Friday, November 9, 2012

I don't think women can have it all either....

Interesting read - a BigLaw attorney left her job and wrote a departure memo detailing her daily hectic life and how she cannot excel and please both her family and her boss.  Perhaps I should have written a similar e-mail! (I didn't write anything)

Here was my day routine (this was true even when child was 12 months old):
5:30 AM - wake up, get bottles ready, pack pump, get dressed
6:00 AM - head out the door, commute to work, get coffee on the go.  Eat in the car.
6:45 AM - start my day
7:00 AM - Hear about my patients for the day
7:30 AM - go back to my computer to read progress notes from overnight/review vital signs/lab results and/or see the patients who are sick first
8:15 AM - random emergency of either a true patient emergency or an angry patient's parent demanding to be seen, or a random hospital staff person wanting to chat about the plan for the day before I have seen all my patients.
9:00 AM - hopefully have started seeing patients by then.
9:30 AM - pump
(If I have students or results, start rounds at 9:45 AM and end by 11:00 AM)
Then the day really depends on how busy the hospital is, how many emergencies there are.  On a good day I can get lunch at 11:00AM.  On a bad day, I have to squeeze lunch in at some point.. hopefully by 2:00 PM
11:30 AM - eat lunch, call consultants while eating, write my daily notes
Between 12:30PM and 4:00 PM its either following up on the crazy stuff in the morning, seeing new patients in the emergency room, or kicking back and relaxing (VERY RARE - maybe in the summer when nobody is sick)
1:30 PM - pump
5:00 PM - tell the night shift about my patients for the day
5:45 PM - drive back home
6:30 PM - either get food or quickly cook food/ nurse baby
7:30 PM - dinner, feed baby
8:30 PM - bathtime/put baby to bed,  husband cleans all the pump parts and old bottles
9:30 PM - get my progress notes done (most of the time I have no time to start notes at work)
11:00PM - shower, prep next day's milk and food, get to bed.
1:30 AM - wake up nurse baby
3:00 AM - wake up nurse baby
4:00 AM - wake up nurse baby

Night Routine:
4:00 PM - drive to work
5:00PM - hear about patients
- either see a patient nearly every hour.. or wait around.. and the patients start coming in at 1:00 AM after I've decided its not worth staying up to see if patients come
7:00 PM - dinner/pump
1:00 AM - pump
6:00 AM - pump
7:00AM - tell morning person about patients
8:30 AM - get home, chug coffee
- take care of baby, etc, pray she naps.
11:30 AM - start nap with baby
2-3:00 PM - wake up, realize baby has been playing by herself for a while while trapped in room with lethargic mommy
[then prep dinner... or prep for another night of work]

I think my very worst set of work days was when I worked Saturday and Sunday night back to back.  I went to mass Sunday morning after a Saturday night shift.  I think I maybe got 2-3 hours of sleep within 48 hours.  Needless to say, I did not feel very good.

7 Quick Takes - the Fourth!

--- 1 ---
I LOVE Daylight Savings! - Umm never ever thought I would say that, as I had frequently been on the end of working an extra hour on night shift.  But it works great with kids!  I'm so glad my toddler can't tell time - now she wakes up earlier and goes to bed earlier :).
--- 2 ---
Overcoming inertia for daily mass - it had always been something that I had thought about doing.  In college, I lived right next to the Catholic church.. but somehow  I never quite had the motivation to make it a regular thing.  Since daylights savings, I've had no excuse!  I drop someone off for public transportation in the morning, and its right next to the church at the time I drop them off!  My tot and I made it to mass 4 times this week!  Its an awesome way to start off the day!
--- 3 ---
Another Catholic blogosphere controversy - another one besides skirts/pants - I had no idea that blessing children in the communion line was a controversy.  I first took note of it when we went to a church on Tuesday and the priest gave me a really weird look when we went up for communion.. (I guess I was holding the toddler up next to my face haha).  After reading about it, I guess I'm okay with the priest either giving/not giving a blessing.. but it seems like kind of a weird thing to get in a hussy over.. there's much bigger fish to fry..
--- 4 ---
Not a fan of extreme conservatism - so prior to discovering all these conservative/traditional blogs, I had really only been exposed to thinking that was liberal, left-leaning, and non-orthodox.  I'm almost equally annoyed at the super conservative traditional blogs..  and their comboxes.  I'm not sure what it is.  Its not that they are advocating for heinous things but the legalism and nose-turning at folks is kind of a turn-off.  I don't think its helpful for the cause of evangelization - maybe these thoughts should not be blogged in a public atmosphere and should be kept in one's head.  Just sayin'.  Some of these things sound like a resounding gong.
--- 5 ---
Election Woes - I had forgotten to register to vote on time. :(  I found out about the deadline about an hour after it had passed.  My husband found my registration online in a different county - I tried to go vote early but got rejected.  Fortunately, my vote doesn't really make a difference in my state.  Not thrilled at all with the election results though.  Our country needs prayers!
--- 6 ---
Baby Clothes  x 1 year- When my baby was 2 months old, she was in the 97th% for weight.  I mean.. her cheeks hung down from her face and her thighs were double-thunder!  We were in 18 month clothes by 9 months.  Its so true what people say though - she has finally slimmed down a little to the point where I can squeeze her folds into the 12 month pajamas.  Unheard of!  Using last years winter clothes for this year!  
--- 7 ---
Lesson from the Iron Chef - I learned something from watching TV!  I think on one episode of Iron Chef America, Alton Brown was commenting on how efficient one of the chefs was at peeling ginger - with a spoon!  I tried that - its so true!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

7 Quick Takes - the Third!

--- 1 ---
WHAT is in the sand volleyball pit at the park?  I went to the park today and have been almost continually itching all over since then.  My toddler decided to go-to-town in the sand volleyball pit (woohoo I don't need to build a sensory table anymore!) and then smeared sand all over herself and ate some too.  Somehow (of course) it got smeared all over me!  Even after a thorough wash, I'm still itching all over!.  Please please please no lice or scabies! PLEASE!  And I really hope the toddler doesn't get some intestinal parasite.
--- 2 ---
Books ADD - seriously, what is my problem?  I made some progress reading Pride & Prejudice (I even got to the scenes when Mr Collins appears) but then I saw a new book in my husbands convention bag that he got for free so I had to read that too, and also my new book, Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum came in the mail, so I started reading that too.  Did I mention I also found this and this to read as well?  If only all the pages I read added up to one whole book.  Le sigh....
--- 3 ---
Spooked by Halloween -took my kid to toddler storytime at the library on Halloween.  They did a cute puppet show where a witch can't pick the pumpkin out of the patch.. and then a ghost and a vampire show up.. and I don't know how it ends because when the ghost and vampire made their appearance, the child turned into a screaming banshee and I had to run out of there!  Smart girl - run away from occult-looking stuff!
--- 4 ---
Pants-vs-Skirts -Recently discovered the "controversy" of whether women wearing skirts is better than pants.  Just so you know - I think either is fine and either can be modest or immodest.  One thing skirts-only folks like to point out is that one can do anything in the right kind of skirt.  Here's my challenge question:  how do you teach your child how to hop like a frog in a skirt?!

--- 5 ---
Blogosphere - I'm really enjoying reading all the blogs out there.  10 years ago I was on Xanga exclusively, and it was just all us college buddies reading each others thoughts and rants..  Seems like there's so much more out there, and reading all these great blogs makes me want to be a better person! :)  I look forward to reading all my RSS feeds every time I have to put the tot down for sleepy-time!

--- 6 ---
Coffee:  God's Gift to Mothers (and everyone else) - coffee is awesome.  it elevates my mood, helps my alertness, makes me smarter..  heck, it even raises the dead. (ha ha ha.)  My friend discovered a Christian company that makes coffee!  I guess thats two alternatives to Starbucks that I know of:  Mystic Monk and His Coffee Co.

--- 7 ---
Organization FAIL - 2 months ago I enthusiastically tried to start a control journal via FlyLady..  I almost went to buy a nice expensive pretty binder to fit everything in but I told myself, "No no, not until you have a REAL journal, otherwise it will be just another binder sitting under the table."  I know myself well.  My "Control Journal" is now a felt board "organizer" for the toddler.  Oops. :(

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Encountering Loneliness

After a toddler tantrum fiasco at the local libray, I took the screaming child to a nearby park within a nice suburban neighborhood for the first time...  and thought of a recent post of Jennifer Fulwiler's off of her blog at NCRegister which talked about how women were reluctant to stay at home because of social isolation..
The neighborhood and park seemed deserted!  There was the occasional lawnservice truck that drove by and maybe one woman walking, but that was it. I was kind of disappointed that there weren't other small kids to be seen.

Then there was an old Asian man who was walking around... he just sat down on the bench in front of where my daughter, my friend, and I were. I didn't turn around (because I thought that this was mildly creepy) but I knew he was staring! He got up a few minutes later, and said a loud "NI HAO" (meaning "hello" in Chinese) at me as he walked by..and went to the other side of the park.

Well, we ended up at the other side of the park eventually, and the man came up to me and started talking (since now he knew I understood Chinese since I responded to his "NI HAO" earlier).  After some basic demographics questions, he exclaimed, "I AM SO LONELY HERE!!!," he had been here for about 5 months living with his adult children (in their 40s) - he himself is 76, and his adult children do not have children here.  He doesn't speak English and doesn't have a car.  Nobody is around the neighborhood.  He begged to hold my toddler..  He asked about the meaning of Halloween (funny.. I just listened to a blurb about it on Catholic radio) -and I told him about today being All Saints.  Its too bad that he is leaving the country (maybe for good) on Sunday -otherwise I would have invited him to church...  There are a lot of Chinese people there his age who speak and understand Chinese much better than me. (In the middle of our conversation, he asked.. DO YOU UNDERSTAND ANYTHING I AM SAYING? ;-))  I did extricate myself from the conversation since it was time to feed the baby, and he kept exclaiming that he was so glad that he met me :).  Funny, I did kind of feel a grandpa-ish connection with him -I'm glad I met him too!  He is now in my prayers. 

I felt so bad for him.  I wonder if this is how most immigrants/visitors who don't speak the language feel when they come visit for extended periods of time.  I wonder if this is how my parents generation or grandparents feel.  I should call my grandmother more often... (even if I don't understand the conversation).

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Great Accomplishments: cooking 3 meals at once!

I feel very proud of my recent accomplishment of cooking 3 meals at once.. for dinner, lunch the next day, and lunch after mass.  Both my husband and I volunteer at church on Sunday mornings so there's not time to cooking..unless we want to eat out with a nap-deprived toddler.  Having something to heat up at home simplifies things a bit and saves money!  Saturdays are also the only days when we can really hang out together.. again..  no eating out because of a nap-deprived toddler.  We have tried.. and faced public humiliation with our angry cranky person almost each and every time!

Without further ado, this is what I made! - 2 quick stir-fries (going at the same time) with steamed rice as an accompaniment for Friday dinner, and while we ate dinner,  I heated up a braised stew (taktoritang`1)  that could be eaten with rice or noodles (which take 3 minutes to boil) - I had already cooked up 4-5 meals of vegetables the previous day to go along with the stew.  

Home-Style Tofu reminds me of my mother-in-law's home-cookin'!  Its very mild, stir-fried in a brown sauce, and extremely easy to make.  I used regular-firm tofu, some rehydrated shitake mushrooms (I have also used regular white mushrooms from the American grocery stores), omitted the shrimp.
Had it along with some silk squash (my new favorite veg)

Mise en place!

The results after very little time:

I literally threw all the ingredients in this pot.. including a frozen slab of meat.. and left it to cook.  It gets better the longer it simmers.
(this is the same as the red hot pot of fire I posted previously...without the hot pepper powder.)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

7 Quick Takes

--- 1 ---
Unenthused about Halloween.  Trick-or-Treating always freaked me out.  Growing up, I was always reminded that strangers might stick poison in the candy (so make sure its unopened candy), some neighbors could be child predators, etc.  I don't even remember trick-or-treating in the neighborhood - I think I went to a church party once and went to the mall once.  Paranoia, much? - well.. it WAS the years surrounding the Chicago Tylenol murders..people finding white powder in their soda cans..  Ugh.  We actually don't even hand out candy in our house because we don't want to open the door for weirdos.
--- 2 ---
I've started to read a book.  How many times have I said that this year?  Looking into home-schooling - it looks like I'll have to be familiar with some of the books on the booklists.  I'm reading Pride & Prejudice right now.  I'm far enough removed from watching the 1995 BBC series for a few years that reading it won;t be just replaying the series in my head.
--- 3 ---
Ashamed?  Ummm..  I have to look up words in the dictionary a few times for every page in Pride & Prejudice.  Examples:  chaise, indolent, piquet, celerity, expostulation, precipitance, just to name a few. (And I've already forgotten half the meanings) :(
--- 4 ---
Best movie villain ever - has got to be Loki of Thor/Avengers.  He reminds me of Emperor Commodus from Gladiator - gots father issues, insecure, cunning.. except he's got weird magical powers.  Makes for great campy movie fun.  The movies have got great witty lines too.  I wasn't familiar with the Avengers before, but I like their film portrayals.
--- 5 ---
Home-made potato chips FAIL - I have a habit of not buying junk food at the grocery store - I'm not sure when I started that but it certainly has limited the amount of junk that I consume. (if it aint in the house, I ain't gonna eat it, and too lazy to make it).  Tonight though, I took the plunge and tried to make potato chips.  It was really easy slicing them but I didn't want to fry them and make a mess.  Its kind of ridiculous how many pans I'd have to use to place a single-layer of chips - so I also microwaved some on a plate.  Microwaving produced the best crispy taste (like Munchos) but it sticks to the plate :(.   Baking made for some uneven cooking and soggy chips.. Perhaps I'm not using my mandolin correctly - for some reason my chips were all half-burnt, half-soggy.
--- 6 ---
DIY Cardboard Box Toys - these are hard to make without a good blade.  so far I've made a toy stove/sink area and a box-car.  The kid thought the box-car was kind of crappy... pulled off the steering wheel and then pulled off all the wheels (which were all styrofoam plates).   Thinking of making a puppet theater next.  Yay for Pinterest!
--- 7 ---
Cry-it-Out - not sure how people do it; I was going through some old magazines and there was a whole section on infant sleep.  One of the methods with "strong evidence" was cry-it-out.  Just can't do it.  Can't think of leaving an infant for 12 hours to cry and to check on them only in the morning.  That's so sad.  Even if there is no evidence that it harms the child psychologically, doesn't it make the parent feel somewhat guilty?  Not for us! Not that I have any better solutions...  as nobody is sleeping through the night still :-/.  But...we...are...close...  5 hours is good 'nuff.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Minimal Prep and Easy Recipes: Asian Edition

If there's one thing I'm semi good at, its eating!  and finding good recipes to cook :)  This has become more difficult as the toddler has grown more restless as she develops.  The challenge is finding stuff thats easy to put together with minimal prep and stirring - Oven-baked or a braised meal.  Not into opening the slow-cooker we got for our wedding just yet.. the idea of leaving something on for 8 hours and leaving kind of freaks me out (not to mention that my neighbor's slow-cooker short-circuited while she was gone...)

A few awesome recipes that I go to when the toddler becomes extra restless;  they are all versatile.  They all go great with steamed rice.  A quick sautee of any vegetable goes well with any of these.  Running low on rice?  Then the sauce/broth can be spooned over noodles and eaten as a noodle soup!  The leftovers have even better flavor!

Tak ToriTang (Korean Spicy Chicken and Potatoes)
So versatile - you can stick even a sack of FROZEN chicken wings into the pot, use the soy sauce/sugar/water mix, add the garlic onion, stick in some cut potatoes and carrots, simmer x 45 minutes (once in a while, stir) AND YOU'RE DONE!  Waxy potatoes work best.  You can also sub daikon for the potatoes.   I usually leave out the hot sauce..  The first time I made it...
(it was still good though.. not that I could really taste it)

Chicken Adobo (Philipino - Chicken braised in soy sauce mix)
Braise some chicken in soy sauce/garlic/bay leaves/peppercorns.  Add vinegar/salt/sugar later.  The end. :)
The recipes calls for marinating - I don't even think this is necessary - I have done this with half frozen chicken legs and it still turns out fine.  This recipe is not very tart, it is very mild.

Brown the ribs.  Add everything else.  Simmer.  Interestingly this recipe calls for more sugar than other soups that I have tasted.  Better as a brothy soup for noodles rather than to be eaten on its own.

To make this easy, buy precut pork belly (Asian grocery store).  Another throw everything in the pot and simmer dish.  May not sound like a lot, but its PORK BELLY with FRIED TOFU (very hearty, very filling). In fact, I had packed my husband a lunch that was virtually vegetarian so he was expecting a super meaty meal today.. He saw this dish and exclaimed, "where's all the meat?!"  but he didn't even eat a quarter-pound of this since its so filling!

More blog posts to come.. (Fast pasta dishes,  quick oven-roasts..  )

The housework is coming..  As I am typing this, I am boiling 6 dishclothes in a pot of vinegar/water.  I have a habit of leaving the cloths in the sink and then they get all nasty and moldy.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Alrighty.. Clearly failing at this Martha Stewart-ness stuff.  So I'm going to participate in Conversion Diary's "7 Quick Takes Friday" to get the ball rollin!!!!!

--- 1 ---
Homeschooling?   Anyone heard of a Chinese-Catholic Homeschooler?   Will we be ostracized from all our relatives and fellow parishioners?  Everyone's heard of Tiger Mom, right? Well, most Chinese ppl I know had tiger mommies - everybody is either homeschooled after school and during the summer or sent to some kind of afterschool or summer program.  Why not just school them at home and have a whole lot of free time (haha?) to build up moral character, instruct in the faith, and dilute peer pressure craziness?  I hear my younger relatives talk about their public school experiences and they are not very reassuring...Anyone out there know of any Asian Homeschoolers?  I need back-up here when we break this decision to the grandparents..
--- 2 ---
Not sure where this blog is going - one reason why I've been procrastinating so much.  My old blog was all about my professional school and training..ethical situations, and all (it went on for 7 years!).  But now onto another chapter of life!   There's only so much I can write about housework.  Gotta find my niche.  
--- 3 ---
I gained 6 lbs in 2 weeks since quitting work!  No - thats a good thing.  My coworkers told me I looked sickly.  Thought it was breastfeeding but really it was all the stress and being overworked (and I was part-time!).  Now I can get my health back and focus on the family!
--- 4 ---
Reality Show ("Chopped") Inspired Meal Planning - one thing thats come more naturally for me in this SAHM business is the idea of meal planning.  Except I don't plan my menu then go grocery shopping.  I do it the "Chopped" way - I go get my on sale produce and good-lookin' meats (thus my "mystery basket") and then come up with something with whats in the pantry.   Its worked so far - we get a variety of foods and rotate through different produce/grains. Watching the show has really inspired me to think differently about cooking - especially that episode where they used leftover pizza and beer as ingredients to make totally new appetizer foods.

--- 5 ---
Anonymity?  Can't decide whether to stay anonymous or not.  At my old blog - I had to because of the nature of the job.  But if I talk about la familia here, it'd be better to stay anon.  I guess that relates to #2 - where I decide this blog goes! 
--- 6 ---
East meets West.. NOT!  Another blog idea I had..  I live and interact with many traditionally minded Chinese folks.  I am a quasi-crunchy person myself but in TOTALLY the opposite way.  I'm all about allopathic medicine but I do many attachment parenting things (I think I listen to the Popcaks too much - but they are AWESOME! ) - babywearing, extended nursing, making my own bebe food..  So CONSTANTLY these older relatives or peers are questioning our practices and giving me weirdo suggestions.. (weirdest one?  injecting children with poop.  NO THANK YOU - if I find out someone is actually doing that, I would probably call child protective services!)  I also totally do not believe in Chinese post-partum practices ("the month") - I actually found an article in a peer-reviewed journal about how there was no difference in chronic pain between women who adhered to the "month" and those who didn't..  However citing science doesn't matter to some.. and none of these folks have produced any articles or reading to suggest that their practices are evidence-based.
--- 7 ---
Smoke but no fire...  My husband and I kept smelling poopy diapers tonight, so we kept having to check the stinky toddler's diaper.  No poop!  Then I remembered.. I fed her cabbage!  They were so stinky, I decided to google cabbage farts and look at this gem I found :).  

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

And there it is!  Blog post #2!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

There and Back Again...

Well the last time I was a regular blogger was back when I was training in medical school/residency.  Now I am back "training" to make my home and take care of the peeps... or as some people call themselves, "CEO of the home."

Today's project is getting rid of the paper clutter that threatens to drown us in various rooms.  Paper clutter that includes unwanted mail from.. over a decade ago?!

First things first:  PREVENTION!  I was perusing safety tips on our local government website and they had some helpful tips regarding stopping your junk mail/unsolicited calls.  Check this website out at the Federal Trade Commision.

Second, years ago I bought a filing cabinet and "FileSolutions" which is really good... but not if you're keeping all the wrong stuff.

So for my 15 minutes today while the child naps, I am reading through what exactly is important and what can be tossed.  A helpful site: Managing Household Records (

I can't vouch for any of the points I've written above, but this is the path I'm taking.  At some point I will let you all know if it works.  When the paperwork was a little less overwhelming, the filing cabinet system worked (until I got tired of sorting and the cabinet got full....)  Which is why I'm looking up what I can throw away. :)