Saturday, August 10, 2013

Moving on...and moving in!

Wow. It's been nearly two years since I've posted here. A lot has changed in that time! I graduated with a degree in Engineering Chemistry back in June 2012. Moved home and reveled in not paying rent. My rent was being a good house-daughter by running errands, cooking, and doing laundry.

Then I was like, "Oh right, let's do something with my life." So I started volunteering at the hospital, since no paying jobs were to be found. I called ladies due for their mammograms and learned a lot of patience. I also spoke to patients about their overall experience at the doctor's office in order to kick off a study. And then serendipity struck!

A lady from my church who is a dear family friend ended up volunteering with me at our free food pantry for the local community. We started chatting and she offered me a job! I ended up spending the next seven months with the pain management practice she worked at. My job was ostensibly to initiate their new electronic medical record system. I was the main interface with the company representative and assisted the staff and doctors with the transition. But I sort of turned into a Jill-of-all-trades. Computer not working? I've got this. Schedule patients for office appointments or surgical procedures? I'm a pro. Website maintenance? Check. Pretty much everything one could do without any licensure (ie MD or RN) I ended up doing.

While being paid rocked, I still wanted to go for the ultimate goal of having "Doctor" be my title. So I applied unsuccessfully for med school. Got wait-listed, which sucks. But since I still wanted to be in school for the 2013-14 school year, I applied to a bunch of post-baccalaureate and masters programs. To my joy, I was accepted to UMDNJ (now merged with Rutgers) in Newark, NJ and am now a candidate for a Masters of Biomedical Sciences. Hopefully I can bang this out in one year and be on my way to med school next August!

Which brings me to the meat and potatoes of this post. Now that the catch up is done, I can rant about the moving process. I finally finished moving in, with the addition of a chest of drawers with all my clothes and my crochet hobby (that's a whole blogpost in and of itself waiting to happen) delivered by my family. In my joy, I posted this fact to Facebook and my dear former housemate Katerina ( suggested that I blog about this experience! You should go visit her at her Tumblr.

I was lucky enough to score a room in a townhome just around the corner from campus. I made the journey to visit it back in June and was excited by the relatively cheap rent for the proximity to campus. Plus it was $500 less than living in the dorms. Signed the lease and bought the furniture in my room from the previous tenant and then headed home to work and relax until the last minute.

Fast forward to August 1st. I ended up putting the internet/TV/cable in my name and had to come and meet the technician. I get inside and meet one of the girls leaving the house and see that there is some plaster on the floor. From the ceiling. Looking up, I saw a huge patch job that had begun to crack. Apparently that started 5 minutes to me entering the house. No big deal, the girl was contacting the landlord to get that and a leak in the kitchen fixed.

Now we're at this past Wednesday, August 7th. I decided to solo move most of my stuff, made possible by the fact that I didn't have to move much furniture, just the aforementioned dresser delivered today. I pull into the driveway and start hauling boxes up the stairs. So. Many. Stairs. I began to seriously regret renting a room in the top floor of a three story building. I just thanked my lucky stars that I didn't have to move the bed in. When it came time to haul up the printer, the FINAL item, I actually draped myself across the box in my car and took a small break. The way I was huffing and puffing you would think I had just run a marathon. Definitely don't need to worry about fitting a cardio routine into my life. Once all was moved in, I finally noticed that what had been a small crack less than a week prior had not only not been fixed, but had become exponentially worse. The entire former patch job had fallen out and water was dripping into a large salad bowl. And the kitchen was also leaking from the ceiling. I foresee major repair work in our future and I'm super glad that I don't have to foot the bill.


I headed home to drop of the car and spend one last night in my bed at home. The next day I  took the train into Newark and began to settle in. Had a meeting for a class and met one of my new housemates. We got along swimmingly. My first night in the house was uneventful except that I discovered that the blinds in my room did diddly-squat when it came to blocking light. I have two windows, one small and one ENORMOUS window. It's great during the day since natural light is awesome. Less so at night when I need near-complete darkness in order to get to sleep. The streetlight from outside came in so ferociously that I could see perfectly well without any lights on in my room. And I have absolutely awful night vision. By completely exhausting myself and pulling the covers over my head I managed to get to sleep. Then the next morning I woke up. Not by the courtesy of my alarm, oh no. That was set for 6:45AM so that I could leave the house at 7:45 for orientation. I woke up at 6AM due to the sun assaulting my eyes through my woefully inadequate blinds. This is probably literally the earliest I've woken up without an alarm. And 45 minutes may not seem like a big deal, but I take my sleep very seriously. I ended up feeling exhausted at about 2pm even with tea to prop me up. I definitely needed better window coverings to stave off the sun for as long as possible.

Me. At 6AM. Not a happy camper.
Needless to say, when my family arrived today and wanted to know if I needed anything, the answer was CURTAINS. We headed out to the outlying area and snagged some decently priced curtains. I'm only planning on living here for a year. I don't' need the best, they just need to protect my delicate eyes. I've put them up and now it's a bastion of darkness in my room when I need it to be. So now I can say that I am officially completely moved in. And can finally get a good night's sleep. So I bid you, dear reader, adieu until I next have something to say. The misadventures of grad school shall now commence!

Good night world.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Now to create some controversy...and possibly delicious baking

A friend of mine requested the recipe that I use for scones. I make a much more buttery version than the type one usually finds in North American coffee shops. Having never had authentic British scones, I cannot speak for authenticity. All I know is that I like them better, and more butter never hurts when baking.

Also, my favorite accompaniment for these scones is clotted/devon cream. It's ridiculously hard to find in the US/Canada. I've only found it at specialty British shops and Whole Foods. But buy it, it's definitely worth it. If you don't have clotted cream, then butter (yes, more butter) goes quite well with scones. For additional deliciousness, toss on some jam for good measure. I particularly like marmalade, peach preserves, or strawberry jam.

A final note - there is some controversy about the proper pronunciation of scones. The way I say it is with a short o, sc-aw-ns. Others say it with a long o, sc-oh-ns. But Monty Python is on my side! Go to 00:53 and you'll hear Michael Palin say it my way!

Aaaaand without further ado, the recipe.

Scones (adapted from the Robin Hood Cookbook) 
2 cups flour (at least, you'll need more)
1/4 cup sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/3 cup butter/shortening at room temp (this is 5 and a bit tablespoons of butter for those using sticks)
1/4 cup currants (you can sub in raisins if you want)
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs

PREHEAT YOUR OVEN TO 425F. I always forget to do this, so I'm making this the first step. Actual prep time is really short, and if you forget you need to wait forever for your oven to get hot enough.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.

Cut in the butter. The recipe I have recommends a pastry blender, but I just use my hands. Just work the butter in until there are no large chunks of butter and the mixture resembles a coarse meal.

Mix in the currants. Again, I just use my hands.

Make a well in the center. Add milk, 1 whole egg, and 1 egg yolk (reserve the white for the glaze). Stir with a fork and add more flour until a moist dough is formed. I suspect the original recipe used smaller eggs and thus less flour was needed to form the dough.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead roughly 20 times, working in more flour as you go.

Roll the dough out to approximately 1/2" thick. If you want a few wedge-shaped scones, make a large circle. For smaller, rectangular/square scones, try to make the dough uniformly flat while making it somewhat rectangular.

Now get the egg white you saved and beat in a spoonful of sugar. It will look a bit foamy. This is good. Get a pastry brush and brush it all over your dough. This gives your scone a nice glaze while it bakes.

Cut into either wedges or squares and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes. They'll be slightly browned on top.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

It's that time of year again!

Back to school after a nice long break.

But what did I do with my time? Judging from my previous posts, a lot of gaming. Which is very true... I played tons of Left 4 Dead, Left 4 Dead 2, Assassin's Creed, and Portal 2. My most recent acquisition is Bioshock, and I am permanently petrified while playing. Everything is trying to kill me. And they're all creepy-scary.

Bioshock, while terrifying, is really fun! And it has a very interesting storyline and backstory. My sister purchased Bioshock: Rapture, which is a prequel to Bioshock and expands on the origins of Rapture. It's very well written and I highly recommend it. You get to see Rapture in its heyday and witness its slow descent into madness. You get to know the people that you only hear from through audio diaries in the game.

BUT I WAS USEFUL TOO! I took a bio course, did an unpaid internship, and took the MCAT.

That's right folks, the Chanster will soon* be Dr. Chanster! I spent most of my time at my internship studying like mad for the MCAT. It truly is a thinking test rather than a knowledge test.

On a final note to everyone as they are getting back into the swing of things, BE SAFE! And enjoy this Songs to Wear Pants To video.

*If by soon you mean in many years after I slog through med school. First I need to get that pesky application done.