Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

I finally have a picture to post so that means another blog entry.  Matthew and I dressed up for our ward Halloween party on Friday night.  He wanted to be a mummy so I decided to be Cleopatra.  It was fun to get all costumed up.

You may have noticed my disappearance from the blogging world.  I think the last 6 months of the didactic year of PA school pretty much sucked the life out of me but now I am doing clinical rotations and life is good. I did my first rotation in Salt Lake City at the VA hospital.  I was in an inpatient psychiatry unit and it was...well...pretty crazy :).  I really enjoyed psychiatry and learned a lot since most of our patients had very apparent pathologies.  Now I am doing pediatrics in Meridian and I love it.  I have never considered myself a "kid person" but I love the positive energy the little guys bring to my day.  Next week I start dermatology and I am looking forward to it because I think I will enjoy doing more hands-on types of things.

I will graduate in August and I am looking forward to escaping the student life.  Happy Halloween!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Easter Sugar Cookies

I got the bug this week to make some spring-time sugar cookies. I decided to use Martha's recipe for Ideal Sugar Cookies and Royal Icing. The dough was pretty unforgiving but the result turned out very well. The cookies were soft and buttery but nice and thin. I really like the royal icing because it's easy to work and dries to a beautiful, shiny gloss. Overall, I'd say this recipe isn't for the faint of heart but if you are looking for a tasty challenge then give it a try.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Fountainhead

Sometimes things come into your life at just the right time and for me this book was one of them. I started reading at the end of last summer and in the midst of school would pick it up occasionally and chip away at it. It's written by Ayn Rand, author of Atlas Shrugged, a book I read a few years ago and found very relevant. Too me books like these are must reads because they are a huge part of our culture. They are still frequently referenced today and you may have even quoted it without realizing what you were talking about because they are so ingrained in our vocabulary. Therefore, I think The Fountainhead has value to the average reader even if doesn't affect you in the same way it did me.

The book is a novel written in the 1940s by a Russian expatriot living in the U.S., which I think adds credibility to her political commentary, but that is not what struck me in this book. The premise of the book is that selflessness is the ultimate degradation of the human soul. This sounds pretty crazy but when you think about it -- it is so amazingly poignant.

Here is a brief summary of the characters:

Howard Roark is an architect. He is great and therefore has a difficult time breaking into the business because the professional standards are to borrow from ideas of the past. He is the caricature of selfishness in that he builds buildings for his own pleasure, to make the world a better place for himself by having created something that he knows is great. The book chronicles his struggles in finding success in a world that is full of people who are "selfless."

Roark's counterpart is Peter Keating. They start their careers at the same time and Keating immediately rises to the top of the architecture world by becoming popular, meeting the right people and designing buildings that are nothing spectacular but are good enough. By the end of the book Keating is the picture of "selfessness." He has become unrecognizable even to himself because he has sold his soul in the process of trying to become great.

The masses are the third caricature. These people despise greatness because it shows their own ineptitude. The masses are lead by the opinions of others, namely Elsworth Toohey, an architecture opinion column writer. Toohey praises mediocrity in an attempt to destroy greatness and obtain power for himself. He preaches the doctrine of selflessness in terms that are not unfamiliar to us: pity, benevolence, public spirit, social consciousness.

The book follows the interplay of these characters ultimately showing the reader that the selflessness is the great sin. First of all we have to address the definition of selflessness. If you break down the word into parts you see that it literally means a quality of being without self and when this definition is applied to the word I think Ayn Rand is absolutely right. When we are without self we do no service to ourselves or the world around us. We become a waif, blown about by the whims and opinions of others. The self is what makes us unique. It is what makes us alive.

This was especially pertinent to me because for several years I have been trying to become the picture of selflessness. I felt that in order to be a good Christian, to become more like Christ, I had to abandon my desires. My life became an experiment in seeing how much I could possibly let go of, how I could let myself be shaped and changed. Last fall I reached a point where I felt there was nothing left to me. I literally felt as if my opinions, likes and desires, suppressed for so long, had faded away to nothing. The memory of who I had been before seemed distant and unknowable. I feel that I have reached the depth of selflessness and after having been there I never want to go back.

I am thinking that after having my world shaken by medical problems I felt the control I once had on my life was gone. My coping mechanism was to surrender the rest and become a shadow. I now realize that was a great mistake. I have never been a fan of the "finding yourself" rhetoric but I do feel I am now on a quest to find my self.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Easy Baby Quilt and Applique Burp Cloth

This is a baby quilt and burp cloth I made as a gift for a friend (Ethney, hope you're not checking my blog the night before your shower!)

The print is a Michael Miller print I found at JoAnn's and the backing is solid brown flannel. It's a simple pattern--sew two rectangles with wrong sides together. Turn it right sides out and iron. In my copious amounts of class time I quilted around the big flowers.

I appliqued some flowers onto the burp cloth using fusible webbing and bordered it with a decorative stitch on my sewing machine.

It was a fun project and it went together quickly!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Canister Project

Last year I posted about some canisters I found at a thrift store and had plans to refinish the wooden tops. Well, one year later the project is finished and I am quite happy with how they came out. I had to strip the wooden tops (not a fun part of the project). Then I bought some cheap acrylic craft paint at walmart and used a rag to wipe it on in a thin layer, leaving the wood grain visible. Last I sprayed them with some spray shellac (needed since the ceramic jars are shiny). Here is the before:

And the after:

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


I hate titling a post "Update" but that's all we got for now.

In December I wrapped up my first semester of PA school. It felt like quite an accomplishment although it only means I am 1/6 of the way through. Now we are onto the module portion of the program which means we spend one week on a type of medicine, learn everything about it (that can be learned in one week), take a test and then move onto the next area. I think I like it because you always feel like you are accomplishing something. We have done two modules so far and only have about 25 more to go--sounds easy enough....

Matthew is in school still plugging away at his pre-dental prerequisites. And this really explains why our lives are so dull. When you have two people in school you don't do much else. He works really hard and I am so proud of him!

Christmas break was our first chance in a while to let loose. My parents came up to Boise and we spent a few days at Matthew's family's cabin. It was so beautiful up there with all of the snow and nice to spend time with Mom and Dad.

We spent Christmas with Matthew's family and things were pretty uneventful. It was kind of a like a big nap that we both totally needed.

A couple of weeks ago I was released as Relief Society President, which I think was timely since the pace of school has really picked up. Last Sunday was my first in a very long time that I haven't had any meetings outside of the regular ones everyone goes to...a nice feeling :)

I feel very blessed to be in school in spite of the crazy pace it gives to my life. It is fun to be learning so much and I'm excited to get out there and start practicing. I have been focusing on really trying to be happy in the moment and not be constantly thinking about the next phase of life and I think I am getting it to some degree. Life is now. It's happening to us every day. I love what President Hinckley said:

“Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he has been robbed.

“[The fact is] most putts don’t drop. Most beef is tough. Most children grow up to be just people. Most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration. Most jobs are more often dull than otherwise. …

“Life is like an old-time rail journey—delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed.

“The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride” (“Big Rock Candy Mountains,” Deseret News, 12 June 1973, A4).

I am thankful for the thrilling bursts of speed and the beautiful vistas in my life.