Friday, October 12, 2012

one more time with feeling

My schedule has gone erratic again, filled with the new joy of 30-hour shifts. Fun times. Actually, they really are in some ways. It won't mean much to you if you don't work in the medical field, but I actually much prefer working a 30 hour shift than a 16 hour one. Sure, you lose sense of what time it is, what day it is, when you're supposed to be sleeping, personal hygiene. But you do get a chance to breathe in the hospital, to really think about the overall plan for your patients and how best to treat them, because you're actually around the entire day watching their clinical course.

Anyway. The down side is that all I do is work, bake, drink random alcoholic beverages (I'm loathe to admit I've been branching out from my usual GG&Ts, and recently went so far as to drink something called a Lion's Tail-- worst part is that I actually liked it!), and do laundry. Not exactly an exciting existence, definitely not one that merits much in the way of documentation.

I'm working at the VA right now though, and that place always makes my blood pressure sky rocket. Not because the vets are super-conservative and occasionally borderline racist and oftentimes borderline perverted-- none of those things ultimately bother me because the vets are possibly my favorite patient population out there. No, what drives me crazy is that no one else seems to be interested in their health besides the residents. Getting anything done there requires cutting through 15 layers of red tape, and usually involves losing your temper, and even then, things barely get done. Ultrasounds don't get done on the weekend. It tends to drive me crazy. One of the senior residents last year told me that the VA is where residents go "to develop sass"- and let me say, for the record, the sass is now in full effect.

But the up side of sass is that it in turn breeds rage, which in turn breeds baking. People are starting to catch on to my deal, and my friend CC, who knows how frustrated I've been with both the VA and a particularly lackadaisical intern, decided to innocently send me a link to a recipe for pumpkin cinnamon rolls yesterday, knowing full well that I would take the bait on my day off. Yeast-based baked products are not usually things I tackle on a work day because you never know exactly how long things will take to rise and fall. I had to be patient with these rolls because the recipe called for a type of yeast I couldn't be bothered to go out and buy.

Sometimes I get bored with my own baking. Cupcakes, cookies, blah blah blah. I think I've optimized and I can make what I make and I won't ever be able to improve from there. I've still yet to figure out how to make macarons properly, and it feels like a losing proposition. But on the other hand, I was reminded that I tried to make pumpkin cinnamon rolls several years ago and it was a complete failure. They turned out the weight and density of hockey pucks, and I remember being really angry that I wasted not time, but so much flour. That's not cheap! But that was a while back. This time, the result was a bit different:

They may not look like much but they are gooey and soft and light. And the cream cheese icing on top will get rid of any shortcomings they might have. So it was a good reminder that it's worth giving things a second, third, fourth, fifteenth try.

And maybe I can use the muffins at the VA this weekend to bribe someone into drawing a blood count on my patients.

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