Thursday, May 29, 2008

at the bottom of it all...

....I posted a pix of our cats.

Medical Curve Ball

Just when I'm totally convinced that our medical establishment is designed to be so completely hostile that more and more people will stay home and be sick as a preferable alternitive to running the gauntlet to seek medical care, I have this experience:

I arrive at my Dr's office about 4 minutes before my appointment, because I know there is no use to showing up early. I sign in and sometime between being asked to confirm my address for the third time in 4 days and handing over my copay check, I realise that there is someone standing at my elbow. I turn and find.....

A Nurse, with an clipboard computer! She looks right at me and smiles. "As soon as you are through there, we're ready for you." You coulda knocked me over with a fender. I made a joke about how I could not possibly be ready to see the doctor for at least 1/2 hour, and we laughed politely, and went right on back to a patient room.

After we dispense with the BP, temp, pulse, hop-on-the-scale routine, and I start in on telling her why I'm here, she stops me; "Why don't you tell Dr. - He's standing outside the door waiting for me to finish.

No. Way. This. Is. Happening.

Now I have to tell you, my family doctor is one hard working guy. He's good at what he does, but working for a big clinic that is owned by a big insurance company that ensures mostly government employees Guarantees that he will be vastly overworked. But somehow...not today.

Doc walks right in, sits down, we chat about this nasty staph infection, he tortures me to the point of nearly puking, and advises me to return on Monday for more torture. By 20 minutes past my appointment time I'm walking out the office door to the appointment desk. 45 minutes after my appointment time, I make it home.

One Sure Thing----> that will never happen again.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Movin' out

After living not quite 6 months at home after graduation, Meredith is picking up keys to an apartment on 7th street today. The life of a hip, happening young professional is incompatable with living with the 'rents - mainly because those people insist, even when our kids are adults, on calling them on their BS and having 'house rules' that have to be kept. How boring is that.

In many ways it will be good to get back to just two adults and one (somewhat more impressionable) teen at home. At the very least, I'll have a 33% better chance of finding my stuff where I left it.


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Tiny Little Army that is Out To Get You!

It all started with a small bite, or perhaps an ingrown hair. Last Thursday while sleeping I scratched it and noticed a sting. My fingernail may have even introduced the germ.

By Saturday morning a nasty red pustule had formed on my upper torso, under my arm. I applied heat, ice, and a little judicious pressure to get the gunk out, and fully expected it to go away.

Sunday morning I had a patch of cellulitis the size of a playing card – time for some medical intervention. For our insurance there are a few hoops I have to jump to get to a doctor. First I call TeleNurse, and wait for her to call back. This makes ‘home’ the first waiting room. ½ hour later it takes me all of three minutes to convince her to put the Golden Ticket of a referral to the Prompt Care Clinic into the master computer that controls all of my medical benefits. Then I drive to the Prompt Care, and wait again. An hour later a nice lady calls my name, and I make it to the last waiting room, a patient room. Twenty minutes later a nice woman Doctor shows up, has a look at the nasty boil and decides what needs to be done. An hour after that, I limp out of the clinic (Why am I limping, this has nothing to do with either of my legs!) with a bandage over the newly-drained hole in my side, and a ‘script for a powerful antibiotic.

Monday morning, after a dubious night’s sleep, I wake to find that the angry red cellulitis is now the size of a checkbook, swollen, rock-solid, and yet another icky pustule has formed. So, this being a Holiday, when we return to the queue of medicine it moves at a much slower pace. Telenurse: well over an hour, and two phone calls to remind the operator that we’re still waiting… Two hours in the waiting room at the Prompt Care with various dozens of other sick and suffering folks… 15 minutes for the Doctor to show up, and decide to do the procedure all over again in the new spot… And ½ hour to wait for a procedure room that has the equipment for the upcoming torture.

These sudden skin infections used only be seen in elderly, infirm, or hospitalized patients. The over-use of antibiotics in our society, both in human and animal food sources has encouraged several strains of super bugs that are able to enter the body through tiny breaches in our defenses, and grow very, very quickly even in healthy individuals, like me. The Doctors I spoke with routinely see 1 or 2 cases like mine every day now – whereas only 5 years ago this was a rare thing, and they may have done some blood testing to check me for immune impairment. The lady Doctor I saw Sunday told me this stuff was rampant in High School wrestling because of the skin contact, and they have started seeing it more in day care children.

Google ‘MRSA’ to read more about just one type that the medical communities are battling.

Update: My actual family Doctor has an open appointment for me on Wednesday to have this wick drain taken out and the whole shebang rechecked. Isn't that nice? Since his wife/partner retired from practice last year it has been very difficult to get an appointment that isn't 3 months out. Is it any wonder that avoiding doctors is a hobby of mine?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Homeschool Activity Fair '08

I called the library tonight and booked the two big adjoining meeting rooms for the 3rd annual Spfld Homeschool Activity Fair. It’s an event where I try and get everyone who has some sort of activity/class/club they want to offer to hsing families all in one room on one night, and then get the families to come and sign up. This will be the third and last year where I, as a committee of one, will put this party together. There are a few things that experience has taught me will happen:

1) No matter when I set the dead-line for presenters, about 20% of the people will miss it – and still expect to get table space and a blurb in the hand outs. I will get them table space, and take the hand-outs to the printer at the last second to avoid leaving the slackers out. I’m just a nice person.
2) I will get lots of suggestions but no volunteers.
3) There will be complaints about everything costing too much. People complaining that there aren’t enough free activities won’t be the ones volunteering their time to keep other family’s costs down.
4) Some new homeschool mom will come in the door and see everyone and start crying, because she suddenly doesn’t feel so alone.
5) When it’s over I’ll be glad I did it, but glad it’s done.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Hobbittown Smash

For a bit here, we’ll change from a laundry blog to a cooking blog. I got this recipe from a lovely hobbit lady who runs a small tavern and eating spot in Hobbittown. We all know that Hobbits live close to the earth, and use lots of root veggies in their diet. This casserole’s classic comfort-food yummyness and ability to keep well in a warm oven makes it a perfect lunch, dinner, supper, or even second breakfast offering.

Peal, pare, and boil in salted water until barely tender:

6 medium potatoes (if skins are nice, leave some intact)

2 large turnips

1 large sweet potato

4 large carrots

1/3 head cauliflower

While those are boiling, brown, and drain ( I used leftover Italian Beef in this step):

¾ to 1 pound lean hamburger

Salt, pepper, garlic to taste

1 medium onion

Microwave or cook until barely done

1 ½ to 2 cups fresh or frozen of EITHER

Sweet corn or green beans or peas or chopped broccoli

When the root veggies in pot are done, drain off all water and let them sit and steam-dry for 2 minutes. Then add:

1 packet of buttermilk ranch dressing mix

3 TBS butter

Salt and pepper to taste

(1-2 TBS of your favorite herb mix)

Mash or whip with enough milk/cream to make a spreadable, but slightly lumpy mixture.

Assemble in a large, greased casserole dish as follows:

Layer ½ of the mashed veggies, cover with meat mixture, and cooked veggies, plus

1/2 cup cheddar cheese

Cover with remainder of the mashed veggies, leaving peaks and valleys to brown, sprinkle top with

½ cup cheddar cheese

Cook in 325 oven for at least 45 minutes, or up to 2 hours. Feeds about 6 or so with a green salad and bread. Keeps well for latecomers. Makes good left-overs.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Various Observations

~Congratulations to all my young friends who are graduating from various things.

~If I had three more pets, I'd never get to sit down. I'd spend 100% of my day walking from door to door letting four-footed, pain-in-the-rumps enter and exit this time of the year. Really what they want is me to be outside celebrating spring with them. Sometimes I want to be inside.

~The 'Geezers' still have it: At the end of year Scholastic Bowl Party a team of parents, whom the students named 'the Geezers', beat the students 305 to 247. There were only two toss-up questions someone didn't answer correctly. Good pizza, too.

~Spring has sprung, and the dangerous part of the pollen season is past - no ER visits for asthma attacks!

~Unless a Pot of Gold falls from the sky, a weekend trip to Chicago will be our vacation trip for the summer. I'm trying to figure out how to make the best of it.


Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day outing

I Went out with my crew last night. I treated myself to my first Guinness Draught since we were in Edinburgh a year ago. It's good stuff. I'm not a beer drinker in general - I have a hard time getting by an American beer's smell. A Guinness is a different beverage altogether. As you can see from my pix, it is very dark- almost black, and when served has a creamy head of foam. It has tastes of roasted malts, bitter chocolate, coffee, and an oddly sweet bit, sort of like molasses. It's not so heavy as you might imagine, but I'd never try to drink it with anything sweet. It's a match for salty foods.

At only 4% alcohol it is weak enough to sip all evening and never get a buzz, and at 198 calories in 20 oz, and 18 g carbs - less than a coke - it's a beverage even a teetotaler might take a shot at.

I had a plate of corned beef and cabbage with my Guinness for the fully Irish experience.

Garrett- What's the Irish equivalent of 'Slange!' ?


Saturday, May 10, 2008

Mother's Day Gift

See anything gift-like here? Ah, that's because you're not looking close enough. My DH replaced the low-end kitchen sink faucets we put in when we built with some really snazzy ones. You may find this surprising, but he did it almost all by himself, and the two small leaks have been easily repaired.

Edit: Three, and the last was a bit of a bugger. The next one will be fixed by Collins Plumbing and Heating

Cheers! ~M.E.

Thursday, May 8, 2008


The last day of the art history class was today. Discovering Great Artists (Fondly called DGA) Was very enjoyable for all of us. The art display today featured about 70 pieces from 13 kids. I was so proud of them! There was some real talent shown in that room today. It was my favorite class to have taught so far.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Allergy Season

Someone came home late (Tuesday) evening, spent 20 minutes careening through the house like a blind buffalo (looking for her telephone...) - her eyes streaming with histamine filled tears, and lungs starting to gasp. Looks like the mulberries (beeches, ashes, lindens - you name it.) are pollinating again.

The other allergy sufferers have all been on allergy shots and their seasonal symptoms have vastly lessened. They are soundly sleeping. 1 am and I'm doodling with this persleckeda computer - killing time instead of sending up ZZZ's, waiting to see if tonight is the night for our Annual Allergy Emergency Room Pilgrimage.

It's just easier than being awakened at 2:30 AM.


Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Yom, Compromise, and obsessing again.

I've been obsessing. I didn't even wait for my copy of "A Biblical Case for an Old Earth" to show up in the mailbox. Having the internet handy can be a curse.

It’s about ‘Yom’…

One little word in Hebrew: It can mean day, as in - the day is hot. It can mean an unspecified period of time, as in – the time Solomon ruled was 40 years. It can also mean a single year, or all the years in the future. I read that the ancient Hebrew of the OT had only about 5700 different words. They had to get a lot of mileage out of each of them. As long as YEC’s (Young Earth Creationists) cling to YOM as a single, 24 hour day they don’t have to consider another thing, from their pov.

It’s also about the definition of idea of there being no death before sin. It seems that the early Christian Fathers assumed that meant no human death. (But then again, the Church Fathers fought about the ‘days of creation’ too…) The young earth crew claims that nothing that was created died before Original Sin. I found nothing in Genesis 1-3 that stated that no animals died before Original Sin, and certainly the bacteria that was in Adam’s and Eve’s guts helping them digest their food was multiplying and dying at the same rapid pace it does in every human.

It’s about compromise. YEC are exhorted to never, ever compromise on Biblical truth. That’s a good thing. Then they are told that the Bible clearly tells us that the Earth came into being in October of 4004 B.C., and anyone who questions this rock-solid fact is a compromised, and not a true Christian brother or sister. That’s a bad thing. I never read in the NT that Salvation comes from my faith in Christ, AND that I believe that creation occurred 6000 years ago.

One tiny example: tree ring dating.

Using cores from very old living trees and overlapping cores from older dead trees, tree rings from the deserts in California can be traced back over 11,000 years. I’m not saying the Earth is 11,000 years old, I’m saying that people with no interest in this little argument, lining up pieces of wood and counting rings (very low-tech) tell us it is at least 11,000 years old. YEC's have to turn a blind eye, or explain away dozens of these types of examples.

I could go on like this, but no one is listening. I've been praying to gain wisdom. I've read Genesis 1-3, very slowly, in three English translations. I've read the Wiki, along with following a lot of the links, for multiple beliefs. (very well done, I might add) I've dug out and read the two kid's books that spout YEC we have lying around here, and I've browsed Hugh Ross's "The Creator and the Cosmos" I'm tired.

Creation is more mind-boggling than any human can imagine – both on microscopic and universal scales. Genesis tells us almost nothing about how this all happened, but I trust God has told Moses all we needed to know at the time – and is having a great time letting us figure out the rest.

My Current Working Hypothesis:

I Do Not Know How God Created Everything– but I will keep my mind open to the wonders around me, and that will make me very unpopular in some social circles.


Monday, May 5, 2008

Laundry Hint #2

This is shortly becoming a laundry blog. Yesterday a chap-stick went through the drier with a load of Hannah's clothing. Included were two of the blouses I had recently purchased. I rarely buy clothing, so I found this a wee upsetting. After trying a couple of things, and two re-washes later I remembered that goo-gone removes wax and grease from washable clothing. DUH. It finally came out - so I thought I'd remind you all. I bet DJ knew that.

Nothing interesting to write today. Life's all about dragging the kid hither and yon, and cleaning up after other people.


Friday, May 2, 2008

TP Done

TeenPact is 'mostly' done for the year. I'm typing along here while waiting for time to go and pick Hannah up from the last class. It was enjoyable after having the break. Hannah liked it mostly for the same reason Meredith did. She was able, for a whole week, to hang out with kids her own age and talk about real stuff.

The Uber-Conservative Young Earth crowd are still attending in abundance. One young lady who stayed with us asked very directly if Harry was a 'creationist' the second she heard he was a scientist. I affirmed that, yes, he is a strong Christian believer. She persisted in asking if he believed 'what the Bible says about creation' (emphasis hers) and without changing expression much I told her that he'd love to talk to her about that, if she had time she should ask.

I see that World Mag this week has a snippet about a book by David Snoke Ph.D. (Physics) on the subject. I've seen what astronomer Dr. Hugh Ross ( Creator and The Cosmos) has to say, but I think I'll order Snoke's "A Biblical Case for an Old Earth' just to see his take on it.

If anyone knows of a Young Earth resource written by someone with current, high-caliber scientific credentials in a related field (astronomy, physics, geology, etc.) let me know. I'd like to take a look.