Tuesday, August 30, 2011

One of My Favorite Meals

Doesn't it look delicious? It's so simple to make and is actually filling. It's the Asian Chicken Salad from Giada (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/asian-chicken-salad-recipe/index.html). Of course, I change it up a bit, but her recipe is great as is. Try it out. I promise you'll love it.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Alexander is 2!

Alexander turned 2 on Friday. He still doesn't get the whole birthday thing, but I like to think that he had a great birthday. Rose and Cooper (Ivan's parents) came up today and made Alexander's birthday even more special. I hope my mom (maybe dad) can come up this week to see him, too, but they did get to see him a week or so ago. All of the grandparents, and a couple of aunts, made sure to call him to wish him a happy birthday. Yay! Here's a picture of my 2 boys. You can't really see Ivan, but this picture is priceless.

I like that Ivan's parents brought me presents, too. hehe Cooper made them and they are magnificent! Here's a picture of the hollow form he made. Isn't it wonderful??

So far the weekend has been pretty awesome (as the year has been). I still can't believe my little boy is two. He's getting so big and has been the best little man ever. He makes our lives pretty easy and we try not to spoil him too much, but he makes it hard. He listens to us and does what we say even when he doesn't want to. And he's super sweet to us, espcially when we're sick or get hurt. I guess there's a reason we really wanted to name our first born Awesome (which is what we, and a few others, call him every once in a while). Here's to more great times!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Veggie Pizza

This week Ivan requested a veggie pizza for dinner one night. I thought it was an odd one since he hates when I suggest veggie pizza to share at restaurants. I didn't want to buy too much new stuff so I decided to top it with what I had. The only thing I really needed to buy was the crust, but I also decided to add mozzarella instead of the usual shredded cheese. It actually turned out great and even Alexander loved it. Yay! Although, as usual, he did just try to eat the toppings and not the crust. Since I make things up I really never have a recipe to go by later. For this reason I've tried to guess how much of everything I use and write it down. I only use recipes as a guide and go on the look of things (which is why I can't bake, I suppose), so even if I don't get things down exactly right it's good enough for me. I'm going to post this recipe in hopes that someone tries it and loves it. Here is a picture of the pizza right before it went in the oven:

Here's the recipe:
Veggie Pizza
I prefer to make my own sauce, but store bought it fine. Here's what I used for this pizza:
1/4 c tomato sauce
1.5 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning (if you don't have it mix together some of the following: oregano, thyme, marjoram, rosemary, and basil)

Crust (I prefer Boboli for ease, but also like Publix dough from the bakery)
1/3 c baby portobello mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/3 c kalamata olives, cut length wise in quarters
1/3 c red onion, thinly sliced 
1/2 small tomato, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp dried parsley (Fresh, if you have it. I love this stuff! Alternatively, you could use fresh basil.)
7-8 slices of mozzarella 

Preheat oven to 450° (or whatever your crust/dough calls for). Combine ingredients for sauce and spread on crust, leaving 1/2" border. Place vegetables and cheese on top (the above list is exactly how I placed mine). Bake for 13 minutes (or whatever the directions for your crust/dough say).

I thought I would need to saute the mushrooms and onions for this to be really good and was going to try it the next time we make the pizza; however, the veggies cooked perfectly. I may try to make a thicker sauce next time by adding a small amount of tomato paste, but we'll see if I remember. 

Here is the finished pizza:

Yum! If you try this and like it let me know and I may post my sloppy joe recipe. :-)

Remember to make this recipe, and any other, your own. I am a big believer in loving what you eat and savoring food and the company that comes with it. As Truett Cathy said, "Food is essential to life. Therefore, make it good." Enjoy!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Why I Chose to Be a Medical Librarian

A lot of people who know me (or don't, for that matter) cock their eyebrow when I tell them I'm a medical librarian. I never knew what I would do in high school and during college I had chosen an art marketing degree. A year or so after graduating I decided to become a librarian. I talked about it with Ivan and it seemed to be a natural fit. I love doing research, find it very easy to find information (obscure or not), and know how to format manuscripts. What was the biggest shock about becoming a librarian? I had to have a master of library science degree. What?!?! I obtained my degree after a year and a half took a job at a hospital. Not my environment, but thankfully I'm back in academics and I LOVE it.
People always seem to think that librarians are librarians because they love reading books. Such a false statement. As a librarian I never get to sit around and read books. When I do read it's to comb through information and condense it for others or to beef up my knowledge on a certain topic...and hardly ever does it involve a book. Don't get me wrong, I do love reading and own many books, but it has nothing to do with my profession. Research and technology are usually what's involved with being a librarian. It is a little different for public librarians and media specialists, but they still don't get to sit around and read.
Over the past few years, I have helped patients and families find information, did a few literature searches and obtained articles as research for a book a physician was writing, got information during a couple of surgeries while they were in progress, helped students find information, write, and format papers, retrieved literature for lawsuits (on both sides of the coin), and much more. Rewarding and fun...who could ask for more?
Why medicine instead of academic, school, or public libraries? I chose to go into medical libraries because of my friend Jenny. She was diagnosed with cancer and I hated that I couldn't just cure her. Things happen for a reason, but it doesn't mean you have to like or understand it, unfortunately. I know I can never practice medicine; not as a doctor, nurse, technician, or anything else. I just don't deal well with any of that or with people who won't listen to what will help them. I wanted to do something to help those in medicine, though. The ones who would become doctors or nurses. I had already chosen to become a librarian, but had no focus. Why not medicine?
Surprisingly, I found the coursework easy and had the highest GPA in my classes (especially medical research, in which I was the only librarian and everyone else was a nurse). This boosted my confidence in my choice and I knew I was on the right path. Nurses may not be good at research, but I was. I am definitely not good at any part of nursing, and nurses are, but I can research anything and find what is needed to answer a question. I knew that this was the right choice for me and I hope that I have helped plenty of people during my time as a medical librarian.
Just in case you're wondering I did not waste my undergrad degree. My main classes during that time were marketing, graphic design, photography, and weaving. I use marketing and graphic design constantly for my job and, occasionally, I use photography. I focused on technology in libraries while getting my masters and use that information, too. So, while my undergrad may not be what I have a job in, I do use knowledge from it every day to make my job easier and more satisfying. Who would have thought that an art marketing degree would fit so well with being a medical librarian.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Saying No

I find it really hard to say no to opportunities that come my way. I love helping others, volunteering (mostly work related), and just doing what I can to make things better and easier for others. I am on several committees, have been awarded a few grants, serve as secretary for a committee, am an editor for a national consumer health website, have written papers and presented at regional and national conferences, and serve as chair for another committee.
Next fall one of the organizations I'm involved in will be having a quad conference with other organizations in Baltimore. They need help for several committees and I want to help so much, but I have been reluctantly saying/thinking no and deleting the e-mails. I am notorious for my clean inbox (I store everything in folders or delete them) and only leave to-do items in my inbox. These e-mails have been staying there for more than a day before I delete them, which is very unusual for me. I really want to volunteer, but with all of my responsibilities I don't know if it'd be wise. I have a ton of stuff to do at work and am trying to increase the view/presence of the library across campus. I'm also working with other staff to implement outreach programs and creating an iPad loaner program. Saying no to the request for help is difficult for me, but I know others will step up. I really want to help, but I think it would mean that I don't give my all to something or I do and run myself ragged.
Do you have a problem saying no? Are there areas that you want to say yes or feel obligated to say yes, but know you shouldn't? I encourage you to think about it. Are you saying yes to something for your family because you feel obligated? Are you going to church out of obligation or because you want to? I try not to do anything out of obligation because I end up hating what I'm doing or resenting people. Although, others may hate that you aren't a yes person anymore it may do more for your mental health than you think. Say no. Try it. Say no and let things fall in place. Who knows what will happen.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Goal Progress?

Why yes, there has been some progress with my goals. Things are not going as quickly as planned, but it has not been discouraging...which is actually a little surprising. I haven't updated as much as I'd like, but there is usually only time for it on the weekend. During the week I am up by 6, if not earlier, and don't get home until 6. At that point I cook dinner, then play with Alexander, give him a bath, read or play a little more, put him to bed, clean up the dinner mess, wash or fold any clothes, then finally sit down for a breather around 9 or 9:30. Ivan and I both tend to nod off around this time so we head to bed. The weekend is a time just for us to be together, visit with family and friends, get groceries, and clean house. There still isn't an excuse because I could write something short on the weekends, I just don't feel like it. Boo me.
Even with all of that I am making progress on some of my goals. Luckily my new workplace has a gym so goal number 4 is easier than it was at the beginning of the year. I have lifting weights as well, so although I can't tell as much on the scale that I'm losing weight I can tell by the way my clothes are fitting (and the compliments I'm getting. Yay!). Ivan and I are also eating better and having great tasting food, too. I don't deprive myself, though. If I want dessert I get it, but I don't gorge myself.
Goal 9, painting my dresser, did hit a snag because of the way it was constructed, but I think I've found a solution. Time will tell. The dresser will become part of my studio as a storage piece, so it will need to be completed before finishing my studio (goal 8).
Paying off credit cards has proven to be the most difficult. Not because they're too expensive or we don't want to put money towards them, but because of other issues. Two very unexpected medical bills and 3 expensive car repair issues have prevented us from getting this done as quickly as we could have. Don't worry, we didn't put any of these expenses on a credit card; we paid directly out of our bank account. The problem: that money would have paid off all of one card and about an 1/8 of another. I think we can still get them paid off, though. We had another big chunk come out of our budget for a conference for Ivan. It will be very beneficial and help with his business (That's right! Ivan is starting his own business! I'm sure some exciting updates will happen because of this. I've linked to his blog at the bottom of the page).
Goal 3 is semi-started. I have ideas written and know how I want the story to go, I just need to put it in words. I am working on character designs now. I don't think most authors need that, but it will help me visualize better. I also see stories as movies in my head as I read anyway, so this will help. I have so much imagery in my head for this story. I wish I was better at getting what's in my head on paper. If I could do that then I'd make this a graphic novel.
Other goals? Number 2 needs to wait on Halloween to be fulfilled and I just haven't wanted to do the other goals (1 and 6).
I also realize that I haven't talked about or posted pictures from the 3 day trip, but I just finished getting them off of my camera. The card reader on my laptop was broken so I had to buy one.
So that's the progress. I have been busy; I just need to update more. Thanks for reading!

Ivan's blog: A Better Way of Business