Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A productive weekend

After my ranting over my investment company, I've decided that I need a bit of a break. The end of this didactic year is fast approaching and I need to not get worked up about something right now. (Plus, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I just ate something that didn't agree with me and I'm not truly sick.) I always seem to do that right around finals time! The two weeks off after I finish will be time enough to figure out what my company is thinking and what I need to do about it!

This weekend, was some chill time for me. Dan spent all Saturday at his motorcycle safety class that Maine requires prior to getting your permit. So, I spent my day doing a plethora of little things that had been needing to get done. Spring cleaning and the seasonal ritual of swapping out winter clothes for summer was accomplished. Next, I finally got around to making Italian Beef, from our dear friends' blog.

I didn't have and couldn't find the pickling spices at our grocery store, so I just googled for a recipe and came up with as close a concoction that I could find. It was amazingly wonderful and our downstairs neighbors asked us what we were cooking! Despite being a rather large roast, Dan and I scarfed it up by the end of the weekend! Definitely a new favorite! :)

Also, I swapped out my wreath decorations on our door. My mom always had a basic grapevine wreath by the front door that she would have me swap out the flowers with each season.
I also got around to planting our little "garden." I had been nursing these tomatoes upstairs in a windowsill for the past month and a half or so and they had gotten a bit leggy. Thankfully, you're supposed to bury tomatoes up to their first set of true leaves anyway, so the look nice and sturdy. We're supposed to hit 85 today, so they should love the sunshine and warmth! I'll probably have to drag them back inside, though, because we have some chance of frost overnight the next few days! Now to find another larger container for my peppers!
And finally, I had a bit of a three-day weekend, so after Dan got off work on Monday, we headed over the the DMV to get his permit. Here he is, taking his first real drive on his motorcycle! (I was leading for his first drive--I think I got some grey hairs, praying the whole way that no one would hit him or that he wouldn't hit one of Maine's millions of pot holes!) He did just fine and took it for a drive, solo to work! He's going to have a hard time adjusting back to filling up our 10-gallon Neon after using his 2-gallon motorcycle all summer!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Proposal 3--The Latest News

I have done some additional research into my quest for answers surrounding the baffling proposal recommendation from Vanguard's Board of Trustees. For completeness sake, the following are links to the documents of interest. I won't be writing too much on my personal opinion as I need some time to just digest all this information and make some sense out of this. At the moment, I remain incredulous.

Firstly, I found this article on the proposal. Obviously, it has some bias, but through it I found more information from Vanguard's documents.

Next is the proxy statement that Vanguard had on all changes that we get to vote on. I will direct your interest to pages 2, 33-37. The document is 130 some pages long...the rest of the pages all have to do with other things and I've checked to be sure that I've included all those that mention Proposal 3, so you don't get bogged down with the rest of the document.

Finally, is Vanguard's views on Social concerns. Two paragraphs outlining their policy.

Hey, if the whole company gives you the eeby-geebies, you can at least invest in their "socially responsible fund" and leave the other 100 or so "non-socially responsible funds" for the rest of the world.... (please, please, please note the sarcasm there. I make no apologies for my bias, but I leave the rest of my ranting for another day.)

Proposal 3--Please Read!

I get out quite a bit of extra in students loans to cover additional, unforeseen expenses. Rather than have it languish in a checking account, Dan and I decided to leave our "emergency funds" in a money market mutual account and access it when there was a need. Recently, I received an e-mail from the company informing me of voting rights that I had and recent changes that were coming up.

As part of the voting, there was a "board recommendation" for the votes, but you could still vote however you liked. All of it looked fine to me except for the recommendation to vote AGAINST the last proposal....

Proposal 3

Shareholder proposal "that the board institute procedures to prevent holding investments in companies that, in the judgment of the board, substantially contribute to genocide or crimes against humanity, the most egregious violations of human rights."

Now, is it just me, or does this send up IMMEDIATE red flags? Why would there be a recommendation to vote NO against that? If the were board were concerned about money, they could very well make the "procedures" some lame, half-hearted, lazy attempt that would never really do anything but fulfill the word requirements of the proposal but never approximate the heart of the proposal. But no, they didn't even take a lazy cop-out...they just said "Vote No."

I'm quite disturbed by this and disappointed because I had been very satisfied with my investment company up until now. I am anxiously awaiting Vanguard's explanation for their reasoning and would like to hear if they are making any other attempts at moral business practices....

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Debate Continues...Healthcare

I have a Professional Healthcare type class this semester and recently we've been studying healthcare models. A few weeks ago we looked at the way the U.S. "system" works and all the for-profit and non-for-profit nuances. With all the recent changes that will certainly be coming with this new presidency, our professor decided that we should know what else is out there beyond the borders of our own country.

Personally, I am torn and I'm not sure where I stand. Dan is one of the uninsured people in America--finding insurance for him, despite the fact that he is in perfect health, is something that would cost easily half of his income for the year. And that insurance would still have high co-pays. Even my insurance is rather pricey, despite being under a school program. If anything major were to happen to either of us--Dan without insurance, or me with--it would still likely crush us financially as our coverage isn't great and the portion of a staggering bill that would be our responsibility to pay would flip us into bankruptcy. So, we continue to pray and put our trust in Him who is bigger than tragedy, hospital, bill, or bankruptcy. And when more affordable insurance comes with my job, we will be good stewards of what He's given us and be sure to get it.

Anyway, here is the link to a video was watched in class. It's by Frontline and was made just before the elections, so it's pretty recent. The video is broken up into chapters, but the whole thing is probably abot 45 minutes long. It's certainly food for thought and from getting my taste of the American Healtcare "system" there are things that I am certainly jealous of not having here in the U.S. (the focus on prevention and that card that you'll see in the Korea section...you have NO idea how much easier those two things would make my life!) Enjoy and struggle through the pros and cons!This is from my visit to see the Nicaraguan healthcare system on a missions trip. Very fun, but definitely not what we're talking about here!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Dan's New Bike

So, when something doesn't work out, God has something better for you! The red suzuki in my earlier post ended up being very overpriced and the owner wouldn't take our reasonable offer. Dan's work/motorcycle buddy spotted this one on Craigslist and the boys went to go grab it today!

It has low miles, it's SUPERB condition, and was well within our budget while the other was a smidgen of a stretch. Also, this one needs no work and has nothing missing!

Here's Dan and his new bike! Now to activate the insurance, get his permit (some random legal holiday today) and register it Oh, and he does have a helmet--it was the first thing we bought!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Motorcycle??

Well, Dan and I have been looking for a motorcycle, and we think we may have found one! We're waiting for his buddy to be able to go look at it with him because he knows motorcycles and Dan's just getting started.

We're looking at a 1982 Suzuki and here's the link. We looked at it yesterday and it's in really good condition, low miles, and the owner's taken good care of it, so it doesn't need additional work. Looking at KBB, the guy is asking over what it's worth, but the KBB value it within our budget, so we should be able to make a good offer.

Now for looking at insurance for the rest of the day!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Don't you just love it....

Don't you just love it when a desire of your heart is answered even when you haven't been praying for it to be? My clinical year is fast approaching and with that comes two definite 6-week rotations with me back in Ohio with my parents. Dan and I had decided that it would probably be a good move for us financially as I was guaranteed housing and we wouldn't have to pay extra. (My college just isn't close enough to a large enough population to support 46 PA students and all the rotations they need within a drivable distance from Portland. We have to be flexible to pick up and move throughout New England, from CT to the upper parts of Maine, nearly in Canada, for at least some of our rotations.) Of course, all this moving isn't conducive to Dan maintaining a job, so he would be staying in Portland while I might be off at any clinicals outside of a commuting distance--paying for a second apartment!

Well, my parents' is a lovely 14+ hours away from Portland and we'd probably only get to see each other once in a 6 week period, and have to pay for two plane tickets at that--one for Dan and one for me to get out there. There was no way I'd be able to drive myself out there with only a weekend to make it back to Maine, doing all the driving myself and having to fit a rotation exam in there somewhere, too. Dan and I were prepared to handle this and weren't too phased by it since our entire pre-marriage time was spent 4+ hours away from each other. But of course, it isn't what you would prefer.

Last week, however, his parents called and wanted Dan to work on a home they purchased that was in need of some major remodeling. After some planning, Dan and I will be able to drive out to NY/OH, I'll be able to take all my books and notes with me (definitely not an option when I was flying!), we'll save the cost of TWO round-trip plane tickets, we'll be able to see each other more often, we'll be in town for his sister's graduation party, Dan will be able to work for his parents for about a third more than he would at his job now, his parents will still save a lot of money compared to if they had to hire someone else, they'll know that the work is done right because Dan takes such pride in his work, and Dan's boss is completely ok with a 6 week leave of absence and is holding his job for him!

Now if that's not a blessing (especially in this economy), I don't know what is!

(From our last road trip back to see the families)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Fried Rice

Growing up there was one recipe that Dad ALWAYS cooked without fail--Fried Rice. No one ever could make it as good as he could and only he would be on the one to make it. Now that I don't live with my parents, I had him give me his recipe!

Dan's Fried Rice

4 c. minute rice
3 c. water
4 Tbsp. oil*
3 eggs
small onion, finely chopped
2 c. meat--chicken, shrimp, bacon
4 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. smoked hickory
1 tsp garlic powder
1 grated carrot
1/2 lb. frozen peas

* I will omit the oil if I'm using bacon. I usually fry it up in my pan then use it in place of my oil. If I'm using either shrimp or chicken, I have to add some oil to my pan.

1. Heat the oil (or fry the bacon and set it aside, if you're using that) and sautee the onions in the oil, then scramble in the eggs.
2. Add the soy sauce, water, smoked hickory, and garlic powder. Bring to a simmer then add your minute rice, peas, and carrot. Cook until the rice is tender. Enjoy!




Monday, April 13, 2009

Bacon Wrapped Pepperocinos

This is one of Dan's recipes. The first time he made them I was suspicious as to their edible-ness. However, they are wonderful and I'm quite the fan--the guys always decend on these like vultures anytime we take them anywhere!

You'll need...

Pepperocino Peppers (or equivalent if you don't want it particularly spicy)
Cream cheese
Bacon
Skewers or Toothpicks

1. Soak the skewers or toothpicks in water.
2. Slice the side of the peppers open and remove the seeds. Rinsing/cleaning them out under running water is the easiest.
3. Fill the pepper with some cream cheese.
4. Wrap with bacon and skewer.
5. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 45 mins. I'm sure you could also grill them. Basically, just cook the bacon. I was able to set the skewers on the side of my pan so the grease could drip off as they cooked.
6. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

My Cardboard Testimony

Service today was amazing--a packed house (Dan and I both were sitting on the floor in the back with about 20 other people--I'm glad I wore pants!). I was a little surprised at how short the service was when the assistant pastor said, "I'd like to share my cardboard testimony with you." One side said "Ran Away from God" and the reverse said "Captured by His Love."

One by one, about 25 people filed through with their cardboard pieces--drug dealers, addicts, empty church attendees, strip club goers, sufferers of cancer, people in need of transplants, former womanizers, battered women, labeled teens, now sharing of God's love, dependent on Jesus' mercy, filled with zeal for the Lord, going to small groups, cured of cancer, provided with transplants, faithful husbands, women bathed in Jesus' love, on fire for God--lives turned around 180 degrees all by the love of Jesus. Dan and I were both in tears by the end of it. Our pastor reminded us that being saved is wonderful, but that Jesus was all about was restoring and healing. He was in the business of making people whole.

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." ~ John 10:10

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Coolest Wife Award

Well, I tend to try to not toot my own horn, but I gotta say, there are definite moments when I have a streak of actions deserving of the "Coolest Wife Award." The past week has been one of those. :)

Dan has always wanted a motorcycle (as have I, incidently), but sorta decided that they were out of the question last summer. This summer is coming up and one of Dan's co-workers had a bike and a lot of mechanics tools. Sooooo....we talked about it and decided that it was something that we could afford, espeically if Dan was doing the fixing up of his own bike. So, not only am I letting Dan get a bike, me NOT get a bike, but also let him do all his shopping and bike-fixing-up with his buddy. Here's the first piece for his set up! (We also got a great deal on his helmet!) Now for finding the bike....

Friday, April 10, 2009

Almost there...

*sigh* I'm approaching the home-stretch of this clinical year--and it's the most difficult so far! Only 4 more weeks to go!

Hurdles to jump before getting out of the classroom!

  • IGEP History and Physical/Assessment and Plan Write-up
  • Prescription Write-up
  • Critically Appraised Topic Paper
  • Female exam practice
  • Female exam
  • Women's Health Exam
  • Psych Exam
  • Clinical Assessment/Radiology Exam
  • Surgery Exam
  • Pharmacology Exam
  • PACKRAT Exam
  • ACLS certification
  • Suture Lab
  • Surgical Scrub Lab
  • Standardized Patient Lab
  • Sim Patient Lab
  • Code/Airway Class

Monday, April 6, 2009

A Perfect Sunday

Yesterday was one of the first days in literally 6 months that we've been above 50 degrees--and it was beautiful!
Fresh strawberries and pineapple (yay sales!) on the deck, soaking up the sunshine.

A nice long walk on the beach--in April! :)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Finding a place to be planted


"Let God fling you out, and do not go until He does. If you select your own spot, you will prove an empty pod. If God sows you, you will bring forth fruit."
~ My Utmost for His Highest ~

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Barbecue Chicken

Dan and I have recently been treating ourselves to some of the best BBQ chicken ever--with homemade marinade and homemade BBQ sauce. One of the things I love about marinades are that they're very adaptable to what you have in your pantry! For mine, I just make a "base" that provides the bulk of the marinade and add in whatever spices I might have around. Marinade for a day or two in a plastic bag. Then while they're grilling, Dan keeps slathering on the BBQ sauce. We like ours very crispy! :)

Marinade
Base

4 T. soy sauce
1/4 c. olive oil
3 T. vinegar
2 T. mustard
1 T. honey
1-2 T. lime/lemon juice

Spices (1/2-1 tsp. of each)
oregano
basil
pepper
salt
paprika
chili powder
red pepper

Barbecue Sauce
(makes 2 cups)

2 T. butter
1/4 c. onion, finely chopped
1 c. water
1 c. ketchup
1 t. salt
1/4 t. black pepper
2 T. worcheshire saue
2 T. lemon juice
2 T. brown sugar
1 t. mustard

Saute the onion in the butter, add the remaining ingredients and simmer 20 minutes.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Haircuts

I was thinking today about how long it's been since I got a haircut--a "real" one from a hair-stylist. Well, I realized that it's been a whole year for not only myself but also Dan! The last professional cut I got was before the wedding and it's been nearly a year since then. I'm not sure that Dan's ever had a "professional" cut since his mom or sisters did the haircutting in his family.

Thankfully, I also grew up with my mom doing all the haircutting for the men in our family. I remember her spending an hour or two every so often giving the boys a trim. It was a rather fun time, though, because we would all hang around the kitchen, watching her work, always threatening that we'd be the hairdresser the next time. Usually, it was the older of my younger brothers who protested the loudest. Through college, I wrangled my littlest brother into letting me give it a try. It wasn't always perfect, but there were never any disasters and whatever I missed, mom could do some re-shaping, if need be. When Dan and I started dating and planning on getting married, I had to make sure that I had it down on my own since I'd be off in Maine and mom wouldn't be there to fix my mistakes. Well, lucky for Dan, I learned quickly and have been his official hair-cutter. He's been in need of a cut recently, finally saying that he was done with needing the extra warmth for the winter. So, he's gotten his spring haircut.

I've also gotten into the habit of cutting my own hair. Curly hair is a breeze to experiment on because the curls cover up any mistakes. I got tired this past summer of finding a new stylist and I was equally frustrated that it didn't seem to matter who I went to or how much I paid--it always seemed like I ended up with what I had before only shorter! So, I took to giving myself a trim--why bother with paying someone if you can't tell a difference! So far, it's worked out well and I can clean up the stray lock or two if I find it later on. I bought a professional set of scissors for about $30 before I got married, so I could practice. Thinking about all the cuts for two people, once every 2 months for Dan and once every 3 for me, and assuming that a basic cut around here is $15, we've saved $120 in one year and I've learned another skill. :)