December 6, 2011

Happy Holidays!

Photo Card
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September 23, 2011

Two New Eats

For lunch Steve and I went to the newly opened Jason's Deli in Columbia. We went around 1pm and they had a pretty decent lunch crowd. The line was about 5 people long, but moved quickly. I got the salad bar and soup and Steve got the Big Joe sandwich (he liked it very much). The salad bar was very fresh and clean with plenty of vegetable and non-vegetable choices like banana pudding! They also had mini corn and spice muffins at the salad bar, yum! Jason's Deli is the type of place where you get a card with a number when you place your order, you put it in a holder at your table and someone brings the food out to you. I'd guess that the total wait time for Steve's sandwich was 5 minutes, not bad for being busy. Jason's Deli offers free soft serve ice cream in all of their restaurants so that was an added treat to the end of our lunch. They even have free ice cream cones! Next time I go back, I'm trying the reuben and the muffaletta sandwiches.

Later, we tried the new Korean style frozen yogurt place, Yogopop. It is located in the new strip of businesses off Rt. 103 (Meadowridge Rd), super close to our house. The lady at the register was super friendly. The decor was a little mis-matched and the tables/chair were the same as Tutti Fruitti in Ellicott City. My only complaint that there were only 3 tables to sit at inside, not enough. The froyo cost us $.47/oz. Pretty comparable to the others in the area.



hocofood@@@

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August 25, 2011

Plantar Fasciitis Woes

I have been dealing (suffering) with plantar fasciitis for over 3 years now. I have tried just about every conservative treatment therapy from physical therapy, NSAIDs, cortisone injections, stretching, night splint, ice, taping, custom orthotics, and Graston.


The pain has become more constant and to the point where I would cry as soon as I got home from work because I was in pain and frustrated.


A few weeks ago I decided to go back to my podiatrist to see what else could be done although I already knew what she was going to say (surgery). We talked about my options which were endoscopic surgery to release the plantar fascia, ultrasonic shock wave procedure to help stimulate the blood flow and healing process of the inflamed and scarred tissue, or to continue with other conservative measures. Just to be sure the pain hasn't been caused by something else such as a tumor or cyst she wanted to send me for a MRI.


I went for a follow up today to review the results of the MRI. The MRI showed no clear signs of plantar fasciitis although my symptoms are clearly those of plantar fasciitis, but it did show arthritis in my left foot, a small heel spur, as well as a benign cyst.

So, my podiatrist strongly urged me to consider having at least one more injection of cortisone into my heel to see if that doesn't help. I am very hesitant about this because the first shot hurt like you wouldn't believe. Steve went with me when I last had the injections and I practically squeezed his poor hand off. My doctor feels that the ultrasonic shock wave procedure would be best to try first because it is non-invasive, but she is not sure if my insurance would cover it and Hopkins is the only hospital that performs that procedure. Also, the procedure would require anesthesia because the shocks are "intense" as she put it. Hmmm.... I did YouTube the endoscopic procedure which looked fairly short and simple, but the recovery time is up to 3 months and with anything there is no guarantee that it will work.


I've decided to try a physical therapist that was recommended to me by a coworker. My coworker was having a lot of foot pain and said that the physical therapist helped her tremendously. I also have decided to give acupuncture a whirl. I'm pretty terrified about the thought of hundreds of tiny little needles being inserted all over my body, but at least then I can say that I have tried everything. I'm going to get fitted for a new pair of orthotics too since mine from 3 years ago are more than worn out. In the mean time, I'm going to continue what I have been doing and hope for the best.


Anyone have any other suggestions? Please share your stories about your experience with plantar fasciitis!


Below is a YouTube clip of the Graston technique for those who are interested. I did find some relief from it, but the chiropractor wanted me to come 3 days a week which was not possible with my work schedule. Also, it would be costly over time.




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August 23, 2011

Earthquake!


I was sitting at the desk and talking to a patient in the triage room at work when all of a sudden I saw the walls shaking and the ceiling moving. I really wasn't sure what was going on and thought that I was going to pass out or something. The patient and I just looked at each other and then he grabbed my arm and said, "we gotta go stand in the doorway!" At that instant, I knew we were experiencing an earthquake. Seriously?! An earthquake on the east coast?! Yes. A 5.8 magnitude earthquake at that.

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July 25, 2011

Blogging By Mail 2011

Blogging By Mail, organized by Stephanie of the Dispensing Happiness blog, in a nutshell is bloggers sending other bloggers little packages of goodies and treats. The bloggers are paired up randomly and when the package arrives it is a fun surprise! I've participated the past two times and each had a different theme for the packages. This time the theme was Handle With Care. Each blogger was to send their assigned blogger swapee a care package of their "must-haves." I sent a care package to Mary of The Sour Dough blog. I received a package from Shelley of In the Land of Spice blog. I got some awesome Cajun spices, soap, cornbread mix, beer bread mix, Louisiana coffee, hand towel, etc.! All of the food products were made by her or other local producers. Thanks Stephanie and Shelley :D As always, I had so much fun!

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July 24, 2011

Baltimore Farmer's Market

After a late night of playing cards with some friends, Steve and I were debating whether or not if we wanted to wake up early to go to the Baltimore Farmer's Market under the JFX downtown in Baltimore. We slept in later than planned, but woke up early enough to still go. We ended up getting there around 9:30am. People had advised me to get there the earlier the better because a lot of farms sell out quickly- this had me worried, but I was pleasantly surprised. Parking was free and we had no problem finding a spot. I guess 9:30 was the time most people were arriving because the market was packed!

First, we walked around and took everything in. I had heard many people say that the mini doughnut stand is a must at the Baltimore Farmer's Market so this was our first stop. The doughnuts were freshly fried and hot when I walked up to the stand. There were a lot of toppings for the doughnuts if you chose to use any. I chose sprinkles and powered sugar :) The doughnuts were so light and fluffy, they had a hint of cinnamon in the batter I think.

Right across from the doughnuts was a stand selling crepes. I assume that the owner is of Mexican descent as the sign said Ruben's Crepes: Mexican and Crepes. Many of the crepes had Mexican ingredients. Steve and I tried the #19 which had chorizo, egg, black beans, cheese, and salsa verde. Someone took our order while we were waiting in line and by the time we got to where the crepes were being made, ours was done. The crepes came out faster than the blink of an eye.
To quench our thirst we got a fresh squeezed lemonade from another stand. This was the best tasting lemonade, not sure if it was because were were so hot (86 degrees by 9:30) or because it was really good lemonade, probably both.

Once we were full and hydrated we walked around to scope out which produce we wanted to buy. There was so much to choose from! There were 10 different varieties of mushrooms, and ginormous tomatoes, and peppers, and string beans, and lettuces, and herbs, and flowers, oh my! Many sellers took cash only, something we had failed to think of so we had about $25 in cash to work with. We bought from 3 different local farms and ended up getting some tomatoes, peaches, and string beans. The total cost for all of this was a whopping $7! You can't beat that price for the variety, freshness, and taste of produce like this. I can't wait to go back!

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June 26, 2011

Only The Good Die Young

Yesterday was the memorial service for one of my patients who passed away on June 16. Tracy was just 30 years old. It is only times like this when I feel sad and depressed about what I do.


Tracy and her husband were two of the first people I had the opportunity to meet and care for when I was cross-training at the Cancer Institute. I was working at the main hospital at the time on the inpatient Oncology unit, but had been trying to get a job in the Cancer Institute for some time. I introduced myself to Tracy and her husband, Romeo and told them how I was just helping out in the infusion center that day, but would love to work in the infusion center permanently and that caring for cancer patients is my passion. Tracy and Romeo smiled at me and promised that they would "put in a good word" for me (I was hired the next week). Immediately, I felt their kindness.

In nursing school we were told on our first clinical day to maintain a strict patient/nurse relationship and that we are not to become close with any patient. In my opinion, working in a field such as Oncology, nurses should not be expected to follow this rule. Oncology nurses are caring for patients at such an uncertain and frightening time of their lives. There is a certain amount of closeness that occurs amongst nurses and patients, at least where I work. Tracy and Romeo were two people that I could not help, but to become close with. Tracy had such a kind, caring spirit, and a love for life. Tracy was a huge Baltimore Orioles fan and advocate for the MD SPCA. Despite her cancer diagnosis, she was constantly doing things for others never once feeling sorry for herself. Tracy has inspired me to keep doing what I do and I will never forget her.

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June 16, 2011

I Feel Like Chicken Tonight

I am all about quick and easy meals. By the time I get home from work I am ready to go straight to bed. I don't like to be bothered with meals that take a long time to prepare. I found a French's Mustard recipe in the coupon section of my Saturday paper and adapted it slightly.

Chicken with Creamy Dijon Herb Sauce


1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
6 tbsp dijon mustard
1/3 cup softened cream cheese (I used whipped cream cheese)
1 tbsp minced herbs (I used fresh oregano, parsley, basil, thyme)
pinch of granulated sugar (A little squeeze of honey may also be yummy)
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (I used chicken tenderloins for quicker cooking)
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 cup mushrooms

1. In a bowl mix broth, mustard, cream cheese, herbs, and sugar until well combined.
2. a nonstick skillet heat up the oil then brown the chicken until cooked through.
3. Once the chicken is cooked, pour the mustard sauce over the chicken in the skillet. Add the minced garlic and mushrooms.
4. Simmer the chicken for a few minutes so that the sauce can thicken.

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June 15, 2011

New BGR Reviewed

Steve and I went to the new burger joint in HoCo called BGR. It is by the Target in Columbia right next to the new Tutti Frutti. We are always in search of a good burger. I got the Turkey Burger and Steve got the Greek Burger, we shared an order of rosemary fries.

Greek Burger

Turkey Burger

What I liked:
The fries were crispy.
The soda dispenser has different flavor syrups that you can add to your drink. I chose cherry vanilla to add to my Diet Coke.
Our order came out fast.
Outdoor seating.

What I didn't like:
My burger fell apart after one bite.
I felt the burger itself was undercooked and a bit salty.
The rosemary seasoning on the fries was just dried rosemary sprinkled on top. The rosemary did not stick and didn't have much flavor.

Overall I would say my experience was okay. I was most impressed with their fancy soda dispenser than the food. My vote for best burger still goes to the Victoria Burger at Victoria Gastro Pub.

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June 11, 2011

Call Me Cupcake(MSN)RN


On May 27th I graduated from graduate school with my Masters in Nursing Education degree.


Woo hoo!

For the past 2 years my life has more or less consumed with work and school. I'll be the first to admit that it was hard for me to balance everything between working full time, being in class on my days off, and life. I am so glad that my family was supportive (except not understanding why I was always tired), but Steve was the only person who was the most supportive throughout this whole thing. He would help me any way he could which often times included proof-reading my papers and making sure the coffee kept coming haha. A big thank-you goes out to all of my friends. I am sorry that I had to turn down so many offers to get together, but I hope you can understand why.

Now I am looking forward to getting back to to doing the things that I enjoy. I have been going to the gym (I ran a mile today! First time in over a year), baking, blogging, traveling, etc.

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June 3, 2011

A Big Thanks

A cookie from one of my patients today.


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April 7, 2011

Coworkers Are Funny

Me: What should I have for dinner tonight?

Coworker: I don't know... something good so you can take a picture and upload it?

Hahaha... They know me well.

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March 27, 2011

Love & Glitter

While walking around old Ellicott City today, Steve and I came across a store called Love & Glitter. Very cute handmade jewelry, candles, and other gifts. I saw these earrings and had to get them!


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March 15, 2011

Back to Blogging

I've practically taken a year's long hiatus from blogging... I have been so consumed with working full time and my last year of graduate school. But, come May 27th (God willing) I will be graduating from graduate school! I am really hoping to getting back into blogging this summer.

Anyway, I came out of blogging hibernation to post a recipe that I made tonight. I posted a picture on Facebook and a few people asked me for the recipe. Instead of individually e-mailing the recipe out I figured putting the recipe on my blog would be easiest.

I found this recipe in a magazine and it is from the McCormick spice company. It was really easy to make especially since you only need one pan. I used ground turkey and it tasted good, but I think it would have been better with the ground beef which is called for in the recipe. If you used lamb, it would be more Greek like and you could certainly put an Italian spin on it if you used sausage.


Greek-Style Skillet Supper
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Makes 6 servings

1 lb. ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 tsp. oregano leaves
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 can (14.5 oz) reduced sodium beef broth
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 1/2 cups uncooked penne pasta
1 1/2 cups spinach or green beans
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese, divided

Cook ground beef and onion in large skillet on medium-high heat until beef is no longer pink, stirring occasionally. Drain fat. Add oregano, cinnamon, and garlic powder, mix well.

Stir in broth, tomatoes, and tomato paste. Bring to a boil. Stir in pasta. Reduce heat to medium; cover and cook 10 minutes or until pasta is nearly tender. Stir in spinach and 1/2 cup of the feta cheese. Cover. Cook 5 minutes longer or until pasta is tender.

Before serving, sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup feta cheese.

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