Three cheers for research

Just a few of the things I've been looking into, lately:

1) Did you know Sir Arthur Conan Doyle took a break from Holmes to write about Professor Challenger and his exploits chasing dinosaurs?
I'm immersing myself in the genesis of steampunk right now, and since my 9 year old stole my copy of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (and, of course, I was happy to let it go to such a good cause) I'm ordering this book. I can't wait!

2) I've been trying to figure out how to get my airships to plausibly carry larger loads. I know, "plausible" takes on a new definition in alt history, but it has to make sense to me. Enter... vertical airships.

I love that someone is trying to build these. Sign me up for the maiden voyage! Well, maybe the second voyage.

3) And back issues of Popular Mechanics are my new favorite thing. I found out that the professor who built a plane using cycloidal propulsion taught right here at the UW. It's like a plane using rotors out the side instead of wings and the rotors move like egg beaters. It's supposed to provide phenomenal lift. I'm not sure why we aren't all flying around in airships with rotors right now.

In which Robin applauds National Geographic

I don't typically sit down with a catalog and flip through the pages slowly, savoring every picture, calculating in my head when and if I could ever afford the things inside. Not usually. But then we got the National Geographic Expedition catalog.

Why yes, NatGeo, I would like to take a Family Expedition down the Amazon river to find pink dolphins, exotic butterflys, and let my kids play soccer with the local children. A train through the Swiss Alps? Absolutely! A manor house in the French Countryside? Sign me up!

And when Kara Dio Guardi cries because a (cheesy) song is sung so beautifully, or Mary Murphy breaks down over the breast cancer dance - I just don't get it. I truly don't. But my eyes did tear up when I saw this picture of the Lukula camp in a private reserve in Tanzania - designed to replicate the spirit Africa's early explorers with lush Victorian furnishings and textiles. It looks like Amelia Peabody would be right at home.

Sometimes it's just nice to know these places exist.

Lemon Bars with Boop

My lovely DH made me lemon bars for Mother's Day. He makes a mean gluten free lemon bar... they're so good in fact that I begged him to make them on Saturday, as soon as he'd announced his intention to make them for Mother's Day.

The kids helped - here is some ensuing conversation:

Boop: What is your most favoritist ingredient in lemon bars?
DH: Well, they're all important, so I don't really have a favorite.
Boop: So, lemon?
DH: No...
Boop: But they wouldn't be lemon bars without the lemon!
Red: You could make strawberry bars!
Me: I don't think that would really turn very well
Red: Ok, lime bars then
Boop: Would you use the lion's blood to do that?
(group pause)
Me: Not LION bars - lime bars.
Mystery Man: Roar!

Beep. Beep. Beep.

I'm pretty much back in the swing of things. I do have a few observations regarding my hospital experience, which, by the way is not ever going to be easy when you have allergic reactions to anesthesia, pain meds, and surgical tape.

I felt like my first nurse, the one that got me all prepped, was extremely thorough in telling me what to expect. I nodded and smiled and was grateful for all the information, and really, there was a lot of it. But I came to discover that she missed one small detail.

After the bubbly anesthesiologist that my doctor called "Sunshine" gave me the "I don't care medicine" (her words, not mine) I got a little woozy, then BAM I'm in a different room, shaking, sick, all the lovely symptoms of post-anesthesia. And my recovery nurse is doing her job and making sure I'm not brain dead. And she's getting ready to move me to my room when I manage to squeak out of the raspy throat (that I *had* been warned about) that there's something tragically wrong with my legs.

She looked at me, concerned. So I croak out "They're INFLATING!"

Not to worry.

Apparently that's all part of the plan. They put these giant blood pressure cuffs on them to keep you from getting blood clots. Which is fine, I am not a fan of blood clots. But it's really something I'd liked to have known so I didn't think they were going to explode all over the hospital room. And that had occurred to me.

I made to my room, in and out of lucidity, and my lovely husband brought me a latte - the nurse said it wasn't really on my "clear liquids" diet, but "eh." Yes, "eh" was her response. I sipped it, warily, wondering if "eh" meant that she could deal with one less patient so go ahead and drink the latte, see if she cared. Or if it meant that they weren't all that committed to clear liquids. That's one way to suck the enjoyment right of a latte. But it did taste wonderful, what I drank of it. So, after my coffee, lots of checks on vital signs, and a whole day of insisting I really didn't want pain meds, I got to go to sleep.

They turned out the lights. I turned off American Idol. And then the room lit up blue. I thought maybe I imagined it. Closed my eyes. Tried to think sleepy thoughts.


After a while I realized the computer screen blinks every fifteen seconds or so. How is this not an issue? I'm pretty sure it could have brought on a seizure. I reconsidered the pain meds. I called for my nurse and thought maybe if they took these squeezie things off my legs, since they weren't inflating anyway, that would help.

Oh no, oh no! They should have been inflating! He couldn't believe I'd been squeezie free this whole time. So, he plugged the machine in. Great. Now I'm sleeping with a blinking room and inflating legs. Inflate. Deflate. Blink. Inflate. Deflate. Blink. And then... the machine started beeping. One big loud beep every 5 seconds or so. And then the blink.

Beep. Beep. Beep. Blink.

Inflate. Deflate.

Beep. Beep. Beep. Blink.

Maybe I could sleep through it if I just... nope. I called the nurse. A different one came in.

"Why are you squaking at me?" She was talking to the machine. I suggested maybe I didn't need the squeezies. Nope. Impossible. She stopped the beeping... and I waited.

I waited till I thought she might be busy with someone else then, lo and behold a third nurse came in to take my blood pressure - in my arms. And she agreed that perhaps she could take the squeezies off till four in the morning. VICTORY!

Of course, they forgot to put them back on and I worried about blood clots the whole next day. I got really serious about getting up and walking around to ward them off.

But, so far, so good. ;) I seem to have survived the whole experience. And now you know your legs won't explode when you wake up from surgery, should your nurse forget to mention the squeezies.

Thanks for all the well wishes while I was down and out! I should be blogging more regularly again. :)