Watch Out For That “Low Fuel” Warning

Posted under: travel.
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Gas PumpAll vehicles come conveniently equipped with a “low fuel” warning light and alarm, giving the driver several miles in which to find a petrol station and fill up. That being said, I never had much sympathy for people who run out of gasoline (Brent included). My low fuel light came on the day before yesterday, and I continued to drive several miles after that. Yesterday the girls wanted to play on the playground at Skye’s school and I thought “I’ll just fill up the tank after that.” I would be driving around locally, and I felt pretty safe and invincible.

I had to stop by Renys, a Maine department store. It was on the way to the gas station, so naturally it made sense to stop there first. Just after I pulled into the parking lot the Jetta’s engine sputtered and died–right in the aisle. I left the girls in the car and ran into Renys, hoping they sold gas cans. Skye called me from her phone to ask if she could take the girls over to the grocery store to get a drink of water. I told her I would be out soon and to stay in the car.

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Comments (2) May 31 2009

Happy Birthday to Me

Posted under: Uncategorized.
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I turned 36 yesterday. Where has the time gone? I looked in the mirror, but I didn’t look any different than I did the day before when I was still 35. (Hayley thought I might.) omelet

Brent didn’t like the idea of me cooking for myself on my birthday, but I told him that is what I wanted to do. I made a delicious omelet for breakfast with fresh spinach, parsley, mushrooms, red pepper, scallions, basil, and Monterrey Jack cheese.

Brent took me shopping at Express and helped me pick out some hot summer tops. I found a summer dress at Victoria’s Secret, and some bath products and panties–my idea, not his. :-)

The forecast yesterday was 72 degrees and clear, and I have been wanting to go to the beach. We packed up all our gear and headed for our beach in Saco. The sky was clear, but it didn’t feel like 72 degrees. The ocean breeze must have cooled it down a bit. We ate the curried cranberry chicken salad sandwiches I’d packed for lunch (see recipe below) and headed home shortly after that.

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Comments (5) May 26 2009

Recipe: Mocha Frappuccino

Posted under: food.
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Brent and I love the bottled Starbucks mocha frappuccinos. We quickly realized they were too expensive to continue buying, so I decided to make my own. I found several recipes and tested, combined, and tweaked them until I was satisfied with the results. I also created a nutty variation. Brent likes the nutty variation because he doesn’t have to shake the bottle (to mix the cocoa back in) before he drinks it. We saved several of the Starbucks frappuccino bottles so we have the convenience of having them on the go. This is Jenna’s favorite drink. She would drink them all day if I let her. :-)

Fills 6 9-oz Starbucks Frappuccino bottles

3 ½ cups espresso coffee*
1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
4 cups milk (whole milk is best)
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking cocoa

Make espresso coffee. Mix coffee, still hot, sweetened condensed milk, cocoa, and sugar in your mixer until sugar is dissolved. Add milk and continue mixing, about one minute. Pour mix into individual 9.5-oz Starbucks Frappuccino bottles. Store in fridge until ready to use (Note: Do not store any longer than you would milk).

*May use regular coffee that has been run through the coffee maker twice, or add 4 teaspoons instant coffee granules to regular coffee.

Nutty Variation

  • Use a nut-flavored coffee, such as amaretto, hazelnut, macadamia nut, etc.
  • Replace baking cocoa with ½ teaspoon almond extract.
  • Reduce sugar to 2 or 2 ½ tablespoons.

Comments (3) May 24 2009

Successful Surgery

Posted under: health.
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The transsphenoidal surgery to remove my pituitary macroadenoma went well, and I am happy to be home. Dr. Florman anticipated my hospital stay to be at least three to seven days, but I was discharged after only two days.

Dr. Oppenheim, the endocrinologist following me during my hospital stay, wanted to closely monitor my urine output and my salt-water balance. I stayed in the unit for post-operative and head trauma patients. It was a long corridor of beds separated by curtains. A head trauma patient was in a separate room next to me. She had been there a month after having been in a car accident. The nurse said that being young (early 20s), this patient would recover fairly quickly. She was still confused though, and was constantly yelling out which made it difficult for me to read or sleep. The nurse was kind enough to give me earplugs. :-)

Pituitary TumorI believe I benefited from having an ENT surgeon, Dr. Makaretz, assist in the nasal portion of my surgery. I was very apprehensive about his removing the nasal packing the next day because I still remember the painful, drawn-out process it had been when my neurosurgeon had done it a couple years ago. But when Dr. Makaretz removed the packing, it was hardly worse than a sneeze! After my first operation I had a cerebrospinal fluid leak which put me flat in bed for a week. Prior to my operation this time Dr. Makaretz took a fat graft from my abdomen to block my nasal sinus in order to prevent the leak. I don’t know how significant the fat graft was, but I did not have a CSF leak this time. When Brent asked why he left such a big scar on my belly, Dr. Makaretz explained that he had to dig deeper because there wasn’t enough fat. Sure, I bet that’s what he tells all the patients. ;-) I will see him in a week so that he can remove the sutures and shunts from my nose.

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Comments (12) May 23 2009

The Pollyanna Principle

Posted under: food, health, philosophy, psychology.
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I often wondered why I recall events in my life as mostly happy and positive. PollyannaThen this last semester as I was taking a sociology course, I came across a theory called the “Pollyanna Principle”. This is named after the book Pollyanna, about a young girl who fervently held a naively optimistic and grateful outlook on life. According to the Pollyanna Principle, the brain processes information that is pleasing and agreeable in a more precise and exact manner as compared to unpleasant information. We actually tend to remember past experiences as more rosy than they actually occurred.

In 1978 researchers Margaret Matlin and David Stang provided substantial evidence of the Pollyanna Principle. They found that people expose themselves to positive stimuli and avoid negative stimuli, they take longer to recognize what is unpleasant or threatening than what is pleasant and safe, and they report that they encounter positive stimuli more frequently than they actually do.

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Comments (4) May 20 2009

A New Direction

Posted under: school.
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I wasn’t accepted into the nursing program at USM. The number of nursing applicants is increasing substantially everywhere. The academic advisor of nursing at USM informed me that the program is highly competitive; they only accepted 90 applicants for this year. Many were already matriculated, which gave them an edge. She said that the applicants who had already taken many of the courses required in the nursing program also had an advantage. Finally, my 4.0 GPA from last semester probably did not bring up my GPA from Ricks College (now BYU Idaho) quite enough. I’ll always regret that I was so lackadaisical back then. I expect to have a 4.0 again for this past semester, which will boost my GPA for the future.

The news disappointed me, of course. But as it prompted me to consider different options, I saw it as an opportunity to pursue a career in science and research. This is something with which I’ve always been fascinated. Sure, I could see myself as a nurse, making good money and having job opportunities everywhere; however I don’t think I would be truly happy. I could be passionate about science and research, and that is ultimately more fulfilling.

I will probably pursue an undergraduate degree in biology. I am interested in toxicology and pathology (possibly with a forensics focus), marine biology, oceanography, and geology. Brent has been incredibly supportive. I appreciate his love and encouragement, and I know he just wants me to be happy. He is especially excited about marine biology. However, he warned me that if I go into pathology and work in a morgue he will NOT come visit me for lunch. :-)

OK, so I need to narrow it down a bit, but I’m excited to go after my dream.

Comments (0) May 10 2009

Traditional Marriage: An Outmoded Institution

Posted under: philosophy, psychology.
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Adapted for Cogitations from a paper I wrote as part of my sociology coursework.

Human beings almost never have to be cajoled into pairing. Instead, we do this naturally. We flirt. We feel infatuation. We fall in love. We marry. And the vast majority of us marry only one person at a time. Pair-bonding is a trademark of the human animal (Fisher, 1992). In our pair bonding society we find our other half, become dependent, and walk off into the sunset of the nuclear family.

Men and women depended on each other from the beginning. Evolutionary biologist Charles Darwin suggested that on average men are more aggressive, and that they excel at higher mathematical problems, and at completing several visual-spatial-quantitative tasks. Women, on average, do more nurturing and exhibit more verbal skills and memory ability than men (Fisher, 1992). These gender differences make evolutionary sense. Aggression would have served men well as they confronted their predators and enemies, and nurturing capabilities of women caused them to show interest in their infants and tolerance of their needs. As ancestral males began to scout, track, and surround animals millennia ago, those males who were good at maps and mazes would have prevailed. Ancestral women needed to locate vegetable foods within an elaborate matrix of vegetation, so they developed a superior ability to remember the locations of stationary objects (Fisher, 1992).

In preindustrial Europe farming couples still needed each other to survive. A woman living on a farm depended on her husband to move the rocks, fell the trees, and plow the land. Her husband needed her to sow, weed, pick, prepare, and store the vegetables. Together they worked the land. More important, whoever left the marriage left empty-handed. Women and men were tied to the soil, to each other, and to a network of stationary kin (Fisher, 1992).
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Comments (7) May 05 2009

Petition Granted and Ordered

Posted under: philosophy.
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Certificate Of Change Of Name

Certificate Of Change Of Name

I recently changed my last name from Danley back to my maiden name Uhler. When Brent and I got married in 1995 I changed my last name to his family name without considering the significance or history of the tradition. Brent initially suggested that I go back to Uhler. I was resistant at first because I liked the name Danley. No one ever pronounced Uhler correctly (properly pronounced “yoo-ler”). I also liked the convenience of our family members all having the same last name. These concerns quickly became trivial, however, when I began examining the tradition. I now believe this custom is outmoded and misogynistic. My name represents my individuality, identity, and autonomy.

Under Christian doctrine the Bible made the husband the “head” of his wife—his wife’s superior—as Christ was head of the church. The common laws turned the married pair legally into one person—the husband. The husband was enlarged, so to speak, by marriage, while the wife’s giving up her own name and being called by his symbolized her relinquishing her identity. This legal doctrine of marital unity was called coverture, which meant the woman turned all her legal rights and obligations over to her husband.

–Nancy F. Cott, Harvard professor

Many women continue to take the last name of their husband when they decide to marry. Most of us are given a surname to connect to our progenitors. Under this conventional Western naming convention we are linked to our fathers; however we have no connection by name to our mothers. Many couples are now combining their last names. Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (6) May 02 2009