Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Bittersweet Success

Earlier today, I had my final play therapy session with a child I've been working with for about eight months. She came in as a stubborn, obstinate child who refused to do anything for anyone, and threw screaming fits all the time. Today, she left as a smiling, happy normal young child who is no longer a behavior problem at school.

I'm experiencing such mixed feelings right now. I'm feeling happiness that she improved so much. I'm also feeling relief about that! I feel sad that I'm no longer going to see her once a week. I feel nervous - what if the change doesn't stick? But overall, I feel mostly hopeful because I think she is really going to do so much better out in the real world now that she has a handle on her emotions.'s still difficult to end though...I guess this is why psychologists have one of the highest burnout rates! We get too involved with our clients!

Monday, January 26, 2009

More Recipes

Dan and I decided to join a CSA that just started up in Waco, called Waco City Farm. We get tons of produce that was grown locally and organically every single week! We are even splitting our subscription (is that the right word?) with a friend because the amount of veggies we get is way more than we could eat in a week. (That has the added bonus of bringing the cost down to under $10 a week, which is ridiculously cheap for what we get.)

If you've never heard of CSAs, I recommend you check them out. There's usually at least a few in every city, and there are so many benefits - organic food (usually), supporting your community, eating in-season, reducing your carbon foot print, etc etc etc...not to mention it usually tastes delicious!

We got our first basket last week and it included mostly greens, since it's January and all. We got kale, swiss chard, bok choi, mustard greens, spinach, and well as a few more things that I can't think of right now.

All these new things forced me to frantically search through my cookbooks and online recipe sources to try and find meals that incorporated them. I was looking for things that would use mostly ingredients I already had, were somewhat easy to make, and hopefully both Dan and I would like. So far, I've found a couple, which I'll share below, but I'm still trying to figure out what to do with the mustard greens and turnips. Any suggestions?

Sweet Pepper Pasta Toss with Kale
This was our dinner one night, and then Dan's lunch and snack the next day. We both loved it, although I made a few changes. The dish is vegetarian as written, but I added in a pound of sweet Italian sausage to make it more meatatarian. I also drizzled quite a bit of olive oil over it at the end to give it some more flavor. Oh and finally, I used green peppers due to the fact that they were ONE FOURTH the price of red and orange peppers.

Tuna Salad with Swiss Chard
Obviously, Dan got nowhere near this one, but I liked it enough that I wanted to include it on here. I've been eating this for lunch the last few days and honestly I've been looking forward to lunchtime every morning because of it. As long as you like tuna, make this!

I also have two more recipes that in no way relate to my CSA, but are still yummy:

Indian Tandoori Chicken
Spicy. Healthy. Unique. And goes oh so well with my favorite Naan bread. We made this last week when we had friends over for dinner, and I kid you not that when I saw them recently, Faith said "I'm still dreaming about that Indian food you made last week!"

Classic Spanish Sangria
I'm posting this recipe because it was a special request from my friend Kelly. I usually make this in the summer, but after Kelly reminded me of it, I decided I want to make it soon. Maybe when I drink it, I'll remember our warm days in Spain, sitting outside in the plaza for hours, just watching everyone go by... This recipe is about the closest I could find to the sangria we drank in Salamanca. When I make it, I pretty much follow this except I also add club soda right before I serve it - maybe a cup or so. Some people use Sprite or 7Up, which would also work. I also add a lot more fruit - it's my favorite part! Oh and you might want to cut down on the rum a bit - traditional Spaniards like it rather potent.

Seriously, let me know if you have any other ideas for my CSA food! We have a new batch coming this Thursday so I need to get going!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Congratulations Mr. President! (and free Starbucks)

What a day...what a day!

I watched a lot of the coverage today...while working out, in between classes, before dinner, etc. I have no words to describe how amazing it was to be able to witness that, and I can't imagine what it was like to be there in person. I'm so proud of America today!

If you missed it, check out the new White House website and a video of President Obama's speech here (Thanks to my friend Matt for putting up the links!)

Let's be honest, it can be a little scary to be optimistic. We don't want to be disappointed or look silly if things don't go the way we expect. But are those really the worst things that could happen? No...the worst thing that could happen is the president has some great ideas and works to implement them, but we are all full of skepticism and cynicism, so we don't do our part. I think we should all begin this new presidential term with a good dose of healthy optimism and a commitment to work toward positive change for our world.

So are you in? If so, make your way to Starbucks! Starbucks is offering a FREE tall cup of coffee tomorrow through January 25th for anyone who pledges to volunteer five hours of their time to help their community. Talk about a win-win situation.

Congratulations, Mr. President. :)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

What I Found Out Today

State employees in Texas get the day off for Confederate Heroes Day as well as Texas Independence Day.

I mean seriously....I don't know whether to laugh, be offended, or just apply for a state job!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Spring Classes

I started my new semester of classes yesterday. This semester I'm taking two classes (as always), which are Clinical Psychopathology and Experimental Design.

Clinical Psychopathology: In this class, we basically go through the DMS-IV-TR, and learn about every possible mental illness or disorder that exists. Although I already know quite a bit about these from everything I've done so far, this course gets down to the details and requires a lot of memorization of symptoms, etc. Theoretically, this class will qualify me to diagnose or classify any psychological problem...which is kind of cool. :) The class is small, just us second years, and with a professor we've had before, so I don't think there will be many surprises.

Experimental Design: This is pretty much "Statistics 2." It's taught by the same professor I had last semester, and continues on with how to design research studies. This class is a little exciting because the third year students will be in it with us as well, and they weren't last semester. Other than that, I think this will be very similar to last semester.

I'm still continuing my practicum work, and I'm not working as a TA this semester so I'll get a little more free time on Tuesdays and Thursdays. But to be honest, this semester seems like the "same old, same old." Am I hitting the sophomore slump? I guess we'll find out as the semester continues.

Dan just started a new semester yesterday as well, but apparently when you're a high school teacher, things don't change as much. His only change is that he has two new students.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Month Old Mold


I have not been able to stop laughing for the last few hours. This is why you guys subscribe to this blog. Because only we could have stories like this.

I was about to go shopping (Bed Bath and Beyond, CVS, and Kohls) today when Dan asked me to help with the laundry. I agreed and we carried the stuff from our apartment to the main building of our complex, where the washing machines and dryers are.

We got in there and began sorting the laundry. After a few minutes, I noticed Dan had stopped putting clothes in and was just staring at another washer.

"Um, Kristi...This might sound weird...but are these our clothes?"

I had no idea what he was talking about until I followed his gaze into an open washing machine full of crusty, dry, moldy clothes.


Somehow we (and by we I mean Dan, but I'm not one to point fingers) had left an entire machine full of clothes by accident! And the thing is, we haven't done laundry since before Christmas break!!! These clothes had been sitting in the washer for over three weeks.

I did not stop laughing for...well, I'm still laughing. The good news is a lot of the clothes actually came out okay when we re-washed the load. We had very few clothing casualties.

I just seriously can't believe this. How in the world could this have happened? How did we not notice? How did they not get stolen? And I mean...THREE WEEKS!! How ridiculous does this get?


Friday, January 9, 2009

Guess how I made over $100 this week?

Even better, guess how I made over $100 this week with things we had lying around the house?

The answer - Amazon Marketplace!

I have used Amazon Marketplace to sell textbooks at the end of a semester before, and I've been able to make a decent amount from it. However, now that I'm in grad school, I should maybe keep some of the books I'm buying. I was so tempted to sell some when we got home from Christmas break, but I managed to keep myself in check and instead looked to see what else we had that might sell.

I looked at our movies, CDs, and books. All you have to do is go to, type in the title, and then look at the prices it's selling for under the "New and Used" heading. Most CDs and older books were selling for a dollar or so each, which is a great deal for buyers, but not so much worth it for me. (Although I'm sure it could add up and it would be a great way to get rid of your clutter and give it to people who really want it!)

DVDs were almost all at least $5, though, and I had a few books that were worth around $10.'s the kicker... we had a DVD of "To Sir, With Love" that was worth over $60! Who knew that they discontinued it? I got it for Dan a couple years ago for his birthday, but we'd only watched it once or twice and so it was collecting dust on our shelf. Can you believe people are paying $60-$150 for a DVD I paid $10 for? You better believe we put it up for sale.

The cool thing is that it is SO EASY to sell your stuff. As long as you have an Amazon account, you just have to go to the item you want to sell, click on the button that says "Sell yours here," and basically name your price. Then they will list it for you. I pretty much routinely put in a price that is just a little bit below the lowest price currently listed, with the hopes that a buyer would choose mine first.

Then Amazon emails you when it's sold, and you just have to go to the post office and ship it. They deposit the money into your bank account, minus a commission and plus a shipping credit (which basically end up cancelling each other out). I put 5 DVDs and 3 books up for sale on Sunday, and this morning sold the last book - with a total earnings of $112. Of course it really helped that we had that one DVD worth so much, but still, all the $5 and $10 sales add up really quickly.

There is a lot of debate about whether Amazon Marketplace or Ebay is better. If you google that, you can see the arguments on both sides. In my opinion, Amazon Marketplace is a lot easier and takes all of the messiness out of selling online. However, if I had items besides books and DVDs, I'd probably list them on Ebay. I've done both and really, I think they both serve their purpose and you won't be unhappy either way.

We're going to put the money toward our trip to Fredericksburg. By the way, this is the B&B we're staying at if you're interested. :)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Umm...What are you doing in grad school, exactly?

I get some variation of this question a lot - what am I doing? What am I trying to be? What's a Psy.D.? They're all great questions and I thought I'd take time to answer them on here to give you all a picture of what kind of program I'm in.

First of all, I'm in a 5-year doctoral program in Clinical Psychology. I will spend four years taking classes and working at practicum (training) sites, and then one year at an internship (residency) site. When I graduate, I'll have earned a Psy.D. - a doctorate of psychology degree. And when I take my licensure exams after that, I'll be a licensed psychologist.

A Psy.D. was created in 1973 when all the psychologists got together and decided that the Ph.D. was too broad to really determine if psychologists should practice as clinicians. After all, some Ph.D. in Psychology programs are focused only on research, and the grad students never learn about or practice clinical work. Yet these people were still practicing as clinicians. Therefore, they created two separate doctoral tracks for aspiring psychologists. Those who were more interested in academia and producing research are supposed to take the Ph.D. route, and those who are more interested in clinical work and utilizing the research are supposed to take the Psy.D. route. However, both end up with the same licensure so in the end, there's not too much of a difference.

Psychologists can do all sorts of things once they graduate. A private or group practice, which is what most people think of when they are thinking of psychologists, only scratches the surface. Psychologists definitely work in practices, and usually do therapy and/or assessments in these. An assessment by a licensed psychologist can give you a wide range of information: anything from your IQ score/ learning disabilities/ whether you have ADHD; to whether you are clinically depressed/ anxious etc; and even whether you have schizophrenia or something like that! Basically, if it involves your brain, we can test for it.

Fun fact: Psychologists were the first people to be able to diagnose brain damage and determine its location with this test battery. They could do this before the MRI even existed! However, brain scans such as the MRI are much quicker and easier, especially for the doctor, and therefore this fell out of favor when those came into fashion. But I still use some of these tests when I'm trying to understand something with my clients.

Anyway, there are lots of other things clinical psychologists do. Many work in forensic settings, so with people in prison or on probation. Psychologists also do a lot in court cases, such as determing whether people are fit for court and giving advice on custody battles. Treatment centers, particularly for alcohol and drug abuse, usually will have lots of psychologists. Community or advocacy centers often employ psychologists along with social workers to help the clients who have more serious mental problems than social workers are trained for. Schools often employ psychologists for therapy and assessment. The military and Veteran's Administration are always hiring on more psychologists to help soldiers and veterans deal with PTSD, depression, and adjusting to new lifestyles. In addition, almost every major company has hired an Industrial/ Organizational psychologist as a consultant to help improve workplace relations, productivity, etc.

One final confusion that I will attempt to clear up is the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist. A psychiatrist is a medical doctor - they have gone to medical school and then completed additional training in psychology. A psychologist has not gone to medical school, but graduate school. Psychiatrists are therefore allowed to prescribe medications, whereas psychologists are not (at least in most states). Therefore, psychiatrists usually end up doing less therapy (and practically no assessments), and rather they mostly help people figure out the right kind and dosage of medicine for their particular condition.

I hope this was helpful. Coming soon, I'll talk about why therapy is useful and the different types of therapy. I'm sure I'll think of more things along the way that will be helpful, but leave a comment if you have any suggestions!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Eat Your Veggies :)

Well, it's a new year and with that comes everyone's resolutions. But regardless of whether you've resolved to lose weight, work out more, or something more unique than those (gasp!), we've all been saturated with holiday baking for the past few weeks and are probably looking to scale back a little bit.

Therefore, I scoured the web and found some recipes that I am planning on making this month. These recipes had to involve fairly easy to find and inexpensive ingredients, taste good according to reviewers, and be healthy! None of them include much sugar or unhealthy fats. And best of all, they all will help you increase your veggie intake! Because I haven't made these yet, I can't actually vouch for them, but leave a comment if you try one and let me know your thoughts!

Ever since we went to Spain, I've tried numerous times to recreate the quintessential Tortilla Espanola (Spanish Tortilla). In Spain, this dish is served for all meals, hot or cold, with or without toppings. The cookbook this recipe is from, The New Spanish Table, has a traditional recipe that I've tried and is very similar to what we tasted in Spain. However, this version throws tradition to the wind and makes the tortilla into something completely different (with artichokes! and roasted red peppers!), while retaining the Spanish flavor.
This looks like a delicious winter side dish. If you've never used agave nectar, it can be found in a lot of grocery stores in the baking aisle, right by the sugar and honey. Whole Foods and HEB definitely have it, and as it becomes more popular, more and more grocery stores carry it. If you don't want to buy something new, just use honey - they're very similar.

Bitten: Luccan Farro Soup
I heart Mark Bittman, the author of this blog. His book How to Cook Everything has a prized place on top of my microwave - because I use it so often, it's silly to keep it on the bookshelf! (Okay, Dan puts it back about once a week when he gets fed up with my things strewn around, but I confess it makes it back to its spot usually the same day.) Anyway, this soup looks delish. I have absolutely no idea what farro is, but he offers easy substitutions like barley or brown rice if you can't find farro.

A Veggie Venture: One Skillet Cauliflower with Cheese
This was technically offered as a Thanksgiving side dish suggestion, but it certainly can be made anytime and looks like it would be a great side dish when it's cold outside and you're looking for something hearty.

Homesick Texan: Grandma's Chocolate Pie
You didn't think I would let this entry go without one completely unhealthy dessert, did you? Let's face it, the only thing that kept me from making this pie the day I saw it was the fact that I would probably eat the entire thing before Dan even got out a fork. I'm still dying to try it though, so next time I'm invited somewhere and asked to bring a dessert, this is what I'm making.

Let me know what you think!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Christmas Break = Almost Over

We're back in Waco.

Although it was rough getting up at 5:00am this morning, we had the easiest flight ever - we landed early and our bag was the first one out when we went to get our checked baggage!

We then used our new GPS to flawlessly navigate home from the Dallas airport. We got back to our apartment at about 11:30a.m. Of course, we went and picked up Sammie right away. She was so excited to see us, but even more excited about all her new toys. She keeps running from her duck, to her bear, to her tennis ball...etc. Every time you throw one of them, she comes back with a different one.

Dan spent the afternoon unpacking, going to Best Buy, returning library books, updating our finances, calling insurance companies, and getting gas.

I spent the afternoon playing Wii Fit.

It was glorious.

Tonight we're going over to see Matthew and Camden - she is in town from LA just until tomorrow morning. They are cooking us dinner, which coincides perfectly with our completely empty fridge.

Oh and P.S. I just went running in a shorts and t-shirt. I checked the weather and it's 68 degrees right now with a high for tomorrow of 78.

We have an extra bedroom, if anyone wants to move out of the cold. :)