Dr. Ava

During our simulation lab trainings in nursing school, we use real equipment to take care of high-tech mannequins. The copious amounts of medical supplies that never touch a real human but end up in the trash have always made my environmentalist spine twitch. So, I took to using urine catchment cups for salad dressing in my sack lunches, and Foley catheter bags to substitute for camel backs…  Then I learned that my niece had started playing doctor after a recent hospital visit. I rescued some of the safe and clean land-fill destined medical supplies and loaded them into a small black leather handbag from a thrift-store. I can’t lie. It was her favorite birthday gift.

I may not have influenced this little girl to be a doctor instead of a Disney princess when she grows up, but I do take pride in the fact that she slings a doctor bag over her shoulder when she heads out to the ball.

Here are some pictures of us playing together over Christmas:

The above collage is from my sister’s website

Fake skin recipe:

I made some flubber out of Metamucil and water, and we pretended it was skin in order to do some surgeries. Here’s the recipe for flubber, which can be made in about 10 minutes on the stove or in the microwave:

  1. In a saucepan mix about 1/2 tablespoon of Metamucil (or generic substitute) with 1 cup water. The quantities can easily be doubled or tripled. Add food coloring. I didn’t add any coloring so it would most closely resemble skin. Remember this is totally edible, so you could add a little powdered drink mix or flavored gelatin for color and flavor.
  2. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring continuously. Reduce heat to medium-high and continue stirring until it becomes thick and rubbery and is no longer sticky. The longer you cook it, the more stiff and rubbery it will become.
  3. Carefully pour (or flop) the hot flubber onto a plate or cookie sheet to cool. For skin, use a spatula to spread it into a thin layer while it is still hot.
  4. Let it cool before playing with it. Ideally it should not be sticky at all. If it is still sticky, plop it back into the sauce pan and cook it down a little more.
  5. Now you are ready to create tumors and moles and fake skin. Let the abdominal surgeries begin!

bubbles.

I’m glad my mom values family memories more than time spent cleaning a gallon of soapy water off her hard wood floors.

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Our recipe of choice was: 1 gallon water + 1 cup Joy dish soap + 2 Tbs glycerin.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t cold enough to get the bubble to freeze outside. But, we did develop some pretty impressive skills with our wands made from string and straws.

Next I want to try out this recipe: 12 cups water + 1 cup dish soap + 1 cup corn starch + 2 Tbs baking powder.


Owen, WI

I am slowly making my way thought photos from Christmas in Wisconsin. Here are some from a visit to Grandma & Gramps’ in Owen. They were both born and raised in this small town of just under 1,000 people.

I went with just my sibs, Aaron and Sarah. We have a large family, so it was fun to get Gr&Gr to ourselves. If you want to see what I (or Sarah or Aaron) might look like in 60 years, take a look at these photos:

And, of course, no trip to Owen is complete without a bowl of grandma’s fresh angel food cake, home-grown berries, and a heap of Maul’s icecream. (this local dairy basically pumps milk straight from the udder into the icecream-maker. Mmm.)

 

And, for your viewing pleasure, I made my very first .gif files.
We tried getting our grandparents (Harold and Fern) to make funny faces.


also while in California….

I spent a few days with Lydia, my dear friend and long-ago mission trainee.

My Wisconsin-centric brain was so giddy to spend Christmas Eve playing outside in 60 degree weather. I went barefoot as often as I could.

Lydia’s great family and I shared colorful stories, ate mind-numbingly-delicious food, hiked abundant countryside, discussed heart-expanding topics, evangelized the wonders of kefir (which may or may not actually be manna), sweat liters at the Bikram yoga studio, and slept in as long as we wanted. Looking back through my camera, it turns out I mainly just took photos of plants.



Visiting Bri.

Over Christmas break I flew to San Francisco and made a visit to my friend Briana Blackwelder’s grave. Thank you for the great directions, Candice.

For those who haven’t yet visited, here’s a bit of the journey to Fernwood:

That’s her grave in the foreground.

A few small plants have begun sprouting over the freshly-turned earth.

Despite being the winter solstice, it was one of the sunniest days I’d seen in a long time.
I laid down right next to her grave and just started talking.
It felt so much like the last time I saw her, when we’d spent a sunny
April afternoon lounging under the sun.

I believe Bri is doing much more exciting things than lying under the earth,
but here are some photos of the view she’d have from her final resting place:

I felt a lot of peace being there.

Afterwards, my friend Lydia and I scouted out some delicious food
and soaked up the city that will forever remind me of Bri.

Man, I miss you Bri.


Lights.

Merry Christmas everyone.


Schizocarps!

I found my old nature journal this week. My last entry, dated Fall 2008, inspired me to fulfill a dream I’ve been scheming for some time now. I woke up early Sunday morning to begin gathering schizocarps–those helicopters that fall from maple trees–from around my neighborhood. Thanks to the three friends who helped me gather these wonders throughout the day. I will still need to gather more before our next snow fall, if anyone else is interested in helping :) First I’ll share the journal entry, then I’ll tell you about my dream that will soon become reality…

Fall 2008
I have become enamored by schizocarps. Seriously?! Billions of twirly-birds all falling to the earth in unison?! Billions of winged maples-in-embryo spiraling over the Northern Hemisphere. Billions over BYU’s campus alone.
 
One afternoon I gathered 4 grocery sacks of schizocarps. It took no more than two hours with 2 of us gathering. The street gutters were lined with them. The grass cupped them like children hoarding candy on Halloween. The sidewalks were blanketed with them- all facing the way of the wind.
 
In the half-inch cracks between cemented sidewalk slabs, schizocarps were packed tightly, nose down, just like an over-zealous litter of piglettes all trying to get a mouthful of teat.
 
I like that metaphor: the Earth as a giant mammary gland, a wellspring of mother’s milk. Countless numbers of tongue-like roots pressing earth-ward, pulling in moisture and nutrients, grabbing hold to the solid ground. Filling and stabilizing. Supporting and nurturing.
 
 

My plan is to  find a nice courtyard with high walls from which the thousands of schizocarps can be let loose. While the magical spirals descend, people will dance and frolic. Doesn’t it sound lovely? I’m excited to make it happen.

Let me know if you have a decent pile of schizocarps near your house.

 

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