Sunday, February 5, 2012

Summer: Spanikopita recipe

Hey ladies! Just a quick experiment here. I am trying to blog from my new phone. I gave in and got a smart phone after losing my dumb phone at some po-dunk gas station on my way back from Big Bend. Anywho. I took a pic of the recipe because I was too lazy to type it. Let me know if you can read it. I also just made it for a super bowl party that I am attending. I know I know. First an iPhone and then a Super Bowl party. I might as well be a bro.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Christa: From my crumpled napkin

Hello!  I am so honored to be contributing to this blog with such fine, strong women!  I composed a brief poem after finding the long sought after napkin from the Big Bend trip.  Look forward to diving in.  Love, Christa

Musty paper napkin
hiding in the corner of my purse
on it written words all tattered
titles of a book are scattered
notes from friends who care
love to fondly share

Thank you all for love and knowledge
your lifeblood like a babbling brook

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Summer's Request-A tasty and simple recipe

One of my favorite gifts this past Christmas was a recipe book given to me by my very dear sister-in-law, my real sister in heart and mind. Since having my own apartment, and space, albeit only 2 feet, in which to fully develop my inner foodie, I have reveled in the honing of my cooking skills. This book, 300 Vegetarian Recipes for Health has the most beautiful, inspirational pictures of food. It's like my porn, giving me a little foodgasm each time I flip through the pages.
"ooooo yeah, that's it!"
HA! Forgive me, I couldn't resist.
Here's a recipe I made with my meat-loving dad one night in TX and then again for my boyfriend, whom many of you now know and love!

Beans with Mushrooms

serves 4
prep time: 10 minutes
cooking time: 15-20 minutes

2 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp butter
2 shallots, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
9 cups mixed mushrooms, thickly sliced
5 pieces sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
6 tbsp dry white wine

1, 4 oz can (Pick the one kind you like best, I LOVE pinto with this dish)
pinto, red kidney, or borlotti beans, drained
3 tbsp freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
salt and fresh ground black pepper
freshly cooked papardelle pasta, to serve

1. Heat oil and butter in frying pan and fry the shallots until soft
2. Add the garlic and mushrooms to the pan and fry for 3-4 minutes
Stir in the sun-dried tomatoes, wine, and seasoning to taste
3, Stir in beans and cook for about 5-6 minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the beans are warmed through
4. While beans are cooking, start cooking the papardelle pasta, should take about 5-7 minutes
5. Stir in the grated Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately with papardelle.
MMMMMMMMMMmmmmmmmmmm! Love, Les

Friday, January 13, 2012

Summer: Trauma

So, here’s to reviving the blog! I’ve thought about writing an entry about every day this week…but I’ve been too lazy! So, if you’ve been feeling the same way—get off your bum and write something! I know that I would love to hear something from everyone, especially since we don’t get to talk all the time. I have special requests for recipes, anecdotes, new music, and book recommendations. And just as a warning…this is a long one! And might be a little gross.

Last weekend, I had the awesome privilege of “shadowing” a 2nd year resident on a trauma rotation. Excuse my use of words like “awesome” and “exciting” when writing about some of these events.

Saturday 7 January 2012 was not a good day for motorcyclists. You wouldn’t have guessed because it was a beautiful, clear day—blue skies and dry roads. One minute they’re cruising down smooth Texas highways, and the next they’re being flown in by AirLife.

It’s an odd feeling to be in a room with 2 coding people. Coding for these folks on this day meant their blood pressure was in the toilet. The room gets packed with residents, techs, nurses, police officers, the paramedics that delivered the patients. Everyone’s breathing the same air—stealing each other’s air, because it’s cramped in there. It’s like this team of people trying to save a life are all tangled up in each other, and yet they still operate like a well-oiled machine—at least to the eyes of an outsider, an observer, the one at the bottom of the totem pole. Hell, not even on the totem pole.

There’s the person taking notes in the corner while others yell out “Abrasion to left shoulder; deformed right shoulder; fractures to left arm, left thigh, and right arm; pupils non-reactive to light.” Pinching and poking, hoping to elicit a primitive pain reaction. The attending trauma surgeon calling for the blood bank, “8 units blood, 8 FFP, 7 units platelets.” The techs that are changing out suction tubing. The radiologists pushing films under the patient’s back to get preliminary x-rays. Nurses trying to find lines. Residents determining oxygen saturation by taking a small amount of blood.

And then. Then, things get a little crazier. Monitors beep. And it’s not even in an alarming way—it’s more like a chime. But the blood pressure is dropping. Time for chest tubes—to potentially decompress the lungs. To make sure that there isn’t blood in the thoracic cavity. A bottle of betadine gets squirted on the patients chest; residents dawn sterile gloves over the gowns they’ve already thrown on. If they had more time, this procedure would be done with more care. But there is not time. A blade is taken to a space between the ribs. Cut through the skin, fascia, fat, and intercostal muscles. The resident places his finger into the hole, wiggles, and then inserts a tube. Luckily, no blood comes gushing out. The patient is not bleeding from the chest.

But now they need to make sure there is no abdominal bleeding. They must do a FAST—Focused Assessment with Sonography in Trauma. A bedside evaluation with ultrasound. That all sounds much nicer then, “cutting open the belly to check for bleeding.” After finding nothing, they staple his skin closed. And move on. It’s fix one thing and move on, fix and move on, until the patient is stable enough to get a CT scan—to get a better look and determine if there is bleeding they missed. Eventually things slow down when the patient is stable and everyone takes a deep breath…until the next call comes in. And there’s a rush to mop blood from the floor, get rid of all the trash from equipment used. Wash hands, and get the next bed ready. Like I said—they are a freakin’ machine.

And then, there are the patients. Real people. Ones that can’t breath for themselves. Completely exposed for all the world to see. The most physically vulnerable they will ever be. And they’re not even awake for it. Thank God. It’s weird to watch them (and others) fight for their lives. It’s surreal. So. Yeah. It’s an odd feeling when you realize that you don’t have much of a feeling at all. Really—I just feel…aware. I am an extra set of hands holding sutures, holding fat back, breathing for a man—and that pleases me. I am a little scared that I don’t seem to have more compassion. I would look at this man, his face bloodied and swollen, tubes down his throat. Tubes in both sides of his chest. Lines in his groin, in his wrists, in his forearms. Staples on his abdomen. Restrained so that an unconscious reflex doesn’t “contaminate” the sterile field. I look at him and try to see him as a person. A man with a family—wife, kids, parents. A home, a job, friends. But the only reality I seem to find is the one where the blood is on the floor, where I am excited to pump the bag that blows airs into his lungs. Watching and waiting, I feel like a child—horrified at what is going on, but fascinated too. Whole-heartedly believing that every patient is going to be alright, because I could not fathom a reality in which one of them is not. Even the woman who has shot herself in the head. It will be awful for her when she wakes up—because she took herself out believing that she would never wake again. Somehow, she was okay leaving behind her two young daughters and her husband. But I feel that she will wake up. That there is no way that she won’t make it. She’s made it this far, to the hospital, to this bed, to these people sweating and cursing, re-wrapping her head in gauze so that she doesn’t bleed out.

Trauma is a rush. I do not feel panic. I do not feel emotional. I only feel charged, hyper-aware. Granted, I can’t really do anything. I just stand around and hold things, stay out of the way and retrieve tools if I can. But I love it. I stayed 2 extra hours because it was so busy. I never found out what happened to any of those 4 patients that day. I still believe they made it.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Summer: Next Service Station 60 Miles

These past few weeks I’ve spent a lot of time driving around Texas, and I’m glad because I had forgotten how rustically, beautiful Texas can be. South Texas and the valley seem to have an endless supply of mesquite trees, cacti, shrubbery, and palm trees (depending on where you are). And despite the draught that we find ourselves in, it’s still very green—completely different from west Texas, which has a beauty all its own.

I drive with the windows down, 100+ degree heat beating on my arms. A two-lane highway where you have to speed up to 90mph in order to pass the large 18-wheelers that travel in front of you. But then? Then it’s miles before you see another car, and you are driving down a tunnel of greenery with the big Texas sky laid out before you. Clouds graze the sky like cows in open fields.

I hope everyone finds the peace and comfort that I do when driving through Texas. And despite my complaints about Texas having a horrible public transportation system, I am actually glad to have a car at times so that I can speed down the lanes with nothing but blue skies in front, and a long traveled road behind.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Summer: Whoa BRAIN!

Heya Ladies! This is just quick...but as I was studying neuroscience, I ran across this cool video to teach the concept of "perceptual blindness." I won't tell you anymore about it, because it may ruin the video for you. Just follow the directions! Our brains are nuts-os! Oh, and I will try to post a little more over the summer...since I have some more time. Hopefully I'll have some time to do some reflection on the past year. Anywho, without further ado, brought to you by youtube...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Summer: Happily Ever After =]

Hello ladies!'s been forever, but I've got a bit of time (ie I want to PROCRASTINATE) and I have been thinking a lot about my friends as of late. It must be the spring fever! I miss mojito Fridays by the Pearl St pool or evenings spent indulging in some vino on the balcony. I miss bike rides to coffee shops and bike gang, of course! I miss playing ultimate frisbee at the capitol and swimming at the greenbelt (or night swim at Barton Springs). I miss seasonal mixed CD's and the sound of everyone's beautiful laughter! Good lord!

Anyway, the weather this weekend was amazing! And it was perfect because my sister got married! The day was beautiful and the ceremony was held outside in an awesome courtyard downtown, during Fiesta. Fiesta is a big deal in San Antonio--ie Friday is a public holiday for Battle of Flowers. It was such a wonderful, colorful weekend. And I'm so happy that Alice was able to come down and dance the night away! Once my toast was given (which I had fret over for quite some time)--Alice had a glass of red wine with my name on it! We proceeded to get sloshed on the margaritas, extra tequila, please!

So, I've just been so excited since the wedding and I keep thinking about how nice it was. And then it made me remember how happy I used to always be (not that I'm miserable now, but I'm not as carefree ALL the time--I miss being freakishly happy all the time). So, back to you ladies! Love you all much. Sorry this has been one of the most rambly posts ever, but I wanted to write everyone a little letter.

Oh, and here is a link to some of the photos from my sister's wedding. The photographer was awesome! Philip Thomas Blog. Just scroll down a little bit--it's posted under Mariko + John.

I love you all much!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Some recipes, as requested by Alice and Summer:

Pickles (Try these, even if you don't like bread and butter pickles, you might like them. I made them for the first time today and they are amazing!)

10 pickling cucumbers
1 large onion
2 green bell peppers (I like to use 1 green and 1 red for color)
5 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup salt

1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup sugar
1 tsp tumeric
1 tsp celery seed
1 Tbs mustard seed

First you need to sterilize the jars that you will be using. Do this by leaving them in boiling water for a few minutes.

Then, Cut the cucumbers in thin slices and slice the onions. Chop the garlic and the bell peppers. Don't chop the peppers too small because they taste really good after pickling!
Mix everything together in a large mixing bowl and add the salt. It seems like a lot of salt but it drains the cucumbers of all their water leaving them extra cruchy. Add ice cubes or crushed ice to the mixture, I think this makes the cukes cruchier as well. Let the mixture sit for three hours.

After three hours, drain mixture. Then rinse with water (because the pickles will be really salty if you don't!) and drain again.

In a large saucepan, mix together the vinegar, sugar, tumeric, celery seed, and mustard seed. bring to a boil. Once it boils, turn off the heat and add the cucumber/vegetable mix into the sauce pan. Mix everything together. Pack the cukes and veggies into the jars and then ladel in the liquid. Seal the jar and chill in the fridge. Place the jars upside down so that the pickles are soaking in the juice and as you eat the pickles, the juice will soak the pickles at the bottom. You can either store the pickles in the fridge for a month or months or eat them instantly!

Empanada dough (I learned this recipe while working at a pizzeria/empanaderia in Chile)

4 cups flour
3/4 cups vegetable oil
1/4 margerine/butter
1 cup water
1 tsp salt

Mix everything together, knead it with your hands, add more flour or oil if it is to sticky or not stretchy enough. Roll out until dough is very thin, less than one cm. use a bowl to trace out circles with your knife.

And if you are not a vegetarian, you should try making empanadas de pino. These are the empanadas we made at the Pizzeria and they are very good.


1/2 pound ground meat
chopped onions. You want to chop a lot of onions so that you have at least twice as many onions as meat.

First, fry the onions until they are translucent. Then move them to a large mixing bowl. Add Sugar, cayanne pepper, black pepper, parsley flakes, cumin, salt. Add a lot of each of these spices

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Stav: I Feel It All

"to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free"

This song is so good for dancing.

Take care,

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Leslie: Mumbles from the National Gallery

This is an excerpt, beyond the Stav poem, from my travels earlier this semester. I hadn't gone back through and read it until just now. Since no one had really written about art, I thought I'd include it, a wider glimpse into the strange mind that makes its home in my body. 

At the National Gallery of Art again in my own universe. A heaven. I am my own best friend. Wearing clothes I wore all day yesterday and through the night, yet I feel fresh. Fresh in the middle of a traveler's high. Headphones on again in an art museum, one of my favorite things to do. Like being in Prof. Mary Brantl's class at good ol' StEdwards. Yes. One word, StEdwards. With other people I find museums boring. Maybe it's because I can't get lost. I have to be WITH them, out of my little space. Here I am, alone in D.C feelin' warm again.
In front of me are two paintings, one familiar the other new to me, but familiar. Thank you Mary Brantl, Modigliani and his Nude on Blue Cushion from 1917 with her coy and confindent gaze. The rather ugly maroon tone over the background would bore me if it weren't for that gaze of hers. Big tits with sizeable aereolas, just like mine. She seems to be telling me with that face, "go on, be proud of your curvy, healthy frame". Ok I say.
Aaaand here she is. Aereolas and all. 

I'm not going to say he's my favorite artist but I love what Toulouse Lautrec does. In 1897, or something like that, he uses oil on cardboard! That badass Toulousse LauTrec.

 Who says you need to be painting on canvas to be high art? Reduce, Reuse, Recycle indeed. These cardboard works of his always leave some memory of happening with me. The man in a white sport coat stands with his back to me, painted in what seems like a split second, but gracefully done. His lady friend, almost grotesque, leers at someone, maybe me or this flash camera little girl beside me. The leering lady, a little ugly and full of life. I love it. 
Little girl with windup disposable camera taking pictures of paintings. Just for the joy of doing so. These paintings inspire me to do more cardboard art. Such texture, such "fuck it-ness". 
Hm. This is the Chester Dale portion of the gallert...Whoever this Chester Dale guy is, he was loaded. What did he do? How is there someone with so much money? 

ha ha ha ha ha. Stream of Consciousness indeed, eh? If you don't engage in this type of writing I highly encourage you to do so. It really pulls out the creativity and rawness that we all possess. Thanks for reading and I love you all!