type of booth - were there is only one side! The type that is a hemisphere and you both get to people watch. By the way, GREAT people watching here. We were, by far, the youngest people (at the time of seating at least). I would say a good 50% of the diners were 80+. And that is a safe bet. This place is no thrills, just meat. The wait staff isn't trying to be fancy. Nobody there with a bread crumb brush thingy. No one there with a tiny flashlight for you to check the done-ness of your steak. Just meat. We both got prime rib because, well, you have to when that is the claim. It was great. I have yet to try and tackle prime rib. That seems...stressful. 

The place was kind of cool because we got to watch them pull out all the meat from the warmers and cut it at the kitchen was "open." This may have been an accident as Jerico's isn't cutting edge by any means. They had mirror paneling about every 5ft. Fake plants. Old school chairs. I am also guessing they had the types of toilets that old people like but everybody else seems to be dangling their feet from. In rare Wood fashion, we DID NOT order a specialty drink. We should have. They have "ice cream drinks," which sound amazing. Rather, we came home. And drank. Matt loves making new drinks, so I asked him to come up with one for us to have on Christmas Eve. He, of course, picked 2 very summery ones. Silly man. We "hungout" (it's a Google+ thing) with my family and read "Polar Express" (another tradition I love). All the Houses cried. All the in-laws judged us. We watched some TV/Sound of Music/It's a Wonderful Life. And went to bed. I don't want to bore you completely, so Christmas day activities will be in my next post.

Also, as a side note, I will not be reviewing Jerico's as I have other places simply because this is a place all it's own. A review won't do it justice. Is there better prime rib in town? Probably. Is it an interesting time travel experience? For sure.


Lookin all fancy

In case you couldn't tell, I switched it up a little bit! I guess it had been over 4 years. And I have always looked good in maroon. Then again, I don't think I wear any maroon. Ever. I used to have a lot of it, but I don't anymore.

Tonight I am going to talk about doing naughty things. No, mom, dad, siblings, or whomever else reads this, not dirty things. Just things that feel...um...wrong. NO! Still not sexual. 

#1 wrong thing: wearing socks outside. My dad drilled this into us when we were young. I don't know if he had a bad experience as a child, but the second we stepped out onto the back porch with socks on, he knew it. And the pointy finger of shame came out. "Get back in there!" You could have been trying to save Missy (our childhood dog) from a pack of rabid squirrels, but the dirtiness on the bottom of your socks mattered ten times more. To this day, I feel awful - and dirty - wearing my socks outside. Even if I am just making the 15ft walk through our garage to the garbage can, I try to find something to cover my feet (no, taking off my socks would be too easy...and then my feet would be cold). Sometimes I find this to be silly. Then other times, however, I try to think about just how dirty our socks could have gotten had my dad not been so strict on the socks issue. The more I contemplate it, the more I think this is a hill to die on. Decided: my kids will feel shame when wearing socks (w/o shoes) outside.

#2 wrong thing: touching mirrors or windows with my fingers. This may be two totally different things, but I will lump them as one. First: windows. As a child, sometimes it was fun to fog up the window and draw your name. Forwards. Backwards. Didn't matter. It was fun. Something about seeing your name as a child was thrilling. Somehow, however, my parents always knew when you were about to do it. They could just sense your eagerness to prove your existence to the outside world. To this day, when Matt wipes off the windows in the car as they fog up, it takes everything within me not to snap at him. And if I haven't slept well, I snap at him anyway. And the second: touching mirrors. Something about this one bothers me more. I think it is the ability to see the fingerprints so easily. The problem is, even when I go to clean the mirror, I cringe if I have to touch it. I have this inner sense that what I am doing is wrong. Toothpaste that needs to be scrapped with a finger nail? Nope. I just scrub harder. Usually I fail and have to resort to using my nail, but I avoid it at all cost. It just feels so wrong. You judge me? You go try it. Go put your finger on a mirror and tell me that it doesn't bother you at all. No? It doesn't? Huh. 


One Animal

"If you could be one animal, what would it be? (human doesn't count)"

I have always thought that this question can tell you a lot about a person. This and "3 foods for the rest of your life," but that is for a whole different blog post.l It can tell you not only what they enjoy most about life but also what more they want from life. My answer, for the time being at least, is: bald eagle. Hear me out before you start to argue with me.

-You are totally awe inspiring --> people paint pictures of you, take your photo all the time, stop dangerously in the middle of the highway just to get a better look
-You are a great mascot for the USA, and Eastern Washington University
-You can fly --> 'nough said. No erally. This may be what draws me to it most. If you ignore your instinct to return to your nest and have no little eagles to take care of, you can see so many places in a short span of time. Which brings me to..
-You have killer eyesight. Or so everyone says. Not sure how we can actually test this.
-You don't have to put on a show for people to notice you, but if you do, people will think it is awesome no matter what
-You have a muppet that is supposed to represent you that is blue
-You are on the VIP list...of endangered species
-You are way protected --> people can't even have an eagle feather without having a license for it. I am also pretty sure if someone thinks a bad thought about you, they get thrown in jail

I rest my case.

Matt and I ventured to the mall over the weekend trying not to get killed. We parked across the street and walked over - not because it was that busy but because NE drivers are awful and even worse in crowded parking lots. We didn't buy anything but just walked around and people watched. After that, we were, of course, hungry! Matt sounded like he wanted a sandwich, so we headed to a place nearby that neither of us had tried. In the same strip mall, however, there is a Mexican restaurant that neither of us had tried either. For those of you who have read my rants previously, I had stated that I may have given up on Mexican food. My faith has been restored!

Cilantro's: I had read numerous reviews on this place. Well, no really reviews as much as little snipits in the newspaper or weekend readers. It had been on my list for a while as well. Man am I glad we went. Being that it was lunch on a Saturday, it wasn't super busy, and we were seated right away. Free chips came out next! While they are my arch nemesis, I love free chips. Maybe it is the fault of that one Mexican restaurant decades ago that started giving free chips that cause me to expect them always, but that doesn't matter now. I hate when you have to pay $4 for a small bowl of chips and salsa. The salsa here, made in house, was some of the best salsa I have had in a long time. It was "restaurant style" in that it was close to pureed but not all the way there. This stuff had just a touch of heat and plenty of onion and...cilantro! We love cilantro! As I stated a month or so ago, I normally get the wrong things when I go for Mexican. This time, I fought my inner beast that yelled "combination plate" and "things wrapped in tortillas" and went toward the "entrees" section. I narrowed it down to 2 things; pork tamales and pork verde (it helped that both had pictures. I am a visual person). I decided on the latter and don't ergret it one bit. Unlike most other places, our food didn't come out "surprisingly fast," which, in my opinion, is a good thing. No, we weren't waiting longer than any other place, but sometimes it seems that Mexican food practically runs to your table seconds after ordering. This slight 'delay' in our food screams, "we actually put some effort...and love...into making this!!" Matt didn't get nachos! (Mostly because none of the appetizers were true nachos in his definition). He got the "Texas Chimi," which was more on the Tex-Mex side of things. The filling was chicken mixed with what tasted like a little bit of sour cream. It was moist and delicious. My pork verde was was great! Copious amounts of tender pork slathered in fresh green salsa. Man do I love green salsa. It was flavorful and not too spicy. It came with rice (nothing to write home about), black beans ( I love black beans, these were great), and a little sweet blob (?) of a cornmeal yummy. That is the only way I can describe it. Matt didn't enjoy the blob as much as I did, so I ate his too. In summary:

I will try to rate things consistently on a 0-6 scale: 
0 - never again 
1 - if someone else (Matt doesn't count) is paying
2 - if it is a big group and they decide on it
3 - only on Matt's request
4 - Oh yeah, I like this place, I will suggest this next month or so
5 - put it in the rotation!

Service: amazing, fast, courteous, willing to answer our questions
Cleanliness: yep, clean
Ambiance: beyond your typical decor for Mexican
Menu: great choices, love the menu style as well (tons of pictures)
OVERALL: 5. Totally a 5. Next time we want Mexican and don't want to drive to South Omaha, this is where we are going.

Cilantro's Mexican Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon



I tried to be good about reviewing where we eat, but sometimes, as you can tell, I am not very successful. I think it is mostly because I forget exactly where we eat. Unless I look at our receipts. Plus, I don't really like reviewing places we go to all the time. Like Cici's Pizza. Yes it is messy. No the pizza isn't that great. But it is cheap. And the people watching is amazing.
Last night, I pulled of the fiet of all fiets. I managed to throw Matt a surprise party! By party, I really mean a dinner. I had been planning this for over 6 weeks now, yet I never managed to let it slip. And neither did any of his work friends! This is amazing simply because they enjoy adult beverages together frequently and can be a little loose lipped at times. Anyway, to the details. I had told the guests (about 20 in total) to be at Lazlo's Brewery at 630pm. Not 635. Not 640. I wanted them seated by 630 as we were going to get there at about 6:50. Last week I told Matt "Date night, my choice!" for Tuesday. Surprisingly, he never questioned it. He got home from work at 545 and was antsy to go to dinner. At 610 (takes maybe 20 minutes to get there) he insisted on leaving. Trying to delay us, I said we have a 7pm reservation. My strategy failed as he said "Oh it is a Tuesday night, they won't be busy." Dang it! I tried to delay as long as I could. Regardless, we pull into the parking lot at 637. Ah. And of course, as per usual, we parked far away from the front door within open window view of the private dinning room. Dang you Matt!!! It was raining, so we weren't looking around at scenery or anything. We get in there and ask for our table. I had arranged that the hostess wouldn't say "Oh, the party!" And she didn't ruin it! Yay! As we walked to the room, I could see everyone back in the room, so I made Matt go first. I didn't want them to yell "Surprise!" with me in the way. Matt found me wanting to walk in back odd, but that too worked! All the little pieces came together, and he was totally surprised. It turned out just great. Now that I have surprised him once, I never have to do it again. Yay! Let's review the place now:

Lazlo's Brewery: I had only been here once before, and it was for happy hour. I didn't have any food at that time and just had one beer. It wasn't that it rubbed me wrong then (over 3 years ago), but it didn't rub me "right" either. That isn't sexual. This time, however, my expierence was amazing and not just because of the party. They have a vast choice of brews and a good sized menu. Truthfully, they weren't that expensive either. All their sandwiches and burgers were between $7 and $13. They had a few higher priced steaks and "entrees" (always weird to me when some things are labeled as entrees and others aren't). We got sliders to start (yes, we are fat kids). It was a "variety" pack with a buffalo style, california style (basically, avacado), and classic. The buns weren't too overpowering but were just slightly too big compared to the patty. The patty was moist (I hate using that word), and all the ingredients were fresh and flavorful. For dinner Matt ordered the Reuben. We are thoroughly convinced that Reubens 'out' are way better than home made. It is just easier for them to make. Since he was the birthday boy too, they added extra meat on there. I got the french dip with fries as my side. I love a good french dip, but they don't usually call my name. One of my friends convinced me to get it, and man am I glad I did. This roast beef was sliced so incredibly thin and was so incredibly flavorful. The au ju was, well, au ju. The sandwich, however, will stand out in my mind as the french dip that I now compare to. The fries were great as well - not too salty, and they put pepper on them too! Slightly different but in a good way. So to summarize:

I will try to rate things consistently on a 0-6 scale. 0: never again. 1: if someone else (Matt doesn't count) is paying. 2: If it is a big group and they decide on it. 3: Only on Matt's request. 4: Oh yeah, I like this place, I will suggest this next month or so. 5: Put it in the rotation! 6: GET ME THERE NOW!!!!

Service: amazing especially given the large group
Cleanliness: above par
Ambiance: par for this type of restaurant 
Menu: great selection but nothing too exotic

OVERALL:  5. I told Matt we are going there more often. I swear I won't just get the french dip every time :D 

Lazlo's Brewery & Grill on Urbanspoon


Progress in the kitchen

This is gong to brief. My apologies ahead of time. I haven't been busy per se. Just doing Christmas shopping/baking sort of seems to suck up the day before you know it.

Night float is going well. I only have 3 more nights of admitting! Then just cross cover! Woohoo!!

On to the post title. I was talking about this with Matt: the progress I have made in the kitchen from <3 years ago amazes me. I am by no means an amazing chef. I can barely stick to a recipe. I have, however, progressed very far in the types of things I am making. When Matt first moved to Omaha in 2008, we would eat "chicken & rice" at least 3 times a week. And pizza the other nights. Not fancy versions of either of those either. Some store bought marinade on some chicken on some white rice. Woohoo? Maybe spaghetti from time to time. Then some biscuits. I would get fancy and do gumbo from time to time (it makes so much!!!) 

About 1.5 years ago, I started really getting into cooking; you couldn't keep me away from the cook book section of Barnes & Noble. About a year ago my amazing sister Amanda and I started sharing recipes. Since then, my variety of cooking has expanded exponentially. I made tikka masala last week. I own a candy thermometer and english muffin rings. I hide baking materials from my husband :D While cooking may be on the verge of taking over my life, I can't imagine going back now. Onwards and upwards!


Becky: 1...Night Float: 1

I can safely say that I have survived 1.3 nights of night float (should have been 2). Let's start with the Becky victory. I show up Friday night, bright eyed and bushy tailed. And early of course so that I can use my free $6 before all the places in the VA close. I get check out (the list of patients I am supposed to be taking care of) from one team and then hear from my supervisor that we have two transfers from outside facilities already on the floor and 2 new guys in the ER. Whelp. Here we go. In the span of about an hour we get 6 admission! And finally the other 2 medicine teams check out to me. We each did three of the admissions. I seriously thought I was going to cap (interns are only allowed to see 5 new patients in a 24 hour period). My 3 were pretty easy. Her 3 were much tougher. I am glad she took those ones :D By the time all is said and done with the admissions, it is 1am (with a Jimmy John's break in the middle.) Sehr (supervisor, pronounced suh-hair) went and did a few more things, and I hit the hay. I got a few pages in the middle of the night and then an admission at about 5am. That took up until about 715am or so, which means....time to check out to the day teams! I got home at about 830am, took a nice little nap, then lived it up the rest of the day. Until last night...

I head to work driving carefully as we got snow and ice over the weekend :( I had a headache all day, but I thought it was because I was dehydrated. I try to drink some water. At about 6pm we get an admission, which takes us until about 740pm or so. I go up and try to see if sleeping will help the headache. I start to become photosensitive (light was hurting my eyes), so I turn all the lights out. I get a few pages that require me to get on the computer. Every time I do, the headache gets a little worse and I start to get a little nauseous. Now, mind you, I have never been a headache person. No migraines ever. Not even in my family. I get a text at about 1030pm from Sehr saying we have a new one in the ER. I get up and pull myself together. Nausea is getting worse. I step out of my bedroom into the hall way, and BAM. Stage 5 watery mouth. We have all been there. That point where you know you need to be hugging that toilet. That point (don't read if already queesy) where saliva is simply free flowing out of your mouth. I decide the toilet is too far, so I hug the garbage can just inside my room. Somehow, I talk myself back from the edge. Back down to stage 2 or so I would say. I make my way down to the ER. Look up a little on this guy. Get ready to go talk to him. Thank goodness Sehr showed up. She goes in and starts talking to the guy, getting all the history of what is going on ("History of Present Illness" or "HPI"), etc. I have to excuse myself 3 times in the span of 10 minutes as I am feeling weak. On the third time...hugging that trash can...and losing my dinner :( I return from the bathroom (left the trash can in there for the sake of the ER staff), and Sehr says, "You look like shit. Did you just throw up?" I respond appropriately, and she sends me home. That wasn't a fun drive. Needless to say, after 9 hours of sleep I felt better.

I didn't have much of an appetite, but in general I am back to full health. Very weird. Maybe TMI for many of you, but I didn't force you to read it :D