Friday, June 29, 2012

Iced Chai Latte

Now if you have to be at the airport early in the morning this is the way to do it:


Iced chai latte for me, frozen milky way latte for him, and a cinnamon roll to split.  We’re happy and ready to fly.  Let’s just hope everything is on time from here on out.  Peace out ground, hello clouds.

Question: What’s your favorite pick-me-up splurge at an airport?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Repeat Eats

Hello all!  Another day, another Wednesday, another “What I Ate” post.

So let’s get started.  Now, I’ll admit first off that today is almost an exact repeat of yesterday.  That happens from time to time but, second off, that means those foods must have been delicious right?  Oh yea.  My breakfast cake was chocolate today instead of vanilla though I still topped it with flax seed peanut butter, maple syrup, and chia seeds.


I think I eat these cakes so much because they’re portable and an incredibly great way to pack in all the refueling protein I need after my Insanity workouts.  They also have a track record of keeping me pretty full throughout the morning.  As it so happens, this morning was full of tubes, numbers, labels, and laughs.  Michael and I worked over in the clinical basement by ourselves from 8-12.  Thankfully we took some breaks.


And they were all sorts of sunshiny!  I loved it.  I basked and almost fell asleep like a lizard on a rock as I laid out on the sidewalk.  Yes, I am that classy.  Hey, when you’re stuck in a dingy basement all morning, you want to soak up as many rays as possible.  Finally, lunch rolled around and I was hungry by that point so I all but scarfed down my leftover corn chowder with TVP and blueberries.


By the time I was finished I was still wanting food but I decided to let myself sit for a bit and become full.  It worked and I stayed pretty satisfied while Michael and I returned to the basement for the whole afternoon.  Because I’m not in clinic on Friday, I didn’t have to do patient prep this afternoon so I took the time to make some more money.  When we called it quits for the day around 4p I was getting grumbly so I snacked on a sensible apple to tide me over.


After I got home I decided a quick errand trip was in order.  I ended up with a $3 dress from Goodwill, Slumdog Millionaire in paperback (I loved the movie so I figured the book can’t be too bad), a new pair of shorts, and some granulated and powdered sugar for cupcakes next week.

By the time I got home my apple had definitely worn off so I was hankering for some food.  Sadly, I had promised myself that I would eat a salad but I was really craving carbs so I ate up both.  My salad was almost an identical copy of last night’s but with no nooch and a different dressing, homemade ranch this time around.  On the side I made a grilled cheese with sandwich spread, spicy mustard, and a three cheese blend.


A bit later I kind of wanted dessert so I let ‘er rip with a single serving chocolate cake accompanied by some fudge brownie and cappuccino chip ice cream.  I was debating having this since I wasn’t necessarily hungry but I figured it was something I really wanted and I had calories to burn.  I’ve been really tired lately and I was batting about the idea that it was because I wasn’t eating enough this week.  To that end, I had dessert.  I realize there might have been a better way to get calories in but this was what happened, and it was delicious.  I even baked the single serve cake in a mini loaf pan I got last holiday season.  How adorable.


Now I think it’s time to wrap up this WIAW post and pack up for this weekend’s getaway.  It’s supposed to be bloody warm where we’re going so I’m thinking dresses and shorts are the way to go.  I wonder how light I can pack since we’re only going away for two days??  Challenge accepted!

Questions: Do you struggle with allowing yourself to have dessert?
Have you had the chance to lay out in the sun lately?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Seizure Spectrum

Did you know that there are sooooo many kinds of seizures?  I was blown away by how many there were and how different they can be.  I was on “-onic” overload.  There are tonic-clonic (otherwise known as grand-mal), absence, tonic, clonic, myoclonic, and atonic…and those are just the generalized form, meaning they involve the whole or a very large portion of the brain.  These also impair consciousness.  There are also partial or focal seizures, involving a smaller or more localized part of the brain.  These guys break down even further into simple or complex seizures.  Simple ones do not impair consciousness but complex ones do.  Also, some partial ones can evolve into secondarily generalized seizures like those above.  So yea, like I said, crazy the spectrum, huh!?!  I must say though, I’m glad I looked all this up because I’ve heard all these words bantered about from time to time but I’ve never had a firm grasp until now.

After a night of research, I woke up a bit tired but I got right on with Insanity Core Cardio and Balance.  After 40 minutes I was more than ready for a shower and food.  Breakfast consisted of a vanilla protein breakfast cake made with maca powder and wheat germ.  I topped it in maple syrup and peanut butter with flaxseeds.  I even threw on chia seeds thrown for good measure.


I ate it on the way to campus before work.  I finished it just in time to walk the five minutes from the shuttle stop to work.  The morning consisted of pelleting DNA and teaching a co-worker the protocol along the way.  I honestly can’t imagine a morning  in recent memory that has crawled by any slower.  Finally, it was lunchtime.  I headed over to the student room across the street and dug into my corn chowder with TVP and blueberries on the side while I put the finishing touches on my neurology rotation paper regarding autism.


Soon after finishing, I meandered over to the neurology clinic.  Today's cool subject: Dravet syndrome.  This condition is also known as severe myoclonic epilepsy in infancy (SMEI).  Basically, the children have seizures in the first few months of life and those never remit.  They are exceeding hard to control so medications are usually required their whole lives.  Any kind of seizures can be involved and multiples types often are in the same individual.  Myoclonic seizures can develop later and may coincide with psychomotor regression, cognitive impairment, and/or ataxia.

I honestly cannot imagine what it would be like to see my child seizing.  I can’t figure how I would survive seeing it every day.  In this condition, especially, it would be so hard because the child’s seizures are very hard to get under control.  The constant medication adjustments, doctors appointments, man it would be wearying.

After clinic, which ended upwards of 5 o’clock and I didn’t leave school until almost six, I headed home and set myself promptly to making dinner.  The apple I had scarfed down in between patients this afternoon wasn’t keeping me full enough.  I even scarfed down blueberries while I was chopping veggies for my salad because I was starving.


This beast had romaine and spinach, tomato, carrot, celery, red pepper, mushrooms, nooch, and salad seasoning on top.  I dressed it in raspberry vinaigrette.  Thankfully, the dressing redeemed itself after its disappointing showing last time.  I think I just needed a bit more of it.  Post dinner time was filled with Harry Potter DVR watching, patient letter writing, and dessert eating.  I had a small bowl, or rather coffee mug, full of coco roos and honey roasted peanuts soaked in almond milk.


Nice and small and sweet enough to kick any cravings for the rest of the evening.  Afterwards, I took some time to write a thank you note to the folks at Myriad.  I figured it would be an appropriate display after all they did for us this past week.  I really did learn a lot and I had a stellar time.


Now, with all that out of the way, I think it’s time for bed perhaps.  Well, maybe some chapters in my new book first.  I started it on the way home from Salt Lake.  I’m pretty sucked in at the moment.  Though, I will say, that after finishing the Fifty Shades trilogy, I’m not sure I was ready for just your plain, old, ordinary book again…

Oh, and a tune since it’s Tuesday.  This one seemed a bit apropos with all the traveling I’m doing recently.  I know it’s not really about the baggage claim at the airport but hey, close enough for me.  It’s pretty catchy too!

Questions: What is your favorite salad dressing?
Do you know anyone with seizures?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Productive, No…

Today was a nice day but it was far from productive.  I suppose that’s okay but really I need to jump on this autism genetics paper.  Maybe tomorrow will be better.  In fact, it really needs to be because due dates and deadlines wait for no one.

I woke up around 9am this morning, after a blissful 9.5 hours of sleep in my own bed, and made a light breakfast.  I mixed cottage cheese and bananas along with some chia seeds.  It felt nice to have a normal breakfast again.


After breakfast I shuffled over to church for the 10am service.  I got a little lost in the sermon, I’ll admit, but somehow I think the main idea was that God isn’t the storm but rather He is in the boat with us in the midst of the storm and He rides it out with us even though He has the power to still the wind and rain.  He takes on our mortality so we are never alone.  He is always with us.

Once church was over I meandered around the mall for a few minutes and ended up grabbing a new pair of sunglasses. My old ones have been broken for far too long so it was time.


I hit up the grocery store next.  I did a pretty good job of clearing out my fridge before I left for Salt Lake so when I got back things were a bit sparse.  I needed produce badly and some cheese for sandwiches wouldn’t hurt either.  I ended up with a major score on blueberries too: $3 for 2lbs…can’t beat that with a stick!  Once I got home from all the errands, I was pretty hungry and grilled cheese was calling my name.  I added sweet & spicy mustard as well as some sandwich spread (basically mayo, ketchup, and relish mixed together, weird but delicious) for flavor and it was great.  I also sliced up an apple to go on the side along with some sourdough pretzels.


I spent the rest of my afternoon watching TV, enjoying the sunshine, and doing all sorts of stuff besides my paper.  I even did laundry to avoid research.  Then I got my head on straight and kind of started doing a bit of reading on autism genetics.  I wasn’t devoting a whole lot of attention so I didn’t make a whole ton of progress.  Whoops.  In the middle of an article my tummy interrupted me.  Salad time!  I lightly coated it in my own goddess dressing and dug in.  Yum!


Pretty sure my body is thanking me for all the veggies and fruits today.  Been a while since it’s had a good influx, huh?  After dinner I continued to half-heartedly do my work while watching more DVRed shows and a few hours later I was hungry for sweets.  I crushed the craving with a small respectable snack of tapioca pudding with some white chocolate chips eaten by sunset.  Nomnom!


It’s funny routines are so comforting.  After having a day back in my own apartment, eating and preparing my own food, and cleaning out my DVR, I feel rejuvenated and a bit more ready to take on the week.  Really I just need to make it to Friday because Jack and I are heading to a family reunion which will be a fun mini-vacation.  For now, friends, I’m off to ice my shins and get some more sleep but before I run along I wanted to recommend this very cute article that will restore your faith in humanity.

Questions: How do you get your motivation back on an “off” day?
What are your secret grilled cheese ingredients?

My Myriad Trip, Part Two

In case you missed part one, check it out here.  Otherwise, here we go with part two.  Let’s start with Friday morning.  I thankfully slept better than the night before so when the alarm went off at 6am, I was a bit more rested.  I spent the early morning doing Insanity Pure Cardio and showering.  I then joined everyone for breakfast in the complimentary concierge lounge on our floor.


I dug into some eggs with ketchup, fruit, and a brown sugar maple muffin with peanut butter.  Everything was surprisingly good.  I actually ended up taking another one of those muffins back to my room for pre-flight food on Saturday.  After breakfast we all walked to Myriad for day number two of the conference.  Our morning consisted of shadowing customer service representatives.  It was interesting to see all they do in a day.  I think they’re probably saints because only those with incredible patience could deal with insurance companies all day, every day.  It was so heartening to see how much work they put into getting tests covered for those people who really need them.  Also, these representatives are responsible for identifying some of the discrepancies that may come up like ordering the wrong test given the indications listed on the test request forms.  They have the patient’s best interests at heart, truly.

Next up was an interesting case conference with some of the genetic counselors.  They had some very funny and sometimes frustrating calls to talk about.  My favorite one was the funniest of all.  Someone sent in a buccal sample (cheek cells collected by mouthwash swish) and when they sequenced the gene it came up with all sorts of polymorphisms and changes that weren’t in the normal database.  Turned out that the sequence exactly matched that of a cow.  That person must have had a large steak before doing their sample…and they probably didn’t brush their teeth.  Haha.  So the lab sequenced the cow’s DNA rather than the patient’s.

Afterwards was snack time.  On the menu: fruit salad, all manner of cookies, and mini carrot cakes.  I am a sucker for the latter so I had two of those.  My cookie was some sort of dark chocolate with white chocolate chips, basically delicious.


Sugar fueled, our last session was in another building.  It outlined some non-traditional roles that genetic counselors fill at Myriad.  We spoke with a regional medical specialist, a clinical director in sales, and a person in the marketing department.  Regional medical specialists are typically genetic counselors who work in regions of the country as an in-person liaison between Myriad and the providers.  They go out and help answer questions and address any problems with test ordering.  They also do a lot of provider education.  It’s a pretty cool job though it requires a lot of traveling. They travel roughly three days a week and spend the other two doing phone follow up.  I’m not sure I’d like to travel so much.  Who knows though, maybe it would depend on what region of the country…

Shortly after the non-traditional role session, we filled out some evaluations for the program coordinators and then dug into the lunches we ordered the day before.  I got the bistro salad which had chicken, crasins, bleu cheese, candied walnuts, almonds, and mandarin oranges.  There were also some tomato slices, broccoli florets, and cucumber slices.  I dressed it with raspberry vinaigrette and had a mini loaf of sunflower brown bread on the side.


I really enjoyed the bread.  The salad was good too, especially the bleu cheese and crasin bites.  It kept me nice and full for the whole afternoon which we spent taking pictures and saying our good byes to half our group.  What a lovely day it was outside!  I apologize in advance for the abundance of group shots.  We all got along really well so we figured a few shots to document the cohesive friendship wouldn’t hurt.  Plus, we needed some with the lab, some with the crazy pretty sculpture in the hotel lobby, and another where you could actually see all of our faces!


Upon seeing a bunch of our friends depart for the airport, the remaining got dressed for hiking and ended up chatting it up in the lobby for a while before heading to an early dinner at a local-famous Mexican place.


They are known for their different moles so we got a sampler platter to try them all out.  I fell in love with one made with peanut butter, poblano, banana, walnuts, and Mexican chocolate.  It was awesome!


To kick our immediate hunger we had chips and salsa along with some poblano queso dip.  It had a great pepper flavor without being too spicy.


We figured that we should celebrate our trip’s end in style, so what else did we order but margaritas!  I decided to try a unique one first off.


Then I finished up the night with a house margaritas with salt on the rim.  I think I actually liked this one better but the first one was a nice change of pace.


To eat, I ordered a new-to-me dish: enmoladas.  Basically they are corn tortillas folded into triangles and filled with refried beans then doused in whatever mole you want with pickled red onions.  Side of rice rounded out the meal.  The whole thing was delish and I pretty much sopped up all the mole I could get my fork on.  Loved it.


Dinner was brought to a close with an authentic Mexican serenade.  It was adorable.


Thankfully we had gotten there for dinner around five in the evening because when we left to catch our cab, there was a line out the door.  Our cab took us to our next activity: hiking to The Living Room!  Essentially, this is a place on top of “mountain” where hikers have arranged all these rocks into lounge chairs and couches, etc.  We were a determined bunch because we heard it was the best place to watch the sunset.  We started hiking at eight and boy, it was a steep one.


I’m sure the fact that the air is thinner in Salt Lake City than any of us was used to combined with the fact that there was a big fire outside the city polluting the air.


We climbed and climbed and climbed and ran into a really nice foursome of guys also hiking to The Living Room.  When we finally arrived there were plenty of people hanging around but thankfully a bunch left and gave us all room to find some seats.


I grabbed an “arm chair” and we all settled in to watch the sunset.  The boys we met even shared their celebratory beers with us for making it to the top without dying.


The sunset was, without a doubt, beyond beautiful.  I’m so glad we went.  It was the perfect way to end the trip.

IMG_7929IMG_7933(Thank you Mitch for the lovely face.)

On our way down we got to see Salt Lake City come to life at night.  By the time we were back down to the hotel it was getting pretty dark.


Before heading to bed, we all hung out for the last bits of time we had together.  We chomped on some cheese and drank some beer courtesy of Amanda’s parents.  It was her birthday the day before and they had sent things to her room as presents.  Obviously you couldn’t put that on the plane so we figured we could help her out a bit.  We also watched a whole bunch of silly YouTube videos before calling it quits.

I woke up the next morning at 5am for head to the airport.  Amanda and I shared a cab which made the morning easier and thankfully security was fairly quick.  Both my flights were on time, always a blessing, and the whole thing went by without much complaint.  I snoozed, read, and did a whole ton of sudoku puzzles.  When I arrived at home, Matt and Ashley came to pick me up and they spent some time with me checking out my apartment (they hadn’t ever seen it before!) before leaving me to my own devices.  It was so good to be home yet bittersweet.  I had such a spectacular time.  I didn’t want to leave.  I kind of miss everyone already too.  I’m so thankful for the experience though.  I learned a ton.


Question: What sorts of things do you like to make
sure you do in a new city or one you’re visiting?

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