Sunday, March 28, 2010

Falling off The Wagon - Already!

Well, I have fallen off of the Wardrobe Refashion wagon before I even got started. I'm doing some teaching at the university (guest lectures and such) and I will be involved in candidate interviews next week.

So, I started going through my closet and realized that the last time I bought a suit was five years ago when I interviewed for anesthesia school. Looking out-of-date doesn't bother me, but ill-fitting clothes do, and since I haven't lost that last few pounds I needed something that actually fit.

I'm ashamed to admit that my sewing skills aren't up to producing an executive-level suit. So, I bought a nice, neutral year-round suit. And, since I was off the wagon already, I bought two blouses to go with it.

And, then I bought some new workout clothes, because although my ratty sweats are fine at the farm, they do look kind of out of place at the somewhat upscale (but cheap!) gym we belong to. Although eventually I think I can learn to make workout gear - it doesn't look terribly complicated.

So, there's my sad tale. I whined to my husband about it, and he was unimpressed. "It's about time you spent some of the money you earn on yourself!" No sympathy from that quarter, I'm afraid!

Have a happy Palm Sunday, everyone!

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Cyberspace Monster

The Cyberspace Monster has been stalking me! It follows me from blog to blog and eats my comments. Please bear with me if I double (or triple!) comment on your posts for a bit until I get this straightened out!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

1940's House

I just watched this series today on DVD, and I loved it. It was a fabulous portrayal of life in England during World War II, complete with air raids and food rationing. I am tempted to buy it and watch it every time I feel the urge to wallow in self-pity. The deprivation was astonishing! I knew there was food rationing during World War II, but I had no idea to what extent. This series was eye-opening.

In my experience, the people who lived through the 30's and 40's are some of the most stoic and sensible people we see, and viewing this series made me understand why that might be the case. There simply wasn't time to whine and feel sorry for yourself. If you survived, it's because you pulled yourself up by your bootstraps and made do with what you had.

I think that's what I love about all of my blogging friends. We may not suffer under the same deprivation as our mothers and grandmothers and fathers and grandfathers did, but all of you are smart and resourceful and creative, and I am sure that any of you would manage beautifully if you found yourselves in a situation where everything depended on your intelligence and resourcefulness and ability to survive.

So, give yourselves a pat on the back, from me, and if you get the chance to see 1940's House, I highly recommend that you watch it. With your kids, if you can, so you can point out to them (as I did to my son) exactly how spoiled modern children have become! :)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Good Call Shift

I finally had a good call shift - I went in to work at 11 a.m. and was done by 6:30 p.m. and I had a lunch break in there. One minor issue with a patient undergoing heart surgery, but we got that straightened out and he should recover nicely. And I am one well-rested chick! :) Speaking of chicks -

spring is finally here, and we have baby chicks coming in a couple of weeks! Nothing says spring like baby chicks! They are so cute and sweet - I can't wait!

And then there are my favorite type of spring chicks... I know they have no redeeming nutritional value whatsoever. But I don't care. I love them. I don't eat very many of them, but every Easter I treat myself to a little package of Peeps.

And I have a Cadbury Creme Egg. But not both at the same time. Well, not every year, anyway! Okay, one year I didn't have them both at the same time. I ate some Peeps first and then I ate the creme egg. And then I ran ten miles.

One part of that last paragraph is a complete fabrication; you'll never guess which part! :)

What's your favorite Easter candy?

Sunday, March 21, 2010


Okay, I know I'm supposed to be making/recycling all of my clothes. But I might have to make an exception for these beauties: Punjammies. The story behind them is amazing and it's definitely a cause I could support. So, what say you, friends? Would I be cheating if I bought a pair of those lovely PJ's?

Luckily for me, they've had lots of good press lately (much of it from Pioneer Woman) and they're sold out of almost everything, so I have time to mull it over a bit while they replenish their stock. But wouldn't you love a pair of those pants to sleep in this summer?

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Spring is here! I am so happy I'm nearly doing cartwheels!!! Happy spring, everyone!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Wardrobe Refashion or I Have Officially Lost It

Okay, if you know us here at Clay Hill/Thistledew, you know we hate waste. And you know we think that, global warming notwithstanding, humans have not been very good stewards of the wonderful environment we've been given. And we're trying to make small changes where we can to do our part to change that.

So, I've been toying with the idea of signing on to the Wardrobe Refashion for several months now. I do think modern Americans own too many clothes. And many modern clothing manufacturers rely on sweatshop labor to produce their wares, which I find extremely distasteful. Also, the manufacturing process used to turn fibers into wearable garments is not environmentally friendly, by any stretch of the imagination. But I've been reluctant to take the final step, for several reasons.

Reason number one: I am not a very skilled seamstress. I can sew straight lines. That's pretty much it. Constructing garments is very different from constructing tote bags or pillows or quilts, and, frankly, it's intimidating. Yeah, I'm a chicken!

Reason number two: I have no (I mean ZERO) sense of style. A person who is creating her own garments really ought to have a little idea about how to make said garments fit into a stylish wardrobe. Don't you think?

Reason number three: I am carrying around ten extra pounds. I know ten pounds doesn't sound like a lot of weight, but I am very short. Ten pounds is nearly two dress sizes for me. If I lose the extra weight (as I certainly hope to do this spring), I'd dearly love some new clothes as a reward.

But, the truth of the matter is that I can learn to do anything that anyone else can learn to do. I know this because I have learned to do all manner of crazy things over the past several years. I can take over a person's bodily functions almost entirely and still keep them alive, and wake them up comfortably at the end of a procedure. I can surely learn to sew some clothes.

And, there are lots of resources out there for the fashion-challenged these days. There are books and magazines and websites, and don't forget my stylish friends! And, the older I get the less I care about being stylish, anyway, so that excuse is gone.

Finally, the weight thing - if I sew the garments, surely I'll be the best person to alter them if (WHEN) I lose the weight. Or I can give those items away and make/refashion some more, because there is no shortage of old clothing around these parts!

So, in between gardening and quilting and cooking and animal posts, I'll be posting occasionally on my progress with the wardrobe. The next "official" round doesn't start until May, but I'm starting my own pledge now. I'm going to try - no, I'm going to DO this for six months, and then re-evaluate.

I'll make an exception for undergarments and socks, for now, although I may learn to make those at some point, too! I've truly gone over the deep end, folks - I'm going to sew things and wear them! Heaven help us all!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A Lovely Story About Me

This was forwarded to me, and I thought it was really cute.

A Lovely Story About Me

One day, a long, long time ago, there lived a woman who did not whine, nag or complain.

(That would be me.)

But that was a long time ago and it was just that one day.



It's gray and ugly here, and oppressive. Bleh. I'm still dealing with the winter blues, I think. Maybe I'll do some garden planning and see if that helps. Hope you're all having a good week!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Another Giveaway

Marydon at Blushing Rose is having a lovely one-year anniversary giveaway. It ends on St. Patrick's Day, so you still have time to enter! I'm recuperating from yesterday, so I think I'm going to take a nap (and hope I don't get called to go back in to work)!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Another Bad One

It isn't often that I get two bad call shifts in the same week. This week was the exception. We're on call for 24 hours over the weekend, once every five to six weeks. Today is my day - I'm technically still on call until 7 tomorrow morning.

My last patient of the day was an emergency case flown in from a smaller hospital. The odds were stacked against her, and we all knew it. She would have known it, too, but she had already suffered a cardiac arrest and had been resuscitated, so she was still unconscious. If she had surgery, she probably wouldn't make it. If she didn't have surgery, she had no chance. There was really no choice.

So, we took her back, hoping for the best. And we worked and we worked and we worked, for hours. And, in the end, her poor little heart gave out. We couldn't save her.

When you lose a patient, even if you haven't cared for the patient for very long, the sadness is visceral. It hits you like a punch in the stomach. Except that the pain from the punch might go away in a few minutes, while the pain from the loss lingers for days or weeks. You go back over everything you did, over and over, wondering if there was anything else you could have done. Wondering if you could have changed the outcome.

I guess my face showed how I felt as we cleaned up the operating room after the case, because one of the nurses said to me, "Terri, you have to accept the fact that you do not have the final say over who lives or who dies!" And I know this. But knowing it doesn't help.

My feet hurt, my back hurts, my head hurts and my heart hurts. I'm going to bed. good night, all.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

French Cooking: Pate a Choux

One of my recent adventures in French cuisine is something I've actually known how to make since I was a child. However, they always turned out kind of soggy, so I haven't made them in years, because my husband has a severe phobia of soggy baked goods. I always thought the bakeries had a secret that kept their eclairs from turning soggy. Turns out, they do!
Look at those - aren't they gorgeous? Wouldn't you like to make them? And have them not turn out soggy? They're easier than you think. I got brave on Valentine's Day and made a batch for the hubs, and he loved them. Raved about them. Promised anything I wanted if I'd only make eclairs again.

You can find the easy technique I used here: - the instructions are very clear.

Oh, and if you don't want soggy eclairs, let them cool completely before filling. That's the secret! We were always too impatient for that, growing up!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

An Awesome Giveaway

My blog friend, Heidi, is giving away a box of awesome. How can you pass up a whole box full of awesome??? I could not, so I had to enter. You can check it out here: The DeCoursey Project Just think, you could be the winner! That would be awesome!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

V & Co Giveaway

Brutal call shift yesterday - I didn't get in until nearly one in the morning. I tried to get up at 4:45 a.m. to go to the gym with Melissa and just couldn't pull it together, so I begged off. (Sorry, Melissa!) In fact, although I am up and moving this morning, I am still in PJ's. :(

But, hey - at least I have the day off today. With pay. So, I can't whine too much!

And, I always love a quilt-related giveaway, so I have to tell you about the one over at V and Co.. She's hosting a sponsored giveaway by The Quilt Shoppe. The winner will get precut Moda fabric AND a $25 credit to spend on anything they like at The Quilt Shoppe. If you sew, or you know someone who does, check it out!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Julie/Julia Project

I just finished reading "The Julie/Julia Project" by Julie Powell. I know that this puts me behind the eight-ball. That book is sooo last year! But I am not a trendy person, and anyway this time last year I was a little bit preoccupied, with, you know, my graduate degree and the upcoming board exam, and little trivial details like that.

I enjoyed the book very much, but I'm a little bit ambivalent about some aspects of it. First, the author has a sailor's mouth. Now, I'm not a prude, but the people that I hang around with aren't usually given to gratuitous cursing. So that was a little bit off-putting.

Second, the author seems to care a great deal about a person's political leanings. Maybe that goes along with living in the Northeastern United States, though. Around here, we tend to vote more for the person and the issue than the political party, but maybe that's just my little group.

Finally, the author is just a little, well, whiny. I don't have any room to complain about that, though, because I have to confess that I'm rather whiny myself. Especially in the winter. Reading about her whininess reminded me uncomfortably of my own whininess, and made me resolve to do better. We'll see how long that lasts!

Those details aside, though, it was a good read. If you haven't read it, it might be worth hunting down a copy. And it made me want to cook! Specifically, it made me want to cook French food. Since I don't own any French cookbooks, I looked online for some simple recipes.

My first effort was Oeufs en Cocotte aux Fines Herbes. This is simply eggs baked in cream with herbs. I used fresh eggs from our own hens. Where have you been all my life, Oeufs en Cocotte aux Fines Herbes? You are delicious! And so easy! I found the recipe and tutorial here:

For dessert last night, I made Chocolat Pots de Creme - essentially a rich chocolate custard. Again, very simple and incredibly rich and delicious. Where have you been all my life, French food???? I found the recipe here:

I think I may need to travel to France. Purely for educational purposes, you understand. Because if the French food I can make in my little kitchen is this good, I might need to try the real thing!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Moving Audrey

I love roses. I know - they can be a pain to grow, and some varieties can be leggy and ugly. And I'm terrible at pruning. I wince and cringe with each cut, and after about three cuts I just give up. So I shouldn't grow roses, and I know this. But I buy rosebushes anyway.

And, given my wimpy nature with regard to pruning, I certainly shouldn't grow climbing roses. I know this, too. So, against all reason, I brought home a pretty little climbing rosebush two years ago and put it in the flower bed next to the house.

I had this image of a trellis, and greenery with yellow roses shading the porch on warm summer afternoons. I was going to sit out there with a cold drink and a book, and the fragrance of the roses all around me. It was a pretty fantasy.

The reality has been somewhat different. That rosebush hasn't produced a single rose. She has, however, produced dozens of horrible spiky branches that reach out and try to grab you as you carry groceries into the house. She grabs at the dogs as they go out the door, and she's even invaded the porch with her horrid spikes. I've named her Audrey.

Audrey was the carnivorous plant from The Little Shop of Horrors. While my rose bush hasn't eaten anyone (that I know of, although I haven't seen that skunk around here recently), she is a hazard. And she has to be moved.

I thought I'd wait until later in the spring to move her, but upon talking to some local gardeners who specialize in roses, it seems that you need to move the plant before a series of warm days in a row cause the sap to start running and the plant to come out of dormancy. We're expecting a warm-up this weekend, so Audrey must go to her new home before she gets too warm.

Wish me luck. And if you don't hear from me in a couple of days, send a rescue squad armed with hedge clippers and pruning shears!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Garden Dreaming

It's cold and rainy here today, and it will probably ice over tonight. But a person can dream, right?

These are just a few of the beautiful images I found on Google. Aren't they gorgeous?

Just look at all that lush green vegetation. Imagine carrying a picnic lunch to that little outcropping on a sunny spring day. I could just sit on those rocks like a lizard and soak up the sun!

And, of course, vegetables. The White House garden? Hopefully, it won't be a one-time thing.

Yes, garden season is coming - and it can't happen soon enough!

Monday, March 1, 2010


We're expecting snow here tonight. It's the first of March. If March comes in like a lion, in this case it's a cold lion.

So, we'll throw some extra feed in to the hens and sneak a bit extra to the horses, and hunker down inside to try to stay warm. And hope that this lion is followed closely by the lamb of spring!

Stay warm, everyone!