Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Winner will be drawn at 7 p.m. tomorrow and announced shortly thereafter. In the meantime, I'm going to go hang with some boys! :)
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Can you just see those stockings hanging on a rustic fireplace? I have such a fireplace, and Wolfie sent TWO stockings - how cool is that?? If you have a thing for primitive or rustic decor, take a look at some of Wolfie's things - she's cleaning house in preparation for a big move, and you might score some beautiful things for yourself!
Then I took a break from studying and took a few baby plants up to surprise Melissa at the big house. She lost most of hers to the cold so I've been gradually starting new ones for her, to replenish her stock. I hadn't seen the house since it was officially finished, and it certainly is beautiful. She'll have to post photos - you'll be amazed! The fireplace is visually stunning.
Melissa and I took a walk down to the garlic and herb beds in the front field, and Melissa practiced some plant butchery on the rosemary. Really, it was difficult to watch - the woman was ruthless. She cut all the frostbitten tips and all the dead limbs and trimmed the excessive growth - the poor plant looks positively shorn. It will respond by growing more thick and luxurious, and I know this, but I can't help but cringe when Melissa comes out carrying those loppers. She's a were-lopper, for sure!
Finally, it was back home to finish my studying, when my husband said he needed to run out. Hmmm - 9 p.m. on a Saturday and you need to run an errand? Okay - it was a little odd, but I didn't think much of it.
And he brought home flowers, which was another sweet surprise. And then he gestured out the door, and one of my sons said something about stray puppies coming home, and the next thing I knew, my oldest son (who has been in Korea for three long years!) was walking in the door. And I had no idea he was coming - those sneaky boys kept it a secret from me! Definitely the best surprise of the year!
So, needless to say, we were up late talking last night, and probably will be for the next few nights. He gets thirty days at home, and then he reports to Ft. Hood, TX for the remainder of his tour. There's some possibility of deployment in October with that unit, which worries me, because he's just come home. Like all military familes, though, we'll deal with what comes. And, if you see a little less of me for the next thirty days, well, you'll understand! :)
Saturday, March 28, 2009
So, we'll just hope that this year is a better one, rain-wise, than the last one. In the meantime, you won't hear me complain much about the rain. My plants (aside from some seedlings that drowned from a bit too much water!) are enjoying the weather. I moved a bunch of plants this week, and I think that the reason nobdoy's showing any signs of transplant shock is because they've had a constant gentle bath for three days now.
Friday, March 27, 2009
The local people, though, are surely East Tennessee's greatest treasure. You'd be hard-pressed to find a kinder, more generous group of folks with which to pass the time. So, this post is NOT intended to malign anyone.
However, some things just strike me as funny. The more tired I am, the more funny these things seem, and needless to say, at the moment I am VERY tired. So, when I went into one patient's room today, I was touched to see that somebody had left a personalized inscription on the whiteboard in the room. And then I took a closer look. "We love you, baby angle!" Hehehehehe. Baby angle. Is a baby angle an acute angle? :)
Thursday, March 26, 2009
I'm having issues getting photos transferred from my camera to my computer, but do you see the blue with pink roses peeping from behind the purple fabric? That's mine! It is gorgeous, and it's generously sized. I want to make a handbag out of it, but I don't seem to have a good coordinating fabric in my stash! You know what that means, right? Exactly - I have to go to the fabric store! I'm trying to stay away from that place, honestly I am, but sometimes you're simply left with no choice!
Second, Kim's garden basket came! This was a real treat - first, she had chocolate tucked in there! :) The garden sign is gracing my front bed, the celery melters smell just like spring, and the little tin bucket is the perfect size for storing my hand tools on the porch, because I can't go out without messing in one of the beds.
Oh, and I think I've finally got some gloves I can actually wear while gardening, thanks to Kim! I can't stand stiff, heavy gloves (and so I usually just skip them - to the detriment of my hands and nails!) but these are soft fabric with grippers on the palm and fingers! Kim, my hands thank you!
And if you'd like your own fun package, be sure to enter my giveaway. You have until April Fool's Day to enter! :)
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
It turns out that pegging the rose not only tames its growth habit, it forces more blooms. So, an unsightly, leggy rosebush should, in theory, turn into a lovely garden showpiece covered with blooms.
So, yesterday, I pegged my climbing rose. Here's an article on taming your own leggy rosebushes, if any of you have that problem: Train Roses to Produce More Flowers. Hopefully, my rose will come to resemble the one in the photo. If not, I'm not any worse off than I was - at least pinning down the canes made the plant look better!
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
I'm going to play along, because I desperately need some motivation, and wouldn't it be cool to win? The best part - even if I don't win, I do win, because I have tons of cute clothes that would fit again if I'd just lose ten pounds. And I don't have any money to buy new clothes. And I'm sick of feeling bloated and lethargic all the time. And I'd really like to look cute for graduation - and did I mention the bloated, lethargic thing?
The hardest part? The before photo, and an honest weigh-in, where I really look at the dreaded number on the scale. That's going to hurt. I just have to go and do it - like diving in to the pool on the first day of summer. There's the initial shock, but then you get used to it and pretty soon it feels great, right?
So, how about it, blog friends? Wanna play? Come on in - the water's fine! :)
Monday, March 23, 2009
See, I am accustomed to baking yeast breads that are high and light and fluffy. I'm a bit spoiled by that, to be honest. The sourdough was anything but light and fluffy. This was no dainty bread. It was a heavy, dense, solid brick of a loaf of bread. It had a thick, chewy crust. It did have a good crumb, and it had decent flavor, but who wants bricks for bread?
Still, I am not the wasteful type, so I decided that I would eat this bread in spite of its apparent flaws. I had two slices (and each slice was about 3 inches by 4 inches - not big slices, by any means) spread with a smear of butter at about 5:45 a.m., when I was driving in to the hospital. It was chewy and solid, but, again, it had a nice sour tang that went well with real butter.
And, here's the success part - I didn't get hungry again until close to noon. Weird, huh? So, I tried it again this morning, with the same results - this bread sticks with you. It may not sound like much, (breakfast that keeps you going), but to me this is huge. I start my day in the hospital at 6 a.m. or so (earlier for big cases), and I tend to start working when I get there, and not stop until I get a break - which may not come until noon or later.
And I can't just walk out of the operating room if I get hungry and want a snack. I have to stay with the patient, monitoring and caring for them, until I'm relieved by another anesthesia provider or until I get the patient safely to the recovery room. So, breakfast that poops out by 9:30 is not a good thing.
I've found a few things that stick around like that, but often they're either not very good OR they take too long to prepare. Right now, when it's breakfast vs sleep, sleep wins. So, the bread is a keeper, I think. I'll continue to tweak it and see what I come up with, but overall I'm not unhappy. This is inexpensive, easy to make (and easy to toast on my way out the door) and reasonably healthy. And, it tastes like real food - unlike some nasty breakfast bars whose names I won't mention!
Saturday, March 21, 2009
The folks who run my graduate program don't have any sympathy for a girl's need to cook, bake, sew and garden! They seem to think I should be altogether focused on anesthesia, all the time. And (mostly), I am, but I have to feed those other sides of me or I fear they may die off completely. And the solution? Labor-saving techniques that allow me to do the things I want to do while spending just a few minutes here and there, so that I can spend most of my time doing the things that I need to do.
So, when I found this link: Mary Jane's Farm No-knead Bread through Muckboots N' Aprons, I knew I had to try it. And it seems to be working - this morning, there are four loaves of sourdough bread rising in my kitchen, and the "mother" (aka starter) is having a day off after all her hard work. I'll post about the results later, but so far the dough has a wonderful tangy wheat odor and it was wonderfully elastic when I shaped it. Is there anything better than fresh bread? Especially fresh bread that took less than 15 minutes of my time all week? Gotta love it!
Don't forget to enter my giveaway, if you haven't already - there are some great comments on that post and I'm very tempted to try to pull together another tote and have TWO winners! More on that later!
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
1. I'm giving away the blue tote pictured at the left, filled with Easter goodies.
2. Melissa has graciously agreed to crochet something to add to the tote.
3. To enter, comment on the giveaway post up to five times (one entry per comment), blog about the giveaway (five entries) and leave a skunk-related comment on both this blog AND Thistledew Farm blog (15 entries!).
4. Avoid were-rabbits, were-wolves and especially were-skunks AT ALL COSTS!!!!!!
Does that cover it? I think it does! Enter early, and enter often! :)
Here's another shot of the tote, pictured with a smaller handbag I made to match it that had too many wonky parts to give away, but not too many for me to use. I couldn't decide if I wanted green or blue, and now I just wish I had more lilac fabric!
If the handbag had turned out a little better, it would be part of this giveaway. One of these days I'll come up with a handbag/tote combination that'll knock your socks off, though! Wait and see if I don't!
Terri has totally taken a serious issue and tangled it up in such a way that only exceptionally dedicated readers have a clue what is going on.....
So allow me to straighten things out for you.
There are two issues here - were rabbits (you can find out more about them by watching the film Wallace and Grommit and the Case of the Were Rabbit or read my post about him)
I maintain that it is Terri's skunk:
- he hangs around her house
- she maintains a skunk buffet she calls a compost pile
- the skunk's lover is at her house
- and, on occasion, I have seen him in her house....
To affirm my view of Terri's were-skunk ownership I fall to the old adage "she who smelt it dealt it"
so adeptly put by The Yarn Princess
During the course of this debate, Terri organized a giveaway - don't be fooled, she is only doing this to bribe you - and it appears some of you are weak enough to fall for it! Adding chaos to the confusion she has turned things around so that I too must participate in the giveaway by including a crocheted item....I have until April 1st to whip something up worthy of the lavish praise she heaped on me....not that she really believes me worthy of the praise, she just knows how to awakened my competitive nature and backed me into a corner, forcing me to excel! What she is really after is your vote that I am the owner of the were-skunk - of which she has no proof what so ever, that is why she has resorted to bribery.
On second thought - she has got me involved in the giveaway so I can't enter the contest - drat I fell for it again!!!!! That skunk!
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
So, if you post on ThistleDew's blog comments and on Clay Hill Farm's comments that you are wise to Terri's denial and assist her in coming back to reality concerning who really "owns" the Were Skunk, you will get ten extra entries in Terri's giveaway. I will personally write down your name ten times each and put them in Terri's drawing box!
I am sure this will assist Terri in facing reality and perhaps even encourage her to seek some sort of treatment!
Monday, March 16, 2009
It's fully lined, as you can see in this photo. The lining fabric is carried through to the front and back of the back of the tote and it is identical on both sides.
Disclaimer - the tote is handmade. If you look closely, you may notice imperfections and even the occasional wonky stitch. Still, I think it will make a cute reusable grocery bag for the farmer's market, or the supermarket. Or, whatever you might want to use a reusable tote for. And, naturally, I'll fill it with some seasonal (read: chocolate and jelly beans!!!) goodies in honor of Easter.
To enter, comment on this post. Because I laughed my head off at the multiple comments on The Decoursey Project Giveaway, you can comment up to five times and each will count as an entry. You can earn five more entries by posting this on your blog, but you have to let me know that you've done that in one of your comments.
So, enter early and enter often - and tell Melissa to keep her skunk at home! :) Good luck!
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Now, if I could just convince some grass to grow in all this clay! :)
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Friday, March 13, 2009
So, when I needed an appropriate "Thank You" gift for one of the doctors at the hospital, I immediately thought of bread. But, plain bread, while spectacular fresh from the oven, is often rather plain when it has cooled. I needed something spectacular. Something that would stay spectacular even when cooled. And, really, is there anything more spectacular than fresh, homemade cinnamon rolls with maple glaze? I think not!
And the rolls were a rousing success. People loved them. People ate them by the plateful (I made a lot of rolls) and then people begged for more. People declared them The Best Cinnamon Rolls on the Planet! And you can make those same people-pleasing rolls. They're easy.
I know, I know - you don't believe me. Oh, ye of little faith! I promise that you can make delicious, fresh, homemade cinnamon rolls in your very own kitchen, even if you've never made bread before. There's a tutorial, with pictures and everything! Just head over to The Pioneer Woman - Cinnamon Rolls 101 and prepare to bedazzle your friends and family with your bodacious baking skills! While you're there, try a few of her other recipes - the Twice-Baked Potatoes are to die for!
Oh, and I totally stole the photo from PW's website. My rolls looked remarkably like that, but PW has a better camera. :)
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Would you like a box of awesome? I certainly would! I could just pull out the awesome whenever I needed some. I could take the awesome in to the hospital and share it. I could spread awesome all over the farm - it could be pretty cool!
So, if you want to win your very own box of awesome, visit The Decoursey Project Awesome Giveaway and enter to win! While you're there, check out the rest of the blog. Heidi has a quirky writing style that makes for a fun read!
Sunday, March 8, 2009
The bill is very broadly written and includes anyone who grows or produces food for human consumption. There is no exception for small farms, or even for backyard gardens. The fines are staggering (up to a million dollars for each incident?). If this bill passes, most of the folks I know will be unable to afford to grow produce or meat for the farmer's market or even for their own family's use without running afoul of the law.
The regulatory burdens of this bill are staggering, too. Food producers (and if you grow tomatoes in the summer, YOU are a food producer, according to this bill) are required to keep extensive records, to test soil (and keep the samples) and to follow government regulations regarding the type of fertilizer used, temperature controls, etc... fines for failure to comply can be up to one million dollars per incident.
And I don't believe that the law will be used only to deal with large corporations - if the state is given a power, the state has the potential to abuse that power. And, the thing is, we already have many of these regulations in place through the USDA and the FDA. Why create another level of bureaucracy when simply fully staffing these agencies with the appropriate number of inspectors would solve many of the current problems we've seen?
In a poor economy, the ability to grow one's own food could make a huge difference in one's standard of living. We can't let that right be taken from us, and we must look out for the small farmers who provide organic meat and produce at the local level. If you eat, this bill has the potential to affect you.
You can read more about the bill here: Campaign for Liberty and here: Open Congress HR 875. And, if the content of this bill alarms you at all, please consider writing your representatives to tell them how you feel. Help us save the Farmer's Market! Thank you to Dunappaloosa at Small Farm Living for bringing this to my attention.
Saturday, March 7, 2009
And the warm weather we've had this week made me pull them out and start some more plants. I've started flowers and herbs and veggies, and if they all take we'll be overrun with plants! Luckily we have plenty of room around here. :)
The studying isn't going well - I'm having trouble getting motivated. There's time, though, and maybe that's the problem. I'm just not feeling a sense of urgency yet, and I really should be. Send motivating thoughts my way, will you? Oh, and happy growing thoughts, as well! :)
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
We had a class meeting today and were informed of some changes on the board exam. All nurse anesthetists take a certification exam after graduating, to prove that they are competent to practice. The exam costs $750 to take, it is required, and in many places you can't work until you pass it. In all states, you can't continue to work past a certain point without passing it, so skipping the exam is not an option.
I could theoretically take the exam in just over six months, and I had planned on doing just that. Until today. The test committee, it seems, has decided to roll out drastic changes in the test format without trialing them first. So, the trial will be those of us who take the test this summer and early fall, and if we don't pass, we can't work. Nice, huh?
Now, don't get me wrong - I am all for a comprehensive exam that is strenuous enough to prove that a person is knowledgeable and qualified to administer anesthesia. I have no problem with increasing the difficulty level of the test. I do have a problem, however, with including five different types of untested question styles in this exam. This little exam that determines whether or not I can earn a living, or whether or not I've wasted the last three years+ of my life.
So, what does this mean? It means that my current study plan probably isn't sufficient for the added complexity of five different styles of new questions on top of the complexity of the information as it stands. I'm going to have to devote more time to study, and less time to other things, like sewing, and gardening, and blogging. :(
You'll be seeing a little less of me for the next few months, as I try to prepare for this hurdle. I know six months seems like a long time, but given a 50-60 hour clinical week, regular classes and tests, a thesis and the new test format, six months isn't much time at all. Please bear with me for the next few months as I work through this and get ready for graduation, and for the little "quiz" that follows!
I'll still stop by your blogs, probably about once a week, to catch up on what you're all doing and how things are going. I'll blog here once or twice a week, and I'll still have the occasional giveaway, because they're fun and I still need a little fun in my life! And I'll study like crazy, and I'll take and pass this little "quiz" a few months from now, and then I'll be blogging and gardening and sewing like a crazy woman! Just you wait and see if I don't! :)
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
And I'll try to remember this at the end of next summer, when I'm in such a hurry for fall. I guess I just like the seasons changing. And this season needs to hurry up and do some changing! :)
By the way, I won a fat quarter from Em's blog. She's got a great blog and a great idea - she gives away a fat quarter for each lost pound to someone who has encouraged her in her weight-loss journey. If you have a minute, check it out - she's amazingly talented and has some great tutorials for you crafty types!
Sunday, March 1, 2009
I didn't even know I'd won - I pulled trauma call yesterday, and it was a rough one. The weekend isn't a real weekend at a trauma center until you've had victims of a gunshot wound, a car accident and an ATV accident in the operating room, and we had multiples of the first two yesterday.
I went in at 6:30 a.m. (and, really, the only positive thing about weekend call is that you can sleep a little later) and didn't get a chance to eat lunch until 2:30 in the afternoon, when one of the Labor & Delivery folks took pity on me and came down to watch my patient (a car accident victim) so I could go grab a bite. And I was lucky to get that! Other than that, the rest of the day was spent in motion! I sat down in each case just long enough to chart, and in the bad ones I didn't even sit down to chart - I just charted in between adjusting things.
So I was beat. I came home and changed into PJ's and went to bed. The Princess wanted to come visit and normally I am always up for Princess time, but last night I just couldn't manage one more thing, so I asked her dad to tell her that we needed to postpone it. She is a sweet and sensible Princess, though, so I am sure she understands.
Then I talked to Hannah's mom, who knew I'd been stuck in the hospital all day. She told me I needed to take a look at The Apron Goddesses, and I knew immediately what that meant! And I've nattered on for a page and a half just to explain the lift that news gave me - to be so exhausted and feel so beat and then to get good news. I can't even describe how it felt, but I'll bet you can picture it!
So, Julia, thank you so much for hosting such a great giveaway on your lovely blog. I am so excited about winning it! I'll get the book, and I'll review it here, and I'll make a couple of aprons, and if one of them turns out well perhaps I'll have a vintage apron giveaway! Won't that be fun?