Friday, January 28, 2011


I have taken a renewed interest in the topic of motivation. It seems to pop up in my mind as a fascinating topic now and again. I think I was first aware of how interesting the subject is while taking my psych classes in nursing school. What is it that motivates one person to stop drinking/smoking/bad health behaviors but inhibits another from doing the same? How can we as health professionals influence a person's level of motivation? Now, as I think about the possibility of taking a certification exam and returning to school AND as I experience a lot of change at work, I have started thinking again about how curious a thing motivation is. Am I motivated enough to study on my own, pay for, take and pass the CCRN exam (sooner rather than later)? Am I willing to struggle and suffer through the classes and work required to get my masters?  And for work what is it that intrinsically motivates people to learn? I am on the education committee and people just don't seem motivated to learn more about the diseases we encounter or how to do their jobs better. How do I change the work culture enough to help people want to learn and not feel burdened by the information provided them? How do you help people take ownership and partner with you in something that benefits them even if it takes a little extra work on their part?  You know, I had always intended to look up more in nursing school on the topic of motivation and just never got around to it.  I'm sure there is tons of information and research out there. I guess I simply lacked the motivation.... :-P

Friday, January 21, 2011

KitchenAid Mixer fun

Today started with my first attempt at making homemade bread. I got a kitchenaid stand mixer for Christmas and ordered the dough hook (after ordering the wrong one the first time, the right one finally came a couple weeks ago). I was inspired by the amazing homemade bread that Michael's mom made when we visited her in December. The mixer makes it more manageable because it does the kneading for me. I usually try shortcuts when following recipes, but this time made an effort to stick to the directions as closely as possible. The only hitch to that was that I had quick rising yeast which says it cuts rising time by up to 50% and since I don't know what "double in size" looks like exactly without getting out a ruler, I had to guess at when it was finished rising. I think I may have cut the rising time a bit too short. The bread was a little more dense than I hoped for and a little undercooked despite the fact that it was "golden brown" on top. It is certainly edible, but not as melt-in-your-mouth, no-need-for-butter good as Mrs. I's. So far it is just right with cheese or I think it would be phenomenal with jam (I'll have to "borrow" some of Michael's homemade stuff). I also discovered that I would like to get the pouring shield (as I was trying to pour in extra flour and kept dumping it on top of the dough hook which flung it all over the counter). It was kind of a fun experience with an edible result. I plan to make small changes for the next attempt and hope for slightly better results. Then I plan to get adventurous: making rolls and other flavors of bread.  Eventually I plan to make a cheesecake with the mixer too b/c it'll be so much easier not having to try to hand stir cream cheese! I just need an occasion so I have people to share it with. :)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Dare to Hope

This is becoming one of my new years resolutions for 2011. I am a cynic and I hate it. It keeps me from accomplishing great things and from being happy for those around me. The doubts always seem to creep in.  Some of it is related to a deep down jealousy and some to a fear of rejection/failure. So I hold back and make snide, hurtful remarks.  But the goal is to have a more positive outlook. To try things and have experiences. Even if I fail, I am sure something positive will come from putting myself out there. I will be able to grow, rather than remain stagnant and will hopefully have a positive influence on those around me as well. I want the hope and joy to be contagious. I will need some encouragement and reminders along the way, but I am striving to dare to hope.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Poor Rocky

My parents have a keeshond that they got my senior year of college. He was the cutest little guy as a puppy and has grown to have such beautiful long soft black fur. At Christmas, we noticed he wasn't acting right. He wouldn't focus with both eyes and when I looked closely it looked like his left pupil was blown. He snapped viciously at my dad one day when we were trying to get him on a leash to take him out for walk which is not at all like him -- he is the gamma dog, last in line, very very submissive. He kept to himself most of Christmas weekend and was not his normal self. I have been communicating with my parents via email and it sounded like things weren't getting better. I talked with Mom on the phone last night and she said they had taken him to a neurology vet when he started walking in circles and the vet wanted to do a $4000 MRI. They could get several new dogs for that price or use the money for much  more important things so they declined. The MRI wouldn't necessarily tell them anything or fix the problem, so what's the use? The vet hypothesized that it could be an infection or a brain tumor, but that he is blind in the left eye and something is definitely wrong with his brain. He was on pain killers after a trip to the regular vet and is now on antibiotics and steroids. Mom says he seems to be doing a little better but the vet had said he may look better and then get way worse. So, Mom says he is basically home on hospice. Poor dog. I hope he goes comfortably and his misery isn't dragged on for too long. I wish for full recovery or a peaceful passing.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Dinner for 4

I did it! I accomplished hosting dinner for 4. I made Lemon/Garlic Chicken with potatoes and green beans. It took a bit longer to cook than I expected but the end result was pretty good. I didn't quite manage to get the rolls out at the same time as the meal, but there are always opportunities to improve. I am grateful to Michelle (and my fridge) for providing the wine. I am also fortunate that I found pumpkin roll that my mom made in my freezer for dessert.  It still tastes really good.  My roommate is always asking me to find ways to clean out the freezer; who knew that hosting dinner would start the process. I'm thinking of trying to host every other month or so and picking a new group each time. We'll see. It was fun.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Attempt at breakfast for dinner

I tried making breakfast for dinner for Michael on Wed night. He just laughed at me and my inept-ness. Pancakes and eggs are supposed to be easy...

Pancakes: according to the Bisquick package instructions with frozen blueberries (CSA blueberries added)
Eggs: scrambled with cheese

Result: The pancakes were a little undercooked (guess I didn't get the pan hot enough to start) and certainly not round in shape. The best part about them was the blueberries. Maybe real maple syrup would have helped?? The eggs were good, but I used taco cheese and Michael wasn't used to my methods so I believe he was less than satisfied. After eating 5 pancakes and 1.5 eggs, he moved on to his standard staple: cheese and crackers. I'm sure he was grateful, but he made fun of me at every turn. I'm not quite the expert cook. I'm hoping practice makes perfect. Attempting to make dinner for him and friends tonight from a RealSimple recipe. Can't go wrong with that, right?