Sunday, March 25, 2012

Laramie: Week 9

Less than a month left! I have four weeks left of work and no more weekends in town. It's crazy that it's coming so close to an end, but I am beyond excited to be back in Omaha. The good news:  I'll be back in less than two weeks! Not for long, but I'll take what I can get.

I already told you about the Bunco night with everyone from work-- that was probably the most exciting part of the week. It was fun to spend some time with everyone outside of the work setting and to get to know the "real" them. And of course a variety of hors d'oeuvres always make things fun!

Saturday night I went out with a friend from work and some of her friends. There was a live band playing which was great fun, and there was a theme party there so everyone was dressed quite silly. It kind of took me back to Gamma Phi days!

This morning was another highlight of the week. I discovered a national food cooperative which is probably my new favorite thing. It's called Bountiful Baskets, and it's even available in Omaha! Every two weeks the truck delivers pounds of fresh produce and fresh bread, and it's all at a great price! I got so much produce there is no.way I would have been able to use all the produce myself, so I'm sharing my goods with a girl from work. Even after we split everything I still had more than enough. Now I just have to figure out what I'm going to make with all of this produce!

pears, bananas, pineapple, yellow honeydew melon, 
green onions, asparagus, romaine lettuce...

cauliflower, apples, cherry tomatoes, green beans...

onions, garlic, green chiles, avocados, limes, tomatillos, cilantro...

and seven dozen freshly made corn and flour tortillas.

Wowza. You know you want to check it out and find out if a truck delivers near you. So just because I like you, here's there website Check it out, and start living a more healthy, produce-filled life!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

7-Layer Taco Dip

It's been quite a while since I posted anything besides a run-down of my Laramie adventures. So I thought maybe it was time to spice things up a bit. Here it is: a bonus post this week. 

The Cancer Center staff had planned a Bunco night as a fundraiser for their Relay for Life team. I had no.clue how to play, but they assured me that it was brainless enough that it would be fun and easy to learn. Everyone was to bring an hors d'oeuvre to share. However, my kitchen supplies here are quite limited, and I didn't want to go buy a bunch of supplies. And of course I had to take something that was meat-less.

So after chatting about it at work on Thursday, one of my patient's daughters gave me a fool-proof 7-layer taco dip recipe that she said has gotten rave reviews time and again. Sounded great to me!

Here are the layers, in order from top to bottom:

Black Olives
Shredded Mexican Cheese
Lettuce & Tomatoes
Chunky Salsa
Sour Cream
Refried Beans

It was quick & easy to put together, it kept well in the refrigerator overnight, and it was delicious! I served it with my favorite tortilla chips, and it was a hit!

You could also make this in a low-fat version, using low-fat sour cream, fat-free refried beans, and 2% cheese. I have a feeling it would be just as delicious!

Bunco was very easy to pick up and we all had a great time. We even raised $200 for Relay for Life in one fun and entertaining night!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Laramie: Week 8

Well, another week is in the books.

Nothing too crazy at work this week. Chemo given. Lives saved. NBD, right?
On Thursday the oncologist's wife brought us homemade food. They're from Egypt, so she made some traditional Egyptian dishes. I was really skeptical, but once I tried it... Delicious! It definitely had its own flavor & spice, but it was great! She can make me dinner anytime.

All week, and especially the weekend, the weather here was b-e-a-utiful! It was sunny and 60 degrees with minimal wind. It was certainly the best weather since I've been here. I took a couple runs outside and sat on the deck for a bit. After this weather, one thing is clear:  I'm ready for spring. Too bad we're expecting snow for the next three days.

Saturday, of course, was St. Patrick's Day. After a sunny, fresh-air run, the evening began. It was my first weekend going out-on-the-town here in Laramie. I went out with a couple girls from work and some of their friends. We started at a benefit for one of our patients. They were having corned beef and cabbage, as well as a silent auction. I had neither corned beef nor cabbage--I had a plate full of veggies and some cake. Yum!  From there we hiked it all the way across the street to the first establishment, then onto another. Though I didn't know many people, we had a great time. These cowboys & cowgirls really like to dance, so that was very entertaining. You don't really see avid swing dancing in Omaha.

Sunday I soaked up some March Madness. Creighton played UNC. The Tarheels played a little harder and made more baskets, but the Jays really didn't disappoint. They played well and held their heads high. But I tell you.. the Tarheels fans did disappoint. After a very physical game [and some wimpy tarheel wrists], the UNC fans sent some nasty & inappropriate tweets to the Jays. Ahh, social media. Regardless, it was a proud day to be a Bluejay.

My apologies, I don't have any fun photos from this weekend. I'll have to work on that for next week. 

I hope you've been able to enjoy a little taste of spring!

Oh, and by the way. We now have a wedding DJ. Polish your dancin' shoes now, folks.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Somewhere Out There

Homesick. It has officially hit me. I was sure it wouldn't, but it snuck up on me. I was all good and I wasn't expecting anything, but then all of a sudden... kaBAM. Homesick.

I received a text message from my mom this evening that two planets were in the western sky. Hmm, cool. Except it was still too light in the Wild Wild West to see anything but blue sky and clouds. 

So I gave it thirty minutes. Once the sun had set and the stars were out, I looked westward. And what did I see? What looked like two huge stars. Except they couldn't be stars, because they were too big and bright. But they didn't blink and move like an airplane. Alas-- It was the planets! Venus and Saturn. How COOL!

if you can see the two bright lights toward the top right,
they're the planets!

So I told my mom that I saw the planets and how cool I thought that was. She said she thought it was cool too, but she thought it was extra-cool that we were looking at the same sky.. just like on one of my all-time favorite childhood movies, An American Tale.

I haven't watched that movie for years. I thought maybe you hadn't either, so I thought I'd share a little snipit with you. I hope you enjoy. And keep in mind:  

"even though I know how very far apart we are, 
it helps to think we might be wishing on the same bright star"

Keep wishing on those bright stars, family and friends, because I'm wishing on the same ones.

Miss you & Love you all!

Laramie: Week 7

As another week is quickly coming to a close, I'm realizing that I didn't ever tell you about last weekend. Well, I guess it's because you're not really missing much. 

For the first time in nearly two months, I didn't have plans to go somewhere for the weekend. Although I was nervous that I'd be bored or get homesick in my two day lull, it was actually quite refreshing. I did some laundry and cleaning. I got some groceries and went to the gym. And I spent hours talking with my friend Rachael via phone and internet... creating wedding invitations! 

Rachael is great at designing paper works and keeping me sane when overwhelmed with so many decisions. We looked at many different options and we created the perfect combination of classic and modern, of formal and casual. You'll just have to wait to see it!

It was nice outside, so I spent some time walking running outside and soaking up some sunshine. I even walked around Laramie's cute downtown for a while. And Saturday night, what did I do? I went to a movie. With all my friends. Ok, really I went by myself. And ate the entire bag of popcorn all by myself. How cool am I?

Here's to another week down and another quickly approaching.
Cherish every moment. Say your prayers.
Love to you all.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Laramie: Week 6

Oh yes, it's really been six weeks. 
Time is flying? 
I hear that time flies when you're having fun. 
You must be having fun without me.]

Work continues to be great. This week we actually had some really great news. One of my Lymphoma patients has been declared cancer-free! I gave her the very last dose of chemotherapy she'll [hopefully ever] need, which was really exciting. Once she found out that she was in remission, she came into the infusion room with a huge smile on her face and gave us a huge hug. When faced with life or death, she chose life. And she's living it to the fullest.

And later in the week, we found out that another patient had amazing results from her chemotherapy--I gave her last dose of her chemo too! She had stage-four cancer, and after undergoing several rounds of chemotherapy, all of her mets (the cancer that spread to other places in her body) had gone away, and she'll likely be cured with one surgery. How amazing is that! 

It just makes each day of work worth it. It is tough to watch people be so miserable-- with their nausea, diarrhea (yuck, i know... welcome to my world), mouth sores, and sleepless nights, but the end results like these are the ones we work day in and day out to achieve.

But enough of that. 
What did you do this weekend, Ames?

Ahh, I thought you'd never care ask. This weekend was the annual Missouri Valley Conference men's basketball tournament in St. Louis. It's the conference tournament that Creighton plays in each year, and the one they dominate on the good years. Well, turns out, this was one of those years! 

I flew into St. Louis Friday night at midnight, met the early birds, and slept on the floor -- while using towels (yes, towels) as blankets. Brrr Saturday morning, the rest of the crew arrived--including Mike! I hadn't seen him for six weeks, so it was SO wonderful to get to see him again. And the rest of the crew, too! Kate and I had a fabulous time gossiping, as I have much missed. 

Here's the crew, post-engagement!

Saturday was extra-fun... two of my great friends got engaged! They actually met at the MVC tournament a few years ago, and they've been together ever since. What a perfect way to begin the next step in their lives!

After the champagne and excitement, we all headed to the game. Afterwards we had some greasy New York style pizza and went out on the town. We went to *the usual spot* and saw Creighton's entire class of 2008.. people I hadn't seen in years and people that live states away. It was such a fun reunion; one that I hope I can enjoy for years to come.

The CU student section rushing the court just after the final seconds.

On Sunday was the championship game! It was a very close game that went to overtime, but in the end the Jays pulled through. I had to catch a flight so we didn't get to watch the awards ceremony and the cutting down of the net, but it was great fun nonetheless. It was a great ending to such a great weekend. 

It's been a little rough getting back into the swing of things and the weekend made me even more homesick, but as of this week (Wednesday, to be exact) I am officially halfway done with my time here. I am incredibly excited to get back home. I'm looking forward to date nights with Mike, wine nights with the girls, and trips home to see my family. But in the mean time, I'm going to continue to make the most of my time here.

SO... let's go save some more lives for seven more weeks. 
Let's have some fun and make some memories.