Yesterday, I was dying dead.

Warning: candid post, proceed with caution

Not to be dramatic, but I nearly died yesterday. It started Sunday night very innocently when my precious in-laws invited Ben, Darcy, and I to dinner along with Ben’s two brothers and sister-in-law. I REALLY needed to study because I had a huge comprehensive Pharmacology final the following morning at 8:50, BUT I’m both a procrastinator (like I could win an Olympic gold in procrastination) and a sucker for food, and going out to eat sounded like too much fun. Dinner was great! I got fried shrimp because that’s what baby wanted, mac and cheese because that’s what I wanted, and a salad because I figured my heart needed some kind of vegetable.

I don’t know which one did it, but I awoke around 3:00am feeling…off. Now, this pregnant lady wakes up almost hourly to use the bathroom, but this was a different kind of wakeup. I tossed and turned and felt progressively worse until about 5:45 when I broke out in a sweat and my stomach went *GASHMERGLE.* Oh, you know what I mean. It’s when your stomach does that churny, gurgly thing and you know that whatever is about to go down is going. to. be. bad. I raced to the bathroom and was violently ill. As a three-time veteran of the first trimester of pregnancy, I am familiar with vomiting. But this was brutal. I pathetically lay in the bathroom floor feeling miserable, but mostly sorry for myself because A) When you are pregnant and throw-up, you often (always) pee yourself and B) I suspected this plague was far from over. Unfortunately, I was right because I still had to take that final.

I had planned to get up early and study for my final, but mostly I just ran back and forth to the bathroom wondering how in the hell I was even going to TAKE the final. You see, my university utilizes ProctorU which is essentially satan’s handmaiden an online proctoring service that watches the test taker (me) via webcam with access to my desktop to ensure my “academic honesty.” Basically I was worried I was going to barf or poop myself via webcam. The first would be bad, the second might get me dismissed from the program–or made famous on Youtube in not a good way.

My proctor, lets refer to her as Jane, was super irritating. She spotted a piece of trash clear across the room, made me bring it to the webcam screen, and shred it before proceeding. It was a Walmart receipt. Definite contraband. Jane then stopped me 5 minutes into my test to reload the video screen which took an additional 5 minutes. “You are living on borrowed time, JANE!” She also made me turn my pencil in all different ways to ensure answers weren’t hidden on it. She basically sucked at life, and I almost wanted to barf directly on her. Luckily for her, my prayers worked, and the garbage cans beside me were spared! The best news is I passed the final! The bad news is that food poisoning sucks really badly at any time, but even worse when you’re 18 weeks pregnant, and have to take a web-cam proctored final. It sucked like a mutha-trucka, for sure. All the praise hands for Phenergan and a mother-in-law who took care of Darcy. Also for my own mother for bringing me a car, but that’s another post for another day.  Luckily I’m much better today, or I might actually be dead.

Oh, I semi-started my new job today. I’m super excited to exit the hospital-scene for the opportunity to be a school nurse. I’ll keep the blog updated as I get into the job a little more. Beware fried shrimp, mac and cheese, and/or salad. It could almost kill you on the inside, where it counts. Love to all!

Steakhouse de Rayner

Or, How-to-grill-a-steak-and-have-a-date-night-without-it-being-thwarted-by-your-16-month-old.

For those of you who read my “About” section, you may have noticed that the only word emphasized in all caps was “EATING”.  With the start of my new blog I think it’s only fitting that I have a few articles about food! For any fancier date night, I request a steakhouse. In Cleveland, MS where we went to college, this meant Crawdad’s in Merigold, MS. When we are in my hometown in North Mississippi, this means we go to Como Steakhouse—cue all the praisehands. Folks Folly in Memphis is beyond amazing. In Baton Rouge, it’s Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. Ahh. Date nights. But you see, we now have a tiny date ruiner. Her name is Darcy, and she throws both food and tantrums, ruining most any adventure after 5pm including my beloved steakhouse dine-outs. I cannot do without this steak in my life, and giving Darcy away would be frowned upon. So, in this post, I’m going to tell you about one of Ben and my favorite discoveries:  Trader Joe’s filets (and pizza dough, but that’s for another post).  Trader Joe’s is a grocery store throughout many of the southern states, with super friendly staff, awesome products, and even better prices.  If you happen to be lucky enough to have one in town, I highly recommend stopping by and checking it out for yourself.

But anyway, Trader Joe’s filets.  You can buy a two pack of quality filets for around $13 per pound.  Combine that with a couple of potatoes ($1.00) and salad ($3.00), and you’ve got yourself a fancy steak dinner for two for less than $20 total.  Not so bad…

Here’s what you need:

  • Crib to put baby Darcy to sleep early (I should triple star this)
  • 2 USDA Choice Premium Angus Beef Filet Mignon Steaks (1.5-2 inches thick—don’t skimp)
  • Salt and Pepper (lots and lots of it!)
  • Butter (for both searing the steak and for after you finish grilling)
  • Skillet
  • Grill

Here’s how to do it:

  • Put steaks out and let them get to room temperatureIMG_4503
  • GENEROUSLY season both sides of the steak with salt and pepper. If you’ve never prepared a steak like this before, when you think you’ve poured enough salt and pepper, you probably need more.  It takes a couple times before you get a good feel for what you prefer when it comes to the salt. Generally, more is better. Hellooo hypertension.
    • Don’t salt and pepper until you are ready to cook this baby. If you put the salt on preemptively, it will leach moisture out of the steak, and I’ve done it and it’s so sad. Don’t.
  • Get your skillet SCREAMING hot, throw about a tablespoon of butter and let it coat the bottom of the skillet. Yes, I said butter. This is steakhouse dinner date night, okay?
  • Sear both sides of the steak. This is a very quick step. You want to let each side of the steak sear for only 10-15 seconds.  This is going to help keep the flavor in and give it that outer crispness that you love when you order at the steakhouse.IMG_4508
  • Move the steaks to the grill. Your grill should be at a consistent temperature of 500 degrees.
  • For medium rare, grill each side for 4 minutes.
  • For well-done—you’re just a monster. Leave my blog now.
  • Remove steaks from the grill, butter to likingIMG_4510
  • Let sit for a few minutes and enjoy!IMG_4517


So, I’m starting a blog

Hello any and all readers! I’ve been urged by multiple friends and family members to write a blog for several years now. Why? I don’t really know their reasons, but the more people asked about it, the more I thought I might like to start one. About 3.5 years ago, I decided to do it! I had just gotten married, moved to Virginia, and all these awesome adventures would NEED to be documented. I thought of the perfect name, “Rayner Shine” because my new last name was Rayner, and how cute is that?! I told my husband, he agreed it was a good idea, but here’s the thing–I am a major procrastinator. SO. Almost 4 years, 3 moves, 4 job changes, and 1 baby later, here it is! I will backdate some blog entries on some of the more interesting occurrences in our lives, but first we have to agree on a few things.

  1. I am not a professional writer, mmkay? I say things, I write things, but I doubt you’ll see much symbolism,creativity, or special enlightenment that makes your head explode. So seek that on a different blog. Sorry.
  2. Grammar Nazis:  go away. I’m going to write in a conversational tone, end sentences with prepositions, use made up words and contractions because it’s a free country, and you can nitpick elsewhere.
  3. Weird stuff happens to me that doesn’t happen to normal people. I’ll write about it here, and I swear I’m not lying. You’ll have to just believe me.

Now that we’ve crossed that off our list, I’ll have to tell you that my life is chaotic. I know, I know, whose isn’t? But you see, my husband is in school full-time for engineering. Part-time he works as an engineering intern. I also am in school full-time to be a nurse practitioner. WHILE WORKING FULL-TIME AS A NURSE. Also, I have a 15 month old tyrant toddler. Help me, Rhonda! No, seriously, send help. I would say send wine, but I am also pregnant. 17 weeks to be exact. Anddd, I start a new job on Monday. Life is busy, time and money are short, but Ben and I laugh a lot. If you’re game to read along, I’ll gladly share our crazy with you. Love to all.