porphyrin: (Local Food)
It's been a good long time. I'm glad to see you all.
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Minneapolis Residents!

Starting in March, our city is offering 1500 six to eight foot trees for only $25 each. They are available for Minneapolis residents, businesses, and nonprofits.

First come first served-- order early for best selection.

Limit one tree per property owner. Varieties available include:

Bali Cherry (Prunus 'Evans')
Honeycrisp Apple Tree (Malus 'Honeycrisp')
Eastern Redbud
Prairifire Crabapple
Whitespire Birch
Fall Fiesta Sugar Maple
Bur Oak
Princeton Elm
Black Hills Spruce

Pickup is May 12-14 at the Minneapolis Impound lot.

Order your tree starting MARCH 12, 2012.


Pass the word on. Do know that the city expects to sell out of fruit trees within 3 hours of opening orders, so if you want one, act fast.
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Those of you who are local and miss Jun Bo, the chef there is now at Wanderer's Chinese Restaurant in Minnetonka. Dim Sum is on Saturdays and Sundays, and is excellent.
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Well, they aren't any more. But that's what I feel like this morning-- one of the earthworms curled tight in its winter bed of tomato roots, uncurling grudgingly when the remains of the plant have been uprooted. If earthworms had toes, they wouldn't stick them out from under the covers. Ever.

As the karate schedule is diametrically opposed to my work schedule, I've been attending an aikido class in the mornings-- working on my front and back rolls. Back is harder for me than front. For those of us with a certain amount of mass, gravity is too hard to fight when you tip forward. Rolling is a useful skill, but how many times in my life will I trip forward? Unfortunately, back rolls are far harder for me-- and I suspect that there is nothing less dignified than watching an obese middle aged woman attempt a back roll and be defeated by her own midriff!

Summer brings a plethora of produce to the garden; I am drowning in salad stuffs. Quite a change from early spring, where one breaks off a leaf here, a leaf there, and each component of the salad has a different taste and one must wonder: will I have enough for salad for four, or will I end up damaging the plant too much? The chinese cabbages and their resident critters seem quite happy. I will always plant Chinese cabbage, if only to keep the slugs out of the rest of the garden. If only there was some sort of 'sacrifice plant' of that kind that I could use to keep the rabbits out of the sugar snap peas...

And mulberry season is underway; I am making 'mulberry rounds' of the neighborhood and also eyeing the sour cherries, which will not be ripe for another week or two. It will be a race between myself and the birds, I suspect. A dear friend suggested the paper bag and banana treatment, but I would need a raft of bananas to take care of this quantity of cherries, I suspect. Next up, just in time for our heat wave, is jam-making, as my son refuses to eat jams other than Mulberry.

Fourth Street Fantasy was good; I only regret I could not make it to Friday night. However, the Atlantic Ocean was also good, and being able to watch baby dolphins practicing *their* back rolls with their mothers was indescribably good. There was a minimum of protest from my offspring about the long sleeved, leg-hugging swimsuits and the sun hats that made us look like a Lawrence of Arabia look-alike competition. Which is good, for a child with a sunburn is a miserable thing.

We had only one moment of sheer panic, and that was on the way home, when I parked the childers next to several soldiers (three army, two navy) returning home on leave and went to deal with our seating arrangement. 30 minutes later, I return (I swear, they were within my direct line of sight the entire time-- although I bet the Delta Airlines personnel wondered why I made zero eye contact with them!) to have my son announce, "Don't worry, Mommy, we're showing them exactly how smart we are!"

Can I be considered legally liable if my children break the US Armed Forces?

...don't answer that.

I hope all is well for all of you, and will likely resume reading LJ again. Best to all.
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There are now 9 confirmed cases of measles in Hennepin County.

The Department of Health recommends strongly that children who have only had one dose of measles immunization get their second dose BEFORE the age of 4 for protection.

Please consider doing this for your child's sake. Measles kills 1 out of every 100 people and is one of the most contagious diseases extant in the world today, spreading via airborne, not droplet, transmission. If you are in a waiting room with someone with measles, then you have been exposed. Period. The end.

No comments about immunizations being evil, please. I'm tired, I'm looking at a potential outbreak, and anyone who does so will get deleted from my friendslist.
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...at least, that's what it feels like.

After getting attacked by the army of empty cardboard and plastic boxes taking up the northern quadrant, I found my way to the winter coats and boots, but got mugged by several books in need of giving away. I will mail (media mail) if necessary, but would strongly prefer pickup (as in: OUT OUT OUT OF MY HOUSE!!!)

My Lost Daughter by Rosenberg, hardback (decent thriller, nothing special)
The Damage Done by Davidson, hardback (eh, couldn't get into this one)
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed by Sean Williams
The Princess and the Hound by Harrison
Agnes and the Hitman by Cruisie
Lord Tom by Patricia Wynn (regency romance, anyone?)
Jumper by Gould
Bone Whistle by Swan (paranormal, anyone?)
The Dark Storm by Greene (another paranormal)
Changeless by Carriger (yet another paranormal)
A pair of rogues by Patricia Wynn (regency)
Jack on the Box by Patricia Wynn (regency)
Shades of Milk and Honey by Kowal (regency/fantasy blend)
Grave Secret by Harris (decent paranormal mystery)
Princess of the Midnight Ball by George (YA fantasy)
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Sometimes I wonder if I've got inattentive ADHD-- I seem to be unable to settle down and easily bored, and just as easily discontented.

Related to that fact is this:

I'm transferring clinics; rather than a 26 mile commute, I will have a 1.5 mile commute. The new clinic is on University Avenue; I can bike there. I will start in January, and I will NOT be biking there in the winter.

It's been a long process, and a hard choice; I love many of my patients here very deeply and the people I work with, even more so.

But if you know someone in Minneapolis who's looking for a pediatrician... *grin*
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I didn't see THAT coming.


Aug. 7th, 2010 12:23 pm
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We are in redwing after an uneventful Amtrak trip. Our room at the st James includes free wireless. The view is awesome.

Back monday...


Jun. 14th, 2010 10:33 am
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A chinese cabbage (more specifically, a one-kilo Napa Savoy), when grown organically, contains multitudes. I could tell that the Napas were getting restless-- they'd bushed up, pushing out into other squares, bullying the tomatos and demanding lunch money from the lettuce in the next square over. To be fair, it wasn't entirely their fault. Part of it was biology-- that brash adolescent phase of plant life where it is full of JUICES and right before it bolts skyward, seeking someone to understand it. Love, you know? Companionship... pollinators.


So anyway, when it started to rain today, I disentangled myself from the neighbor's mulberry tree (and thoughts of the Urban Berry-Picker's guide I someday want to post) and trudged home. Taking a bandsaw to the Napas was on my to do list-- so out the all came, and into the house I went, tracking dirt and feeling a little like a New Guinea head hunter with a fresh load of trophies to process. (When they say 'one kilo' what they mean is: don't let it get bigger than one kilo or you will throw your back out bringing it into the house.)

I was ready, or at least I thought I was. I had a knife, a cutting board, and a plethora of towels. I also had salt to kill the slugs, strainers, and buckets.

Forty minutes later, the count is: ten towels soaked and dirty. Fifty-six slugs, big and little, three daddy long-legs, six earwig looking things, one Japanese beetle, a rather startled red wiggler worm... and three unidentified things that flew up and out of the leaves, spreading rather mothlike wings as they went.

No, I don't know what they were. They were flying in formation, and headed straight for my face, so I dropped the knife, screamed, ducked, and when I uncrouched they were gone.

So, one heart attack later, the kitchen floor is clean, the slugs are dead (osmotic gradients, how I love you), the earwigs are gone and the spiders have been deposited outside. The lettuce was practically crying in relief, and the tomato immediately started trying to flex its muscles, leaning over the empty area. But just wait-- they haven't met their NEW neighbors yet.

Free Ebook

Jun. 12th, 2010 07:58 am
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I've loved Vera's work since I was a barely pubescent girl and reading Sword and Sorcery anthologies. MZB's little introductions-- and the fact that Vera was still a teenager when she first published-- are what started me thinking that maybe I could do this writing thing.

Now she's in need of help; she needs to quickly increase her readership base. So I'm asking, if you haven't already: spread the word of this free promotion, get the word out there that this particular small press has a lot of wonderful things to offer.

Limited Time Promotion!

Dreams of the Compass Rose
by Vera Nazarian

Available now, and will be for 90 days, in its entirety, as a FREE download, in various e-book formats from Smashwords, and other online retailers.

Download your
FREE E-book now!

Available Formats:

Epub, Kindle (.mobi), PDF, RTF, LRF (Sony Reader), Palm Doc (PDB), Plain Text

Free download period ends September 15, 2010.

NOTE: Copies downloaded during the free period will remain yours permanently—completely free-of-charge, without any DRM restrictions, to be enjoyed on your various reading devices.

Press Release

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So my husband had never heard the Holland story before, probably because the only websites he frequents with regularity are Penny Arcade, running chat boards, and sports websites.

I explained it to him, and he immediately made me smile with his response.

"This is really dumb, because everyone plans for Italy, even people with neurotypical kids. And what they get is Antarctica! And they are in shorts, with skimpy clothes packed, ready for the beach.

"But the thing is, you and I, we learned to love Antarctica, and now here comes a whole school system's worth of people-- who mean well-- who keep trying to take our little penguin and make him move to Holland, and he's a PENGUIN."
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Start a story with the following five words:

The safe was in the middle of the desert.
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This is one of those books that you're either going to love, or you're going to hate. I'd love to hate it, but I find myself smirking and telling it, "Oh my god, you are SUCH a surgeon." about every third page.

It's a decent memoir, if you like train of thought, slightly incoherent memoirs full of sentence fragments, paranthetical asides, and casual use of medical acronyms (half of which are explained). Due to the grammatical issues and structural issues I had with it, I wanted to hate it. I really did.

But then there's the thing that is making me post about it, and place a review: the narrative voice.

HEALING HEARTS sounds like just about every female surgeon I know. It's a window into the world of women in medicine. There's a beautiful section in which Dr. Magliato takes on (and then bulls right through) the topic of sexism in medicine, and the way nurses relate to female doctors. As if to balance that out, in other spots in the book where horrible sexist things happen, she almost makes excuses for it-- the way that almost all women doctors have been trained to do.

Definitely worth a read if you're going to put a female surgeon -- or perhaps any female physician-- into your WIP.

A small excerpt (yes, indicative of 'shared medical humor'):

Television has always set the bar high for surgeons' sexual prowess and I for one would like to set the record straight so as not to disappoint my next conquest. (Oh. That's right. I'm married.) Someone once described Grey's Anatomy as "ER meets Sex & the City". I'd say that is a pretty fair assessment. My mom religiously watches Grey's Anatomy and every other medical television drama and now firmly believes:

A. You can drop an organ on the floor. Pick it up. Wash it off. And transplant it into the patient as if nothing happened.

B. I must be a slut.

Thanks, ABC.

(insert sound of me saying again, "Oh my GOD you are such a SURGEON.")
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In speaking with a young lady on the cross-country team, I made the error of recommending a book whose name I can't recall.

It was a teen romance, about a girl and her father. I believe that her mother was dead. The girl and her father had taken to running together. They had moved to a new town, where the girl-- who had waist-length hair, joined the cross country team, gained a preachy boyfriend, and became a Star at Cross-Country. Somewhere near the end of the book, she cuts her hair from waist length to chin length.

That's all I remember about the book. It was probably written in the 80's, since I remember reading it at age 11 or 12.

Do you know the author or the title? It sounds stupid, but it would probably make this young lady happy.
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All right, I confess:

If the author hadn't been in the medical field, I likely wouldn't have picked this book up. If the author hadn't had the interesting and varied history he'd had before medical school, I wouldn't have read it immediately*.

Now I'd better stop paying so much attention to bio blurbs on back covers and websites, because it occurs to me I may be missing quite a bit of Good Fun.

And Good Fun is the catchphrase for this book. There's this crazy joy that comes through the pages-- the narrative fairly bounces along, giving me a sense that the author *really enjoyed* creating this world, this magic system, this book. There's a sense of authority to the magic system, and a real depth to some of the implications.

So, the story line goes like this: Nicodemus, a 'cacographer' (or dyslexic) has humongous amounts of magical strength and potential, but every time he tries to cast a spell, his cacography gets in the way. This has caused him to remain an apprentice long after the time he should have been a full mage. Nicodemus has a birthmark which may mark him as the central figure in a prophecy about the way the world is saved from destruction. But whatever-- all Nicodemus wants is to keep his head down, his nose clean, and to attain the status of mage. Intrigue, bloodshed and chaos ensue.

There is a wealth of medical detail in the book, due to the way the magic system is constructed. Sadly, I found the extra medical detail to be the least appealing thing in the book**, with one exception...

...Language Prime. The idea here is brilliant, and for those of you who choose to read SPELLWRIGHT, I will gladly send you a jar of apple butter or plum preserves if you figure it out before I did (the second mention of the particular runes in the book).

The characters are well drawn-- Nicodemus is a bit self-absorbed, as might be expected of a young man-- and the worldbuilding is, as mentioned above, pretty awesome. The narrative, as mentioned above, slows in several places, as is common for a first novel-- there were two or three expository scenes that I wasn't sure advanced the plot at all, and there was one scene in which two characters held an extended conversation whose 'cover story' I found flimsy. And while the plot is good, at the end of the book, one particular character does a complete about-face which I find to be both too convenient in advancing the plot and inconsistent with the character's personality.

But really, these quibbles are far and few between, and the brilliance of the magic system-- as well as the tone of the narrative-- make me very glad I read this book. Will I buy the sequel? Yes.

...after all, med school ain't cheap. And people who can write narrative like this author are rare in any field.

Overall, recommended.

*The author is what was referred to as a 'bent arrow' at TOSUCOMPH (back in my day, at least)-- a 'straight arrow' being someone who goes from high school to college to med school without any breaks or real contact with the world. Which makes for a great author bio.

**If magical runes are generated by muscle movement, why do they need to study anatomy? My quadriceps move whether I know their name or not. Same for my soleus, gastrocs, rectus abdomini... And what happens if a mage develops a motor tic?
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I'm pleased to announce that Kylie Chan's trilogy will be published heeeeere in the USA by Angry Robot, an imprint of Harper Collins.

If you'd like to see what I had to say about these books, the original entry (from 2008) is here:


And after several (dozen) re-reads, the only thing I can maintain is that there's something about the vivid setting, the characters as Ms. Chan imagines them, that makes them compulsively re-readable for me. They're almost as much of a guilty pleasure for me as Anne Bishop's books, or S. M. Stirling's post-apocalyptic science fiction, but they scratch that itch so much better for me.

I have Book 1 of the next trilogy, obtained at some expense from Australia, sitting on my TBR pile, awaiting my full attention.
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Things I'm always looking for in the thrift store:

1. A teapot warmer, glass, with or without the tealight to go in it.
2. Rompertopf or Schlemmertopf clay baker
3. Coffee Vacuum Pot
4. Coffee (french) press (small)
5. Hand-operated egg beater

One person's trash is another person's treasure. If you have one of these you want to get rid of-- let me know. I'm willing to trade; I have several fountain pens to get rid of, for instance, plus other stuff (some jewelry made from silver taken from the space shuttle's wiring, for instance).


In other news, I am full of the epic, epic fail when it comes to getting up on time for work. This must change. When my student arrives 20 minutes before me, there is something terribly wrong at work here.
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Duck stock from roast duck at United Noodle. (Take the fat off, first, and fry your breakfast eggs in it. YUMMMM.)

1/3 small cabbage.
1 cup shredded carrot.

Cook one hour on low in large slow-cooker. It will smell great.

Add 1/4 cup dried shiitake mushrooms.

Continue to cook for another hour, despite the result smelling like dog barf.

Add 1/3 cup good miso and 2 tablespoons of soy sauce.

Continue to cook. Have discussion with a loved one about the possibility of calling out for pizza for dinner, because neither of you wants to eat something that smells so bad.

Cook for another 6 hours. Stir only occasionally, holding your breath if you like. This becomes less necessary as the cooking goes on.

30 minutes before serving, taste and then add salt-- we added about 1 teaspoon additional salt.

Serve, and be pleasantly surprised.


Feb. 17th, 2010 10:39 pm
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Any recommendations on a good one? I need it to be able to access Epic, be sturdy enough to survive a little bumping around, and be able to run the Windows apps that I need (MS Word, PowerPoint, Excel).
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