Tuesday, May 29, 2007

My First Earthquake

I knew it!...but I didn't know for certain. Last night about 9pm, I was writing an email to a friend when the whole house shook...for only about 3 seconds. I thought maybe a large truck drove by with a huge load, a house exploded or an asteroid fell in the back yard. The thought of an earthquake crossed my mind too, but not until well after I was looking out all the windows to see which house exploded. I went to the bedroom to see if Ivan felt it. He was already asleep and didn't get awoken by it, so you know, it wasn't *that* bad. I forgot about it until today when I hear a blurb on the tele about "last night's earthquake". Yay! I'm no longer a virgin. Here's the snippet from the Salt Lake Tribune:

The University of Utah Seismograph Stations confirms the southern portion of the Salt Lake Valley was hit by a mild earthquake last night. Seismologists place the magnitude of the temblor at 2.3. There were numerous reports of it being felt by residents of West Jordan and South Jordan, about 13 miles southwest of Salt Lake City. No injuries or property damage were reported in the quake, which was recorded at 9:05 p.m. Monday night.
We're in South Jordan, so yay! By the way, when it happened, the deep shaking and rumbling made my brain visualize tornado inverting into the Earth, like I was getting sucked in. Hmmm...maybe I wasn't too far off? Hold onto your hats, this could be the biggun'!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

The Granola Experiment

The challenge -- Apple Cinnamon Granola and Tropical Granola. The hypothesis assumes that two very different granolas can be made from the same base recipe (a FoodNetwork.com favorite).

Here are the formula variations as I created them:

Formula 1 -- Apple Cinnamon Granola
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup slivered almonds
1 cup cashews
1 cup shredded sweet coconut
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon Penzey's baking spice
1 cup dried apples, cut up
1 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts, coconut, brown sugar and spices. In a separate bowl, combine maple syrup, oil, and salt. Combine both mixtures and pour onto 2 sheet pans. Cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes to achieve an even color. (I usually cook it longer to bring out more toasted flavor. Your mileage may vary.) Remove from oven and transfer into a large bowl. Add apples and raisins and mix until evenly distributed.

Formula 2 -- Tropical Granola
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup slivered almonds
1 cup cashews
1/2 cup macadamia nuts, chopped
1-1/2 cup shredded sweet coconut
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup pineapple syrup
1/2 cup crushed pineapple 1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup dried Sunsweet Mangoes, chopped
1 cup dried banana chips

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts, coconut, and brown sugar. With a can of crushed pineapple in syrup, drain the syrup from the can so that you have 1/2 cup of pineapple syrup. Then measure out 1/2 cup of crushed pineapple. Combine the pineapple syrup and solids with the oil, and salt. Combine both mixtures and pour onto 2 sheet pans. Cook for approximatelyl 2 hours, stirring every 15 minutes to achieve an even color. Remove from oven and transfer into a large bowl. Add fruit and mix until evenly distributed.

Conclusion
While both formulas exhibit a pleasing taste and a good amount of crunch, the tropical granola is by far the crowd favorite. Future experiments would have me altering the forumulas in this manner:

Formula 1: adding much more cinnamon and using a crunchy apple chip rather than the Nerf-like apple chunks often found in dried apples.

Formula 2: I'm not sure that the pineapple syrup really adds any additional tropical flair. I would, alternatively, opt for a dried pineapple chunks to be added as with the other fruits. Oh, also, I think putting in some additional un-cooked coconut may also bump up the tropical tastiness.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Miscarriage Memories

I've received several emails about the miscarriage I mentioned in the last post. I thought I had mentioned it before, but apparently not. It was several years ago, so for historical purposes, here's the full story as I remember it...

First off, I didn't know I was pregnant, so it wasn't huge emotional issue for me. As I've grown older and haven't carried a pregnancy to full term, the emotion of it has grown with time.

I was at work when the pain struck me. I sat at my desk and thought, "Crap, this is a really bad cramp." I wasn't a stranger to unusual period behavior, so I thought nothing of it. I hurried to the bathroom to take care of "business". While I was in there, the pain increased and I started to bleed very heavily. Again, I was used to heavy periods, so no major worries aside from the fact that it was a really sudden ocurrence rather than minor bleeding followed by major gushes. So, there I sat in the stall. Passing chunks. (Excuse my ummmm...grossness... it's just the facts, Jack.) After a few minutes, I looked into the toilet to see a white ball about the size of a large egg yolk floating in the blood. I thought, "This looks important." You know, when you have a cancerous tumor that falls ino the toilet, you should probably pick it up and take it with you. So, I reached in an picked it out. Just then, someone else came into the bathroom. Dang. Poor timing. My hands are covered with blood and I need to get out of there with the "tumor." I rushed out of the stall and quickly grabbed some paper towels, wrapped up the "tumor" in the towels and put it in my cleavage. Yes, a perfect hiding spot! I washed my hands and rushed back to my desk. I called my boyfriend and said, "Come and get me NOW." I'm pretty sure my "NOW" was convincing. I did briefly say that I either just passed a tumor or had a miscarriage. I'm sure I said both of those quietly so that my cube-mates couldn't hear me, so chances are, the bf probably didn't hear me either.

Twenty minutes or so quickly went by and my boyfriend was out front and was pickin' me up. I'm sure I had a pretty panicked look so the bf was freakin' out in his own way. Upon the drive back home, I had THE worst pain I've ever experienced. It was akin to a knife being jabbed in my gut and being twisted back and forth. Another chunk of goodness was on its way out. It was a biggin'!

Upon arriving home, I went to the bathroom just off the kitchen. I took the toweled prize from between my breasts and carefully unwrapped it. Now that it was slightly dried off, the "tumor" was quite apparent to be an amniotic sac. Still intact and filled with fluid, I was able to press the bubble to expand the tissue and peer inside to see the tiny little embryo. When it wasn't stretched, you couldn't see through it...unlike the "National Geographic" type photos of embryos would have you believe. In fact, when the sac was in liquid much as it would be within the womb, the fuzzy tissue on the outside of the sac made it look like an off-white jellyfish or something like that. Your sac may be different, but this is what my body developed... I spent a good deal of time peering at the embryo which was maybe the size of a lima bean. It was a very white little creature. The eyes were still slightly on either side of the head. The arms and legs were tiny.

I took the sac and put it in a little Tupperware container and put it in the fridge. (Yeah, I know, kinda gross, but the scientist in me was pretty pleased.) I called the doctor and set up an appointment for the following morning. After calling I went back and forth to the fridge to take extra looks to investigate the curiousity.

Jump ahead 12 or so hours and I'm at the doctor...doing the whole stirrup thing and showing the doc my proud little Tupperware find. I was told that expelling a whole amniotic sac is pretty unusual and she was pretty pleased to see it herself...so much so, that she took it away and I never saw my little embryo again. I did get some good news 'cuz I thought that I spontaneously aborted due to my weight, and the doc informed me that wasn't the case. She's seen women much larger give birth. She said that the real trick with most infertile women is just *getting* pregnant. Oh, another good thing...apparently I had a "complete" miscarriage. When I was in the car, I was passing a big ol' placenta. Oftentimes women have incomplete spontaneous abortions and they need to have D&Cs to remove any remaining tissue. So, all in all, a good experience. In addition, I wasn't treated like a fat freak which is always a bonus.

Later that day, I received a call and found out that I would need a shot. Whee! Turns out I'm Rh negative. So, a shot in the bum and I was pretty much done with this whole situation. I was informed at the time that I would need to have RhoGAM shots anytime I got pregnant to avoid the conflict of blood types that happen with rh- mothers with their fetuses.

FLASH FORWARD. When I was diagnosed with being hypo-thyroid, so many bells went off in my head. While I was pregnant, I was extremely cold. It was a really hot, hot summer, so there was no reason for it aside from the fact that I was probably hypothyroid at the time and the pregnancy was exacerbating it. I suffered from a lot of the other hypothyroid symptoms during and after the miscarriage, but you know, when they're not bad enough to completely ruin your life, you don't pay much attention to 'em. At least I don't.

So, there you have it in a wee nutshell.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Birth Certificates for Stillborns?

As you've probably heard, there are many states trying to pass legislation which would allow parents to request birth certificates for stillborn babies. I'm torn on this. Probably because it is such an emotionally charged issue -- how horrible would it be to carry a baby to full term only to have it born dead? From the statistics I reviewed, about 25,000 babies a year are born dead. A much larger number than I would have imagined.

Currently, from what I've read, parents receive a death certificate, but not a birth certificate. Here's where I can see the line is already being crossed. If the parents receive a death certificate, they should certainly receive a birth certificate, too, as the implication of the death certificate is that the baby was alive.

Removing the emotional constraints, I would say that there are two realistic options: 1. a birth & death certificate issued 2. Neither certificate should be issued.

This brings to mind also at what point should the birth/death certificate be issued? Most of the states are considering 20 weeks. Why not less? When I had a miscarriage several years ago, the fetus developed to 8 weeks. It was the size of a lima bean when I passed it. It had two eyes...granted they were on oposite sides of the head, but still. It was living tissue prior to coming out of me, right? What if it's only 1 week along, and I pass it just as a heavy period? Should I get a certificate then? Oh, and you know if fetuses prior to full term will be allowed to have birth certificates there will be HUGE issues opened up with regard to abortion rights. I don't need to go there. I'm guessing they are picking 20 weeks because there are fetuses that have survived being born prematurely at 21 weeks. Of course that's not a common thing. Most fetuses need to be older in order to be viable, so I think they're dreamin' up that number.

In my bean, I'm guessing that to be a viable fetus, they would need to be 30 weeks old for the majority to surivive with today's technology. So, going back to my conclusion -- again removing the emotional constraints -- I would say that there are two realistic options: 1. a birth & death certificate issued for fetuses older than 30 weeks OR 2. Neither certificate should be issued.

What do you think?

Monday, May 21, 2007

Me. By Gosh. It's soooo me.

I'm sure I can't be the only one online to get sucked into taking the "online quiz". You know, it helps me know where I really stand in this world. Of course sometimes, it helps me to figure out my best sleeping position, too. Heavy hitting stuff, I tell ya. So, to cover all of my bases, I've kept my online test results in a draft folder to someday use on my site. Now, I'm opening the vault to openly share all of myself with you...my one faithful reader. Without further ado, I give you...well, me...in a painfully accurate nutshell:

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Dried Fruit Goodness

Sunsweet Cherries, Mangoes and Blueberries are yum-diddly-dum-dum! I was looking for some new fruit to add to my granola and came across these beauties today. OH MY GAWD. They are soft and chewy and gooey! If you've ever had the Williams-Sonoma tart dried cherries, the cherries are DEFINITELY for you! I have loved 'em for years, but most grocery store varieties are bland yet sweet. These are tarty tart and sweet to boot. They will be perfect in the Williams Sonoma Chocolate Cherry Chunk Cookies recipe that I haven't made in eons 'cuz the good cherries are so hard to find. The blueberries are like super soft raisins...not like the hard nubs ones that one typically finds. The mango is super softly-chewy, huge strips, and dang yummy, too! They had a Berry Blend that I passed on...but I will be going back for. It has Blueberries, Bing Cherries, Raspberries, Cranberries and Red Tart Cherries. Save some for me!

One down...Many More Will Follow

With the death of Jerry Falwell today, I feel a weight has been lifted from my moral compass. There's one less dark leader -- an evil-doer masquerading as the religious righteous. Ah, you know at times I think it's wrong to be happy for a death. In this case, while I feel for his family's loss, I'm quietly hoping that there is a hell whilst confident that if there is one, Mr. Falwell is on his way for a visit.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Found, Read and Agreed

I thought I'd share a few thoughts once in a while which ring true in my wee little skull. While I may or may not agree with these entirely, I hope you're able to take a portion of it to mind as I have. Today's entry:

Ten Rules for Being Human by Cherie Carter-Scott
  1. You will receive a body. You may like it or hate it, but it's yours to keep for the entire period.
  2. You will learn lessons. You are enrolled in a full-time informal school called, "life."
  3. There are no mistakes, only lessons. Growth is a process of trial, error, and experimentation. The "failed" experiments are as much a part of the process as the experiments that ultimately "work."
  4. Lessons are repeated until they are learned. A lesson will be presented to you in various forms until you have learned it. When you have learned it, you can go on to the next lesson.
  5. Learning lessons does not end. There's no part of life that doesn't contain its lessons. If you're alive, that means there are still lessons to be learned.
  6. "There" is no better a place than "here." When your "there" has become a "here", you will simply obtain another "there" that will again look better than "here."
  7. Other people are merely mirrors of you. You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects to you something you love or hate about yourself.
  8. What you make of your life is up to you. You have all the tools and resources you need. What you do with them is up to you. The choice is yours.
  9. Your answers lie within you. The answers to life's questions lie within you. All you need to do is look, listen, and trust.
  10. You will forget all this.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mom's Day

I've gotten off pretty easy these last 18 or so Mother's Days. I haven't had to hunt down flowers on a Sunday afternoon, fight off the crowds at the restaurants, or find some kitschy little diddledoo to give her as a token of my appreciation. Pretty dang easy! I thought, however, that I'd give a little list of credits for my mum this year.

In no particular order:
  • She taught me to be level-headed yet fiesty when I need to be.
  • She taught me that anything is possible with a sewing machine.
  • She taught me to burn the midnight oil to meet deadlines. A certain "I can do it" attitude that shows at the very last minute before a deadline. Oh, and procrastination was a good thing.
  • Mom taught me to rely upon her for validation of my creative endeavors. No, not a good thing really, especially since she's been gone for 18 years, but I rely upon friends/family and especially the internet community to do that now. See, this whole website? Yeah, it's all about validation. Well, not *all* about it, but I think deep down it really is part of it. :-)
  • She taught me that being honest was essential.
  • Mom loved reading and it took away attention from me. Consequently, I'm not really fond of reading fiction. Yeah, another bad thing, but it makes me part of who I am.
  • Mom showed me how to be creative.
  • While she wasn't much of an adventurous cook (just how many things can one make with hamburger?), she did teach me quite a few things that has helped me out through the years.
  • She told me that the kids who made fun of me were the ones with the problem. That they were trying to drag me down to their level. This is KEY. A key *a-ha* type thing. This is probably THE thing that has helped me maintain my sanity and level-headedness over the years.
So, on that note, Thanks mom!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Botox. Cosmetic?

Botox, you hear a lot about it, but do you really know what it is? Have you ever heard of botulism? It's a serious medical condition that can occur after consuming food bourne botulin toxins. A type of food poisoning. Ever heard of people being afraid of home canning? What are they afraid of? Well, for one thing, botulism. If you can food that's low in acid, a can of corn for instance, and you do a basic water-bath during the processing, it's not going to be safe to eat 'cuz the low acid food will still contain some bacteria that will produce the botulin toxins as they sit on a shelf. It doesn't really change the taste of the food, so you don't know that the can has gone bad until...until...until you suffer a nervous system break down called botulism. Anyway, bad stuff, right?

Well, while doing a search for "botulism" come to find out that Botox IS the botulinum toxin. It's injected in small doses under the skin. How scary is that? They use it for the lines between the eyebrows, to stop underarm sweating, etc. How does it do all this, you might ask? Basically it works locally in your system to interrupt the nerves that work the muscles between the eyebrows, and in the case of the sweaty pits, it temporarily blocks the nerves that stimulate the sweat glands. Yum.

I'm thinking that as a side job this summer, I'm going to non-preserve some crushed tomatoes, put it on a shelf for a couple of months. Then, when it's all good and toxic, I'll sell it as a Botox alternative. Or "Botoxal®". Yeah, I like the ring of that. "Just slather Botoxal® on your forehead and in your arm pits. It'll work reaaaaal niiiice. "

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Not for Mothers Everywhere

Contrary to the advertising I've been seeing/hearing... not every mother wants a pink camera for Mother's day. Don't believe the advertising. They're just trying to clearance out the pink crap that no one is buying. Capice? *ahem* That being said, I'm sure there are plenty of women out there who appreciate pink cameras. Most of them are named Elle Woods, Attorney at Law.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Coffee in Utah

It's taken pretty seriously, this liquid. Especially by the LDS / Mormon Church. Apparently there's a HUGE hubbub going down over t-shirts which depict the hand of god pouring coffee into the angel Moroni statue. The angel Moroni is atop all of the LDS temples, so it may or may not be familiar to you. Anyway, the Church has cried fowl and suggested that the the use of the angel Moroni statue is copyright infringement. Huh.

A couple of things -- 1. What is it about idolizing false idols that the church rails against? Oh, yeah, that. Seems a bit odd that they would be upset about the use of an "idol" on a t-shirt. 2. Secondly, if the church has actually copyrighted the image of the angel Moroni, isn't it something created and not divine?

Seriously, the bottom line more than likely isn't that there is truly copyright infringment, but because the church has billions of dollars at its disposal it is able to push it's weight to prevent a parody of anything they find offensive. It's not about the statue. It's about the coffee being closely tied to the church.

Given the resources that the church has and the fact that the coffee shop "Just Add Coffee" is just one little shop up the street from me, the guys have decided to change their t-shirt design. (The new one is pictured on the right). It now states, "The Lord Giveth and A Church Taketh Away." with a picture of God's hand pouring coffee into a trumpet. Of course it's not Moroni's trumpet...or is it??