Married to Medicine

Married to Medicine

Monday, June 27, 2011

"SAHM's" and the "housewives" of the 1950's.

With fewer moms staying home these days (22%), and stay-at-home dads still a rarity (though on the rise!), it's easy to envision a 1950's-esque existence when thinking about a SAHM ("stay-at-home mom").  But comparing my experience to my grandmother's, there are major differences.  Here are a few biggies:


The Biggest:  Staying home is a choice.


If you're at home with your kids in this day and age, it's most likely (barring a salary less than your child care costs) because you want to be there.  In fact, you're probably making a major financial sacrifice to make it happen.  Gone are the days of the above cartoon, when staying home with children was seen as the ultimate aspiration for women everywhere and girls were raised with the expectation that they would stay home.  Medical and law school classes in the United States today are actually majority female!  These days, work/home solutions are tailored to the unique personalities, preferences, logistical situations, and priorities of each individual family.  If we took anything from the 1950's, perhaps it was the realization that "if Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy."

My grandmother (L) always regretted not having been able to go to college.

I sometimes regret my $100,000+ law school debt.





























The internet keeps you connected to other adults.
SAHP's (P for "parents," since dads do it too) aren't likely to suffer the same feelings of "isolation" and "lack of mental stimulation" housewives of earlier generations reported.  Those poor souls were stuck with snail-mail and very expensive long-distance calling... nightmare!  Today, email and Facebook make it easy to stay in near-constant touch with pretty much everybody you've ever met.  Including your "working" friends...  Plus, virtually any publication is at your fingertips. 













Cleaning takes less time, thanks to technological advances.
I'm not just talking dishwashers and washing machines.  Floor steamers (like our ah-mazing Shark Steam Mop) mean that even tile and hardwoods can be "mopped" in a matter of minutes.  No buckets, no wringing, no soap.  Plus, no-iron clothing saves us, what, hours every week?!  

On the other hand, we all own more "stuff" now.  Perhaps "de-cluttering" is the modern house-spouse's greatest challenge.

Online Shopping Means No More Errands!
Well, not completely but I really think you can cut down on at least 75% of your errands by online shopping.  My Amazon Prime subscription means I almost never go to Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, the hardware store, or just about anywhere else for an errand.  And it more than pays for itself when you consider all the gas saved and all the products I don't stumble upon in stores.  I even do almost all of my baby and kids clothes shopping online now - so much better than shopping with a baby and toddler in tow.  Ebay, Gymboree, and Zulily are my absolute faves.

The internet has revolutionized cooking.
Can you even imagine being limited to whatever cookbooks you actually owned?  Beyond boring!  Now, if you want to make chicken soup, you can hop on the internet and find fifteen different recipes, read reviews of them, and pick the one that sounds best to you.  I know I'm not the only SAHP out there who is addicted to trying new recipes.  It's not as fun when you already know the result, even if it's a good one.

You need to make and effort to find peers for your children, at least until preschool.
With fewer parents at home, neighborhoods and even parks now seem empty during the day.  "Running around with the neighborhood kids" used to be status quo, but it's a rarity today to be able to open your back door and have built-in near-constant playmates for your children.  

This has lead some to question whether staying home leads to struggles with socialization, for young children who are not in day cares with the rest of their peers.  Internet to the rescue again.  With local parenting list serves it's easy to learn of many fun activities in which to involve your young children.  Baby M and I have been doing a "sign & sing" (where babies learn songs and sign language... or at least drool and babble while watching it).  And I have a swimming class all picked out for him once he stops taking his crazy-long morning nap.  We also have a "Groupon" for a month of Gymboree.  Early-start preschool (preschool at 3) is also on the rise, whether or not there's a SAHP.  And many gyms provide childcare, so parents get a break while their child plays in a (somewhat) structured setting with other children.

Hardly anyone lives near "the grandparents.
If there's one thing my other mommy friends are sorely missing (whether they work or not), it's having their own parents around to help out.  What do you do with your kid(s) if you have a doctor's appointment/hair cut/dentist appointment?  Teen babysitters are in school all day.  Unless you have another SAHP friend who can watch your kiddos, you're in a bit of a pickle.  Every time I go back home I'm reminded of how much easier life would be if we lived near family.  Sigh.

Worries, Worries, Worries.
Did I wash the veggies enough or did I just give my entire family cancer?
Should I buy organic, or send my children to college?
Will my daughter start puberty at age 4 if I buy the wrong shampoo?
How will my son be successful in school when boys are falling further and further behind?
What's more dangerous, the sun or the sunscreen?
Do the people staring at me think I'm a "mean mommy" or too lenient?
Am I neglectful for not having had my car seat installed at the police station?
What about not having a bilingual nanny, and not being able to afford bilingual preschool?
Should I "red shirt" and start my son later in kindergarten?
HOW WILL I EVER PAY FOR COLLEGE? 

I sense my own grandparents didn't worry nearly as much as I and my peers seem to.  Maybe raising children in the shadow of a major world war gave a better perspective.  Or perhaps things really were just simpler back then.

Personally I LOVE staying home in this day and age... and I even love it as the wife of a medical resident.  It would be fabulous if my husband's job were less demanding and we lived near family... but this is by far the best, most enjoyable, and most rewarding job I've ever had. *For me*.

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Married to Medicine is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Try #2: Please Make This Easy, TDF Rhubarb-Berry Pie!!

It has come to my attention that NOBODY has tried this recipe yet.  

To remedy the tragedy, I'm going to post it again - this time with better pics, and instructions that will clear up any confusion over whether this pie is a miraculous paradox of SO easy and SO good.

SO easy and SO good.
People:  This is ALL you need to make the pie crust.  Oil, flour, water, salt, and sugar.  Who doesn't already have these things?  And please believe me when I say:  Though crazy-easy, this pie crust is amazing.  AND heart healthy, using oil instead of butter.

To make enough for both a bottom and a top pie crust, you'll need 3 cups of flour, 1 cup of oil, 9 tbsp ice water, 2 tsp sugar and 1 tsp salt.  That's it.  So easy.
This is ALL you need for awesome pie crust.
First, place the dry ingredients in your blender.  Stir with a fork or whisk for good measure, or be lazy and don't bother.  

Then, add the ice water to the oil.  Stir with a fork until you prove that oil and water do mix (it gets foggy looking - maybe 30 seconds).

Oil and Water
Oil and Water Mixed (using a fork)


Add oil/water Mixture to dry ingredients.
Blend or stir - you get this.
Then, divide the dough in two.  Stick half of it in the refrigerator for later.  Take the other half, and roll it out a little bit.  Doesn't have to be perfect or even that big - this amazing dough is very forgiving and you can pretty much just plop it in the pie dish and press with your fingers until you get it where you want it.  
Dough rolled out - easy.  No need for extra flour or special countertop.
Dough pressed into pie dish.  Just keep pressing with your fingers until it gets where you want it to be.

Ah, now the filling.  Again, SO easy!  Would you believe it's just rhubarb, raspberries, blackberries, flour, and sugar?

2 cups of rhubarb, chopped.  1 cup of raspberries, 1 cup blackberries.  Mmm.
Coat the berries with a mixture of 3/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup flour.  Let it sit an hour or two (or overnight if you want) to draw out the juices.   The juices will pool in the bottom of the bowl when it's done.

Oh, one more thing.  Add 1 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice and 1 tbsp melted butter to the berries and gently stir, just before you pour the mixture into your pie crust.  Include all the juices when you pour it into the pie.  It'll look like this:

Yum!  What better way to taste summer?

Now.  Get the other half of the pie crust out of the refrigerator.

Roll it out into a circle, roughly the size of the top of the pie.  Note:  It doesn't have to be perfect.

I rolled it on wax paper, not sure that was necessary but either way, cleanup was easier.

Next, cut the circle into strips.  These will be your lattice top.

So easy.

To make the lattice top, start with the longest strips and make a cross over the middle of the pie.  The center of the cross should be the very center of the pie (even though the pic below doesn't show it).

Then add additional strips, working from the center out.  It's easy - just eye it to see which strips the new strip will need to go under versus over, and lift up the already-placed strips that the new strip needs to go under, then place the new strip down, and fold the old strips back over.  Like so:


Make the cross with the longest strips.
Lift a strip up for the next strip to go under it.

Place the next longest down on the pie, then fold the lifted strip back over to its original place.

Keep doing this until all the strips are used, working from the inside of the pie out, longest strips to shortest - shortest strips will go on the edges.

The finished product will look like this.  Notice:  It's not perfect.  But it's still pretty darn cute.

Last step - brush the top with cream and then sprinkle with sugar - be generous!  This pic shows just half the pie completed.
Bake at 390 for 10 minutes, at 340 for 10 minutes, and then at 325 for the final 30 minutes.  This will produce a fairly moist crust.  If you prefer crunchier, do not reduce the temp past 340.
Guess what.  This was the next day.  It's great even as leftovers.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Worst pickup line. Ever.


Wow.  I would have thought having a 9 month old baby strapped to my chest and a rock on my finger would be enough to ward off all creeps, all the time.  Sadly... NOT TRUE!  Maybe twins would have done the trick.

In an earlier post I mentioned that practicing law (specifically, litigation) causes one to become generally suspicious of others.  "That's a lie," you think automatically, as soon as something sounds implausible and works to the benefit of the sayer (like people using the hit list... for "family emergencies" spanning extended periods of time ... right around Memorial Day weekend...).  But as I wrote that post I also had in the back of my mind the countless passes made at me (and other female associates) at one of the law firms I worked for.  Talk about a lesson against naivete.  Having attended the dry campus of St. Olaf College - where I only one time had alcohol on campus and it was with girlfriends over fine cheese and bread - and then following that with marriage to a super-wholesome guy (who insists on remaining nameless in this blog) and three years of burying myself in legal books, I was not prepared for the "frat boy" environment I was thrown into a week after I sat for the bar exam.

Two months into my first year we had a "retreat" - it amounted to two full nights of binge drinking.  By the way, this was the top practice group of a very reputable, larger firm.  When a newly minted junior partner threw his keys at me and announced that I was driving him home, I thought he meant because I was the only sober person left and the brilliant organizer had stuck me in a house with him and another male associate.  Ten minutes later his hand was on my leg and he was sweetly whispering the obvious:  "You're not wearing your seatbelt" (I always do... but our cabin was like a block away).  When I nervously put my seatbelt on - which necessarily moved his hand away - he sat back, annoyed, and said "Fine.  If that's how you want to play it."  Welcome to the legal world, where nobody is under the illusion that million-dollar sexual harassment lawsuits are common or successful.

Anyway, you'd think I'd have learned:  The wholesome Olaf boys with their sweet natures and churchy Minnesotan niceness are not, in fact, the norm.  But no, sadly, I needed another reminder:  Many men are creeps.

So the pickup line even worse than "You're not wearing your seat belt is" is this:

"Well [referring to the baby] ... he didn't get your beautiful eyes."

I'm sorry... excuse me?  Are you blind as a bat??  My baby's eyes are the most beautiful I have EVER looked into and implying otherwise is downright offensive.

The Most Beautiful Eyes in the World.  Obviously!
To make matters worse, I was stuck sitting next to this guy for THREE HOURS.  On a PLANE.  There was NO ESCAPE.  Yup, my husband is on a bad, bad rotation (leaving for work at 6 pm, getting home at 9 am) and seeing as how it immediately follows three weeks with just one day off (thank you, excessive hit list users) I found myself looking at ticket prices to Madison to get away with the baby... for the rest of this rotation... as soon as possible, please... and found one leaving the very next day.  While I frantically cleaned and packed, I dreaded the flight with my now-mobile 9 month old.  But Matthew was an angel... it was the creep next to me who made the flight incredibly painful.

He was about 40 years old, and used Matthew as a way to open conversation with me (before implying his eyes weren't beautiful...).  He showed me pictures of his twin 11 year old daughters and seemed polite, married, and a doting dad.  A self-described "conservative" from Michigan.  He started talking about the business he owned and his employee and his employee's wife sitting in front of us, who also liked the baby.  But that's when the creepiness started.  The comment about my eyes.  Talking nonstop, which was *literally* painful and my neck is still hurting two days later from having to have it turned to the side while he spoke on (and on and on and on).  I started noticing he was dropping a little too much information about how successful his company is and his wealthy lifestyle.  Ugh.  Then he asked me how old I was... ugh.  One problem flying with a baby (just one out of at least twenty):  You can't pull a book out and read it, or put in your ipod earbuds.  Nope.  If you've got a baby on your lap, you have no way of isolating yourself from others without looking like a bad, inattentive parent - unless the baby naps, which M did not.

Towards the end he whispered something in my ear.  Shocked, and unable to believe he said what I thought he did, I looked at him confused and said "What?"  He whispered it again - ewwww.  It was  "You're very beautiful."  "Uh, thanks," I said awkwardly.  Then, to my horror, he put his business card on the chair arm between us.  After a few agonizing seconds wondering whether it would be rude not to take it, M saved me by picking up the card and eating it.  Apparently, he wasn't much impressed with Creepo.

Yuck.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Awesome Egg Salad

For those of you who love egg salad, I've tried several recipes and I've finally found one I consider the best.  This recipe is perfect as is OR you can add just about anything you want to alter it even more to your liking.  And if you've been following me and you bought your egg cooker - the best $15-20 you will EVER spend - here's just one more fabulous way to use the perfect, always-easy-to-peel eggs it's giving you at the push of a button.

I like chunkier eggs and runnier dressing, so that the bread gets nice and moist.
But if you want it thicker, just add more eggs.

For anyone NOT worried about their cholesterol, egg salad can be a really great thing.  An egg salad sandwich is high-protein and cheap, and a single batch of this recipe will last you 4 lunches.  In moderation, it's not *that* bad for you, either.  A single egg has only 80 calories, so serve it on open-face whole wheat (here, FiberOne 100% Whole Wheat bread - REALLY tasty) and your only guilt will be the mayo.

I adapted this recipe from an Allrecipes recipe, Jen's Heavenly Egg Salad.  Egg salad is a great recipe for novice cooks who want to experiment with different herbs and flavors:  It's hard to screw up, and many different additions can give it a tasty twist.  I keep meaning to try paprika, but I'm so in love with it as-is that I never do.

Egg Salad:

6 hard-boiled large eggs*
1/4 cup mayo
Juice of 1/4 a lemon
1 tsp white sugar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp ordinary yellow mustard
Salt and pepper to tate

Optional:
Dried minced onion, to taste
Dill weed, to taste
Celery seed, to taste
Paprika, to taste
Vinegar, to taste (start small)
Celery or bread-and-butter pickles for crunch
Marinated Cucumbers (recipe below)

Directions:  Combine lemon juice, mayo, sugar, both mustards, and onion.  Chop eggs into large chunks (about 6-8 per egg).  Stir eggs into mixture.  Sprinkle generously with dill weed and celery seed.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Stir in whatever your "crunch" will be - the amount of crunch is your preference but keep in mind that if you use a ton of celery, you may need to increase the salt and other flavors since celery is bland.  If you had a particularly juicy lemon, and your egg salad tastes too lemony, add another spoonful of mayo and some of the other spices to compensate.   
I find it easiest to eat this open-face with a knife and fork, but it also works as a traditional sandwich.

*You have GOT to get an egg cooker, it's SO easy to make hard boiled eggs and they peel perfectly every time.  Best money I've ever spent - and they are CHEAP too.

** To make marinated cucumbers, simply chop up a cucumber (seedless works well, regular is also fine) and marinate for at least an hour in a mixture of about 1/3 cup canola (or vegetable) oil, 2/3 cup seasoned rice vinegar (with vinegars near salad dressings), 1/3 cup water, 1 tbsp sugar, generous salt and pepper to taste.  These also go well with chicken satays and in the summer, add chopped tomato for a cucumber-tomato salad.  In that case, add the dill weed and celery seed to the marinade.
Marinating Cucumbers

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Married to Medicine is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.