Monday, February 28, 2011

Red and White Kitchen: Take a look at this flooooooor!

This is from Pam's Retro Renovation blog site and it just makes me happy. Click the picture to learn more about this adorable, non-gutted kitchen with original cabinets.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Getting at a pituitary tumor via the scenic route

ISR: The patient is scheduled for a transanal craniotomy for tumor resection.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

So what was he like before?

"He is sleeping. He is much more alert and awake since I saw him last."

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

New Term of the Day

spigelian hernia: A specific kind of acquired ventral hernia.

Transcript of an actual conversation that took place in my house last night

ME: Please stir that while I pour this.
SOMEONE ELSE: What are you doing, anyway?
ME: Making soap.
SOMEONE ELSE: Why? Do we need soap?
ME: NO. But I need to make something. And I have all this tallow to use up.
SOMEONE ELSE: Guess that's why it smells like meat.


First of all, we don't always do things because we need to. Sometimes it's because we want to, because it's fun, or we need a creative outlet, or we just want to do something different from typing all day with children unexpectedly home on a snow day and then driving those same children to the pediatrician (the two other things I had to do yesterday). 

And second of all, YES, IT SORT OF SMELLS LIKE MEAT, but it won't when I'm done with it. 

So there.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Urban Homesteaders' Day of Action

Today is unofficially the Urban Homesteaders' Day of Action, when bloggers all over the place agreed to write about urban homesteading. Why? Because, to give you the short version, a family that has a website (which I'm not going to link to) about urban homesteading decided to trademark that phase, then sent letters out to other bloggers, websites, radio stations and even a city library telling them to stop using their trademark.

You can read a quick wrapup of the story here, and then if you want to take it further, a quick Google search on urban homestead trademark will get you much more. Or twitter hashtag #dumpthedervaes will give you a completely one-sided view (my side, so that's okay).

To me, this is just super stupid. It puts me in mind of when someone decided to trademark the phrase "shabby chic" and then shut down all kinds of vendors and designers who had been using the phrase for years. It'd be like if I decided I had made up "Shallow Thoughts" and trademarked it, and then went after all the blogs that have "shallow thoughts" in the title. (There are a lot of them.) This is not a plagiarism issue. They are not talking about out and out plagiarism of their websites, they are talking about the phrase and the concept of urban homesteading, which they most certainly did not make up. It's also about them being too proud to back down after doing something stupid and being confronted on it.

It doesn't help any that I have personal experience with the family who created this flap, and have never been impressed.

I also blame the trademark office. This request was turned down once; the family resubmitted and the second time it was accepted. Someone must have taken too much cold medication that day, or something, because it should never have been granted a trademark.

Anyway, in honor of the urban homesteaders out there, I am blogging about this issue as well.

Urban homestead.

Urban homestead.

Urban homestead.

If you need help talking to your kids about...

Star Wars.

Love the Yoda baby hat.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Is it supposed to do that?

"The colon was decompressed and removed from the patient."

The Obi110 and my quest for the perfect phone service

I'm looking into this with Google Voice. Anyone want to talk about it? (Don't worry about the price. When Amazon itself has it in stock, it's about $50.)

Specifically, I want a very simple, transparent setup, where I pick up my wireless handset and dial a number and a person picks up and talks to me. I don't want to mess with a "circle of trust" or calling special numbers or codes or whatever. I want it simple. Will I get that?

Catching up with Lily and Hope

The black bears have been busy this winter. In case you are not keeping track of them, Lily had cubs again this winter, in the den she shares with her daughter from last year, Hope. As no team has had the chance to observe something like this ever before, there were all kinds of questions, including would Lily be worried about having another bear near her new babies? Would Hope be willing to share her mommy with them? Would Hope be careful of the babies? Hope is rather famous for being a very rambunctious bear who loves to rough house.

As the weeks have passed, Lily and Hope's huge fan base has gotten to watch as the bear family settles in. The two little new cubs, a boy and a girl (as yet unnamed), are healthy and vigorous. Lily is a gentle and loving mother, and Hope is being an exemplary big sister. She still wants to nurse, and it has gotten worse since the new little ones came, but there is milk for everybody. She occasionally got a little jealous of the babies, but was really quite good. Lately she has been feeling very playful, and in the past few days, there has been lots of gentle wrestling between her and her mother, with the tiny cubs tucked carefully out of the way.

Then, with the past couple of days' warm spell in Northern Minnesota, the little ones suddenly started moving around more, because they were warm enough to get out of their mommy's fur and play a little, and Hope has been taking full advantage of the situation. She plays gently with the cubs as long as Lily will let her. Yesterday was a big play day for the three cubs. Lily kept the babies for most of the day! Very little complaint from the little cubs as their big sister mauled them around. I am astounded at how careful the big bears can be with their teeth, claws and paws.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Never thought I'd see the day.

My husband just asked to borrow my hunting knife.

New Term of the Day

Two days in a row! Great!

Today's term is pentalogy of Cantrell. I thought at first he was saying tetralogy of Fallot. Nope.

Monday, February 14, 2011

My new term for today

I love a job where, after 19 years, I'm still learning new things all the time.

Today's new word was the acronym RIPE, which stands for rifampicin, isoniazid, pyrazinamide and ethambutol therapy.

Progressive Snapshot LOL

Our car insurance is through Progressive. They just offered us a program where we could plug in this little monitoring device for 30 days and it would analyze our driving habits and MAYBE offer us a discount. It arrived in the mail Saturday morning and I plugged it right in.

And then Barry and Kieffer took the Escape out to do a photo shoot, and for some reason that nobody will tell me even now, they decided to drive the Escape down a snowmobile trail down the Winnebago Valley. And of course they got stuck. Of COURSE they got stuck. It's a SNOWMOBILE TRAIL, not a TWO-WHEEL-DRIVE FORD PASSENGER VEHICLE TRAIL. I had to take the Jeep out there to rescue them. And after they got the Escape unstuck, it got stuck AGAIN just maybe 10 minutes later. I was really, really, really not happy with them.

I just checked the data from the Snapshot device. Ugh. Why did I plug it in before they got the car stuck? It's showing all kinds of crazy driving data, hard stops, wild accelerations. Of course it all happened in a DITCH FULL OF SNOW, but the Snapshot doesn't know that, all it knows is that these people drive like maniacs and should probably pay MORE for their car insurance.

I did write to Progressive and begged them to disregard our first day's driving record, and they agreed to do that as a one-time concession. So if we do this again, tough noogies.

Hurry on in! Sam Walton's Making Craaaaazy Deals [UPDATED]

When apple cider is four bucks a gallon or under, I buy it. We love apple cider all year long. Good stuff.

The other day I was filling a Click and Pull shopping cart at Now Click and Pull is a great idea. You fill a shopping cart, place the order, and then the next day you pull your car up to the front door of the warehouse and they have it all waiting for you, ready to load, thus saving you shopping time time and helping you avoid impulse buys. They had Indian Summer apple cider, packs of 4 gallons, for $14.66. A good price. But then I realized it was not for pickup, it was for delivery. And delivery was included.

I didn't figure that could be right, but it was. I placed the order, and a few days later FedEx delivered a very heavy (38 pounds shipping weight) box containing 4 gallons of apple cider. I actually paid $15.69 for it (for some reason they charged sales tax, which I don't think was right). I imagine shipping that 38-pound box took at least $15 of that. I don't know how they did this, and I bet it won't last long, but what a deal it was. I think I may order more.

By the way, a couple of months ago Wal-Mart had what looked like gallon jugs of apple cider (or maybe it was apple juice) for under $4 - probably $3.67 or something like that. I was happy about that until I realized that it may have looked like a gallon jug, but it wasn't, it was a 3 quart jug. Sneaky. But these from Sam's are definitely full gallons.

Also Indian Summer's juices are all made from fruit grown in the USA. The Wal-Mart stuff, we noticed when we returned home, came from China. Hmmm. Maybe it's fine, but it raises my hackles none the less.


I really wondered about the sales tax (especially since I went back and ordered more and it added up to a bigger expense). I wrote to Sam's Club and asked about it and the response was, "Please be advised that all online orders that are being delivered are taxed."

That did NOT sound right. So I wrote to the tax offices at And I received the fastest response EVER in the history of government email service. Seriously. In fact I got two responses, one a very quick one with a link to a PDF to use to request a refund of the tax paid (!), and then a second a few minutes later with a little more discussion and the link again. I'm completely amazed. Astounded. Yet another reason to love Iowa.

So anyway, if you live in Iowa, and you are charged sales tax on something you shouldn't be, all you have to do is fill out this form and send it in with your receipts and you get the tax refunded. Is that cool, or is that cool? They ask that you save them up and send them in once a quarter. I can do that.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

"Milk of magnesia, tumbling bleeders p.o. q.8 hours p.r.n. constipation."

Friday, February 11, 2011

How to wai

I stumbled on this cute student-made video on the basics of the wai in several situations: When greeting a peer, when greeting an elder, when accepting a gift or a blessing from an elder, and when apologizing for crashing into somebody when you're digging in your purse and not watching where you are going. Cute kids, very nice job. :)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Cute Kitty Story

Yesterday I was transcribing a report on a very sick little baby, one of those that grabs your heart and runs it through a clothes wringer, the ones where you just have to stop and pray for the patient before going on. At some point I murmured to myself, "Oh, Baby," as the story unfolded. And I heard Beckham coming from somewhere in the house saying, "Mrow? Mrow?" He came in the office. "Mrow?" Jumped on my lap. "Mrow?" Looked earnestly into my face. "Mrow?" I didn't realize he associated "baby" with himself, but evidently he does.

I also would not have guessed he could be bothered to come check out why I called him, as normally he doesn't think it's worth his while.

Article on Skillset required for Speech Recognition Editing

Ava Marie George, president elect of AHDI, just published this article on the skills required to edit medical reports as voice to text files, as opposed to those required to transcribe them voice to text. I'm really happy about this article. She interviewed some colleagues of mine who have thought this through very carefully. This is very worth reading if you are interested in this subject in the least.

Let's Talk About: SRT Editing by Ava Marie George

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

So much wrong with this sentence

"This went directly into the CSF-oma, and 600 ml of CSF fluid were aspirated."

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Cigars don't count

"He quit smoking 1 year ago. Now he only smokes 2 cigars a day."

Small for gestational age

"The baby weighed 3340 mg." - A tired resident

Monday, February 07, 2011

State Speech (continued) and my Tooth

My wonderful dentist just replaced my missing tooth piece with a filling, and I'm all done. So all that worrying and fretting I did was for naught. And the cost was covered within a few dollars by an sale I made this morning, not too long before going to the dentist! God does provide.

Okay: All-State nominations are up. Kieffer's Finders Creepers is invited as a nonperforming guest, sort of an honorable mention; they get invited to the festival, but they don't get to perform. On the other hand, both of our radio "broadcasts" are invited as performers! (The radio shows are prerecorded.)

Two of my favorite performances that were not of Kee High are performing: For Reader's Theater, Dubuque Senior with "The Things They Carried" (about a platoon of infantrymen in Vietnam), and for Ensemble Acting, Decorah High, with "Women Must Weep" (about a ladies' sewing circle in a Confederate home just as the War Between the States is drawing to a close). I'm pleased to see the judges agreed with me on those. :)

Regarding "Women Must Weep," one of the young actresses held herself high and stiff, with her chin lifted proudly and her shoulders always square. You could almost see a stiff corset on her, the way she held herself. It was very effective. (Had I been the coach, I would have cut part of that little play, as I thought it was superfluous: The suspected infidelity of the young soldier. The simple fact that one of the women characters was a divorcee would have been scandalous enough at the time.)

State Speech (large group) and the Viral Gastroenteritis Diet

Saturday was State Speech in Decorah, Iowa. I dropped Kieffer off for his bus at about 6, then went home and washed dishes for a couple of hours till it was time for the rest of us to go. (Barry stayed home and wrote a paper instead.) I took Lil Miss A, and Britta and her "young man", Amadeus. It was a great day. I packed a picnic lunch to save money. Kieffer's group's short acting piece was really good. They keep getting better. I heard jokes that I had never been able to make out before, because they enunciated so clearly. It was funny and they scored a perfect score. There were lots of other interesting performances that I may talk about if I get the energy later but right now I don't have it, because...

as soon as we got home I embarked on the VGE Diet, the one where you lose 10 pounds in about 24 hours and then you don't feel like eating anything for another couple of days. I feel incredibly thin right now. :) Yes, it's fluids. Anyway I'm over it. As it turned out, Barry had already gotten it while at home, and then Kieffer woke up with it Sunday morning. Barry learned later that the entire nursing home had already gotten it. He may have even picked it up there, who knows. Anyway it's done.

I broke a tooth last week chomping on a Life Saver, and this afternoon I am going in to see what they can do about it. I had a root canal once and it seriously hurt worse than having a baby, only I didn't get anything nice at the end of it. I feel like I'd rather just have this tooth pulled if it needs a root canal. We'll see.

Friday, February 04, 2011

An understandable mistake

"The patient is now being transferred to the penitentiary - I mean, the assisted living facility."

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Turkey Revenge

I was amazed at my friend Cathy's feats of thrift with a turkey that she made 10 meals/uses of (read about it here), and when I received a Braised Balsamic Chicken Breast recipe as my daily recipe from, I decided today was the day to thaw a turkey and see what I could do. Mine was just a 12-pounder (or so). And it was frozen solid, and when I pulled it out of the deep freeze, the bag it was in broke and dropped it down onto my bare foot. Duh. That's what I get for walking around barefoot in February. Anyway it didn't even hurt for about 15 minutes and then WOW.

I thawed Mister Turkey in a stock pot filled with warm salt water. I don't know if that's an approved method but it works well and I like the combining of steps, a quick thaw and a brine soak. I just finished boning out the turkey and put the bones in a stock pot with more water, carrots, onions and celery, plus a bay leaf and salt and pepper, and it's cooking away there. Tonight I plan to use one of the breast halves to make the Balsamic Chicken Breast recipe (turkey breast makes a great chicken breast substitute, just slice it up in chicken-breast-sized pieces), and tomorrow I'll make Cathy's Sticky Chicken Wings recipe, only I'll use the boned leg meat, and the other chicken breast I'll season and bake to make sandwich meat. The stuff on the stove now will be soup for another meal. I won't get anywhere near 10 meals out of this bird, but should get at least 4 or 5, counting leftovers (chicken fried rice is a great way to use up a little bit of leftover chicken or turkey meat).

  • Braised Balsamic Turkey Breast
  • Sticky Turkey
  • Turkey sandwiches (2 meals' worth at least)
  • Turkey salad
  • Turkey Fried Rice
  • Turkey Soup
Balsamic Braised Whatever is delicious! Of course I realized I was short on many key ingredients so mine's different. Here is my version:

4 roma tomatoes, chopped
Basil, oregano and marjoram to taste
1/2 c. rice vinegar
1/4 c. sugar
4 turkey breast cutlets
1 onion, sliced thinly
olive oil
garlic powder

Toss the chopped tomato with the basil, oregano and marjoram. Add the vinegar and sugar; stir. Set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a heavy frying pan. Add the onion slices and sautee for a minute or two. Meanwhile, sprinkle the turkey cutlets with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Lay each one on top of the onions in the frying pan. Brown the turkey cutlets on both sides. Then spoon all the tomato mixture on top of them, turn the heat down to low and let the mixture simmer till the turkey meat is no longer pink in the middle.

Serve with rice and orzo, with green beans on the side. Makes 4 servings.