Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Use Those KB Gift Cards - Now!

Hey, everybody - just a quick note to alert you that there's a very good chance your KB Toys gift cards won't be any good starting tomorrow, so if a child in your life got a KB Toys gift card for Christmas, you might want to go shopping today.

Here's the link: KB Toys Gift Cards No Good in January. Now, certainly, this could be a hoax, so use your own judgement. Still, with the economy in the state that it is, the safest thing might be to hit the mall today.


Monday, December 29, 2008

A Good Weekend & A Recipe Request

Well, my long weekend was a good one. I rested, and visited with family (we were lucky enough to have people over two nights in a row!), and did some studying (although I am really struggling with motivation for that!).

I also cleaned the chicken coop, and put out new bedding - those birds sure can make a mess quickly! They're still laying pretty solidly, though, so I guess they can be as messy as they like. And I cleaned out a bit of the garden and turned the compost pile. I know, I know - it doesn't sound like much, but I did get something accomplished this weekend.

Now to the request - Hannah's Mom is working on a fundraising cookbook and is looking for recipes. Do you have an extra special dish you make that you'd be willing to share instructions for? If so, would you send it along? Here's the e-mail:

My mom and dad are putting together a cookbook as a fundraiser for my new room. They would love for you to help out by sending them a recipe or two or three or more that you really like. Maybe it’s a heirloom recipe that you HAVE to bring to a family gathering or they won’t even let you in… maybe it’s your favorite comfort food… or maybe it’s your favorite decadent indulgence.

There are really no real “rules” but when submitting more than one recipe please make sure they are different kinds of dishes! Although it would be fun they don’t want to end up with 300 dessert recipes and one casserole. Please proofread your recipes. Mom and Dad might be able to figure out that “ground beff” should really be “ground BEEF” but they won’t know if you typed 1 teaspoon and really meant 1 tablespoon. If you can, please do not use abbreviations. Abbreviations might end up in the cookbook but if you don’t use them in your submissions it will make it easier to get your recipe printed correctly in the cookbook. If you can, submit each in a separate e-mail with the category you see the recipe fitting and the
recipe name listed as the subject. Example: Side dish – Baked Mac n’ Cheese

Some category suggestions: Appetizers, Soups, Salads, Beverages, Vegetables, Side Dishes, Main Dishes and Casseroles, Breads and Rolls, Cakes, Candies, Cookies, Desserts, and the much loved, “Other.”

We are all really excited about this project and appreciate your help in getting the recipes together! Please send your recipes to to make it easier for Mom and Dad to keep them all together and not miss one. Thanks!

Hannah and her family

I know we have some extraordinary cooks out there, so if you've got a great recipe just waiting to burst forth onto the cooking scene, this is your chance! :) And thanks for taking time to read this - you guys are the best!


Friday, December 26, 2008

A Long Weekend

I don't have to go back to the hospital until Monday! And then, I am there Monday and Tuesday, and I get Wednesday and Thursday off! So, after a truly awful Christmas schedule, I get a nice New Year's schedule. It all balances out.

Yesterday was a rough day. I kept reminding myself that at least five people are getting a brand new life, thanks to the generosity of a family whose life is in shambles. Things like this give me a great deal of faith in the basic goodness of people in general.

And, if you've never known someone with heart failure, or kidney failure, or severe liver disease it's hard to imagine that level of illness. Imagine the worst illness of your life, and then imagine that it doesn't go away. You don't get better - you feel that sick all the time. That's what it's like living with organ failure. A transplant literally gives someone their life back - as you can see here:

Thank you to all of you who added your prayers to mine, and please continue to pray that the family will find the strength to rebuild their lives. And I am going to rest this weekend - I am more tired than I think I have ever been and I need to recharge my batteries. Have a great weekend, everybody!


Thursday, December 25, 2008

Hug Your Kids

Well, I'm here at the hospital getting ready to start what will probably be my only case today, although I have to be here until 7 p.m. because you just never know what might come in. And it's gut-wrenching, and heartbreaking and awful. It's so bad I can barely talk about it, so I'll just tell you that it involves a child, and organs. So, go hug the kids in your life, as soon as you can. And then hug them again for me. And, if you are praying people, say a little prayer for a family in Tennessee. Thanks. And Merry Christmas.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Busy Christmas Schedule

Well, some poor soul is having open-heart surgery tomorrow, and it looks like I'll be the one doing his anesthesia - along with an anesthesiologist, or course! So, that means a busy day tomorrow, but I think this is one case where it's better to give than receive. Once the surgery is over, I'll clean and re-set the room and probably go home - he'll begin the long, slow process of recovery, and will spend Christmas Day in intensive care, unless he is lucky.

Christmas Day, it's back to the hospital for a 12-hour trauma call - 7a.m. to 7 p.m., and I hope and pray I'm not busy, because if I am, somebody is having a really bad holiday. We've decided we won't open gifts until I get home (around 8 p.m. Christmas Day).

I'll come home and there will be a fire, and hot food, and two of my three boys, and gifts - it will be very pleasant, I think! And, unlike our men and women serving overseas, I'll at least get to spend time with my family on Christmas Day. My thoughts and prayers are with all of them, and with one young man in South Korea in particular.

Merry Christmas, everybody - here's hoping you all have a happy, safe day at home with your loved ones!


Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Giveaway You'll "Flip" Over!

You know, I love blog giveaways. Your odds of actually winning something are generally better than any other contest you enter, and bloggers are creative people - we come up with really cool items to give away!

That said, I knew I had to share this giveaway with my blogging buddies - it's the cutest little camcorder you ever saw! It would fit right in your handbag, or backpack. Wouldn't that be great for capturing memories of your babies (or grandbabies) and nieces and nephews, and dogs and cats and horses and CHICKENS??? Hey, chickens need love, too - don't be a hater! :)

Anyway, head on over to I Never Grew Up and sign up, and if you win that cute little camera post a video on your blog so we can all share in the fun!


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Craigslist Ad of the Month

I promise I did not make this up! :)

Wooden Computer Desk-Corner - $15
Date: 2008-12-20, 6:54PM EST
Wooden Computer Desk For Sale Corner Fit Wooden Top with Black Metal Legs Desk is not in perfect condition-has some water marks on the top & scratches but it is sturdy Heavy & Big $15 cash- I need it out of my carport! Email if interested You will need to pick up - I can't deliver!

I know, I know - they uploaded the wrong picture, but this strikes me as funny! Maybe it's because I'm chronically sleep-deprived right now!


Dead Microwave

The microwave oven gave up the ghost this week. I was melting chocolate and it started smelling like something burning. I thought I had burnt the chocolate, but when I brought it out it was clear that the source of the smell was the microwave. Now it won't run at all for more than 2 seconds, so it is toast, I am afraid.

The microwave is something I have taken for granted, recently - we haven't been without one in at least ten years. I use it all the time - I rewarm coffee, warm hot water for tea, heat my breakfast muffin on the way out the door in the morning (hot coffee and a warm muffin really boost your mood at 4 a.m. in the winter!), reheat leftovers, cook vegetables... the list is almost endless.

Now I am back to heating water in the tea kettle, rewarming leftovers in the oven (horribly inefficient!), and I've replaced my cold muffin with a less nutritious (but at least warm!) toaster pastry in the mornings. We'll replace the microwave next month (when it fits into the budget), so I can be creative for another two weeks or so.

On a happier note, I have one week remaining of my cardiovascular surgery rotation. I've survived three weeks of it, and it hasn't really been all that bad. Busy, certainly, and I don't really like getting up an hour earlier every day, but the cases themselves are really fascinating. I love big, busy cases - just not every single day! I am so behind on my thesis right now that I shouldnt even be posting this, but you have to something fun and frivolous once in awhile, right?

Have fun with your Christmas preparations, everybody!


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Homemade Christmas

We're having a (mostly) homemade Christmas here at Thistledew (and Clay Hill). Primarily this is due to budgetary concerns, but there's also the issue of the over-commercialization of Christmas. I know it's often said, but we've lost touch to some degree with the true meaning of Christmas. One way to move back toward a real Christmas, I think, is to put thought and time into the gifts that you give.

I can't post what I'm making here (family and friends read this blog, too!) but I can share some links. If you have any last-minute gifts to come up with, consider making them instead of buying them. You'll save money and you'll be giving something personal and thoughtful.

So, there are lots of good ideas here to get you started! There are ideas here that work even for the craft-challenged (read: me!). So get thee hence and find some inspiration, and take a few minutes sometime this weekend to think about what Christmas really means. Then go hug somebody you love!


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Gratitude, Revisited

I am surviving my cardiac surgery rotation, barely. I have to get out of bed by 3:10 a.m. in order to get to the hospital at 4:30. I get home, most nights, at 6 p.m. (or later); needless to say, I'm ready for bed by 8 p.m.! So, I am struggling a bit with my resolve to be mindful of the things I have to be thankful for. What's there to be thankful for about getting up at 3???

Well, a lot, as it turns out. For one, I am healthy enough to get up and get out of the house. For another, my friends and family (and you all know who you are, and I'm including my online friends in this one!) are being extraordinarily patient with me this month. Then, too, there's very little traffic on the road at 3:45 a.m., and none of it interferes with my drive in. Parking is easy to find, as well. Finally, (and the best thing!) - I only have to do this for two more weeks after tomorrow!

Oh, and finals are over!!! Over, over, over! I have no idea what my grade is, but I am so grateful that another semester is over. I don't get time off, per se, but I don't have to attend class after my clinical day again until the middle of January. That's a break, in itself.

Okay, I'm going to lay out my things for tomorrow, pack a lunch and hit the hay. Take care, everybody, and I'll post more later!


Monday, December 8, 2008

Human Again

Well, I thought that was never going to end. Yuck! But, I'm feeling better tonight - albeit a bit drained! Thanks to everyone for the kind wishes and prayers - you guys are fabulous! On a positive note, I think I may have lost a couple of pounds - although that is NOT a diet I recommend!

Yes, Melissa, I know I need to do something about the stress! I'm letting myself get run down and I think it's made me susceptible to every bug that comes along. For the moment, though, I have to soldier on and I can't possibly miss another day. So, it's back to the grind in the morning!

Hannah's family has set up a blog for her here: - and, as requested, they've included a Paypal donation link. Thanks to all who have expressed an interest in helping - she really is a great kid. Mildred, I haven't delivered your card yet because I didn't want to expose the baby to what might have been something contagious and risk another hospitalization; I'll deliver it as soon as I can!

Thanks again for your patience, everyone. I'm back in the land of the living - I think! :)


Sunday, December 7, 2008

Stomach Bug

I have a nasty stomach bug. I have three thoracic surgery cases scheduled tomorrow and I have finals on Tuesday. I felt fine this morning; getting ready for company (Hannah's parents were coming to visit!), and then - WHAM! I will spare you the details; we'll just say that I'm very thankful that there's a trash can in the bathroom. I am completely miserable. :( I'm going back to bed - hope everyone had a great weekend.


Saturday, December 6, 2008

Busy week!

When I first wrote the title to this post, my finger slipped and I accidentally hit the "t" key, so the title read, "Busty Week" - this is not Melissa's blog, though, so that can't be right! :) It has been a busy week around here - and now I'm in the middle of the weekend and I feel more behind than ever!

This, too, shall pass, right? Thanks to all who responded to my post about Hannah - her parents are working really hard to fund the new room, and every bit of help is greatly appreciated! Hannah's mom is working on getting a Paypal link set up, so as soon as she does that I'll post the link.

Melissa and I went to an open house this afternoon at Honey Rock Herb Farm, which is a charming little place not too far from us. I always come away from there inspired - the cottage was the scene of activities today and, as usual, they had some fabulous items! We're on a tight budget but Melissa found an adorable garlic basket and I got some herbs - specifically stuff that we didn't grow (or didn't take time to dry) this year, and (of course!) some honey.

And I have finals on Tuesday so it's time to hit the books - thanks for your patience, everyone and I promise I'll be a good blogger again in January!


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Hannah's Wish

Okay, I know I wasn't going to post much this week, but it turns out that there (so far) aren't many heart surgeries scheduled, so the early part of the week has been a bit easier than I belived it would be. In fact, I worked late yesterday (until almost 7:30 p.m.) on a trauma (gunshot wound), and in return they let me stay home this morning. I have to go in later today, but for the moment I have a break!

So, I thought I would share the story of my friends Janet and Donn King, who are raising several children, one of whom (Hannah) is disabled due to a chromosomal disorder. You can read more about Hannah here:

Hannah is a beautiful child. She has big blue eyes, and gorgeous eyelashes, and thick curly hair. When I talk to her, she seems to understand what I am saying. Hannah also has special needs. She needs continuous care, and this takes a very great toll on her parents. Recently, they were approved for in-home nursing care, and this has eased the burden somewhat, but it hasn't solved everything.

The biggest issue the family faces right now is that Hannah is doing what every other child does - she is growing. Unfortunately, she has neuromuscular disabilities that mean she must be lifted from her bed into a chair, and back again, in order to participate in daily life. This was a simple matter when she was tiny, but as she grows it has become more difficult.

The answer, of course, is some sort of lift. Janet and Donn have such a lift, along with a chair that is the perfect size for Hannah.

The problem? The lift and chair won't fit in Hannah's current room. Her medical equipment, bed and supplies take up just about every speck of space, and the family and her nurses have to move equipment during Hannah's care. Still, the Kings have done a remarkable job of rearranging things in order to keep Hannah at home, and I admire them for that.

But now they need more help. Hannah needs a new room. Moving the entire family to a bigger house would be great, but it just isn't practical! Building a room onto their current home, though, would do the trick. Hannah simply needs more space, and the family has found a contractor who is willing to donate some labor. They need building materials, though. I'll bet they need to raise at least $10,000. Which, when you think about the advantages (Hannah stays home, as opposed to getting moved to some institution for care, her family members don't further hurt themselves trying to carry her back and forth), is a bargain.

Janet is an avid crafter and has created some items that she is trying to sell to raise money for the room. The blankets you see here are among those items. They sell bracelets on the website, and a percentage of those funds goes to Hannah. The local ROTC group is trying to help raise funds. Janet can take Paypal, I believe, so I'll encourage her to set up a donation link. And I thought that perhaps we could mobilize some of the blogging community on their behalf.

So, what do you say? Would you be willing to blog about Hannah? Post a link to Hannah's site on your blog? A donation link? Perhaps post a few of Janet's sale items? Make a donation or purchase a scarf or a blanket? Make something and offer it for sale to support Hannah's room fund? Any or all of the above would be so much appreciated. If you feel you can help, please contact me via e-mail at trp100329 (at) (replace the (at) with @) and I'll forward your information to Janet and Donn. You'd be helping a great kid!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Quilt Raffle

Just a quick note to tell everyone that Wolfie is having a quilt raffle over at Cherish Yesterday. The quilt looks so soft and warm, doesn't it? And there are chances to win two other prizes, as well. You could win a warm, raggedy quilt to snuggle under, or a cool table runner OR a sunbonnet!! :) Check it out!