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29 October 2011

Hymba Yumba

Yesterday was the big fund raiser for one the the schools I work at. They are trying to raise $1,000,000 in order to get state and federal funds released so they can build a new school. Right now we are based in an office building in Springfield; the classrooms are on the first floor and the offices are on the fifth. And the new building is a field so far.

The event yesterday went well. A lot of big wigs from Brisbane and Ipswich came. We had an auction as well as some donated art works for sale.

If you want to know more about Hymba Yumba, you can go to the website (which I made) at

Hopefully I should get some photos up in a few days, and maybe some video.

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19 October 2011


Admit it. Pretzel is a fun word to say. And the more you say it, the funnier it gets. Same thing as watermelon and macadamia, but I digress. The point is, Pretzels are a whole lot easier to make than you think they are! Here is my friend Krista Leddy's version:

1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 package active dry yeast
22 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 1/2 cups
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
Vegetable oil, for pan
10 cups water
1/2 cup baking soda
1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
Pretzel salt


Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then oil it well with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside.

Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan.

In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan.

Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1, for 30 seconds (or when they start to float). Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. Return to the half sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with the pretzel salt. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Amazing!! I like to eat them with grainy mustard. Yum.

18 October 2011

Money, Money, Money...

Right now I am trying to secure funding for my last year of med. That means talking to the folks at the Royal Bank of Canada, at least 13 hours behind. So far, calling the central number has been frustrating. They are absolutely certain that I need to drop everything and fly home to Canada to sign paperwork. Last I heard, international business happens all over the world without having to physically be there. So now I am waiting at home, missing surgery session because I am waiting for the local Spruce Grove branch to call me back. I hope it works out.
Here's some ABBA to make us all happier thinking about it....

11 October 2011

The 7 Types of Physician Bad Handwriting

A Cartoon Guide to Becoming a Doctor: The 7 Types of Physician Bad Handwriting shared this: "Lately I've been noticing that it isn't just that doctors have bad handwriting. There are actually many different ways that doctors can have bad handwriting." I totally agree with her, and since the hospital records here are STILL all handwritten, An undergrad minor in hieroglyphics is not a bad choice.

06 October 2011

Taking the train and spending big bucks.

  Right now I'm sitting on the train heading home from work. I took the scooter to work this morning, but sometime today the rear tyre went flat. It is raining now and I really don't feel like either waiting for RACQ to come or to fix it myself.  I'll take transit to work tomorrow and see about fixing the tyre then.
  The Australian federal government has a funding program where they are trying to get 1 computer for every year 9-12 student by the end of the year.  Between the two schools that I work at, I spending over $50,000 on new computers.  I've never bought that much of anything before (except houses). Hope I don't screw up.
  Like all government programs the terms are hard to understand for anybody except lawyers.  The money for buying computers is in a different pot than for buying Windows & Office. It also can be used for projectors, servers or storage cabinets; the possibilities are endless.
  Interesting times ahead.

01 October 2011

Bet you never knew that you didn't know how to wash your hands!

So a week into orthopaedics, I am pleasantly surprised. The consultants are quite friendly and very willing to teach. The registrars are also kind to students. Whew!
I have had the chance to scrub in and assist with a number of surgeries, even listed as assistant on a few of them for the medical records! So enjoying a lot more than I thought. A few conversations are pretty memorable:

Circulating Nurse, scribing: "what shall we call this procedure?"
Consultant Orthopod: "Sexy. Call it Sexy"

Surgeon, to me: "What's this structure there?"
Me: "Tibialis Anterior"
Surgeon: "Wow, yes it is. We really don't expect you to know anything"
Me: *grin*


The best is when the scrub nurse started quoting the viral "Orthopedics vs. Anesthetics" video: "There is a fracture. I need to fix it."

Scrubbing in involves washing your hands, putting on clean things, and keeping them clean. You may think you can do that, but it is actually a practiced skill, one that makes you feel like you are 4 again while you are learning. I have to say I prefer Betadine solution to Chlorhexadine, as it doesn't make my skin fall off as much. I put in a video, so EVERYONE will know how to wash your hands (to the point where you can play with someone else's insides. Probably don't need to use this level of extreme clean for making a sandwich, unless you are OCD +/- germophobe.)

The only major difference is that we double glove. And you must keep your hands between nipple and navel and only in front. Go to the bathroom BEFORE surgery, and make sure you've had something to eat beforehand. Remember that an itchy nose will go away if you ignore it long enough.

Other personal protection involved: we get to wear space helmets when doing joint replacements, mainly because bone saws produce high velocity chunks of sharp bone. We also get to wear lead aprons and thyroid shields when doing surgery that requires repeated xrays to confirm position. And yes, we do have aprons in hunter camouflage in addition to butterflies.

The aprons do get quite heavy after a couple of hours, and both the aprons and helmets make you feel confined and hot. My very first surgery was a total hip replacement. I had on all the above equipment, and then proceeded to stand still and watch for 2 hours. I suddenly started to feel light headed, like I might faint. I had the smarts to let someone know BEFORE that actually happened. Note to self: MOVE feet and legs regularly to maintain bloodflow to head.