7 Quick Takes: Peanut Butter Cookies, Dreamy Music, and LOL My Thesis

— 1 —

Quilled Map of World

Isn’t this the most beautiful thing? Read how Amber Rousse made this. I’ve never tried quilling, it seems easy but time consuming. I love the green and brown contrast. I must resist another hobby.

— 2 —

So, I got a Kitchenaid mixer for Christmas. Yeah! Bright red. I made peanut butter cookies Thursday night. I can’t get over how much less labor intensive it is over the hand whisk or a hand-held mixer. I love my husband! I tried to make bread…everyone loved it but me, not so much. I didn’t like the consistency of the bread when I used the bread hook. I think I prefer kneading by hand. So, my goal this weekend is to make cinnamon bread.

Here’s the Food Network recipe for peanut butter cookies:

1 cup of sugar, 1/4 cup additional to roll cookies
1 stick butter, at room temperature
1 egg
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1-1/2 cups flour

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a baking sheet. In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter. Beat in egg to mixture. Mix in peanut butter and vanilla until smooth and creamy. Stir in salt, baking soda, and flour until well combined. Roll dough into 1 inch balls and then roll in sugar. Place on baking sheet and flatten with fork. Bake for 12-15 minutes.

So I didn’t roll them in sugar, and I didn’t flatten them with a fork, and I used my cookie scoop to make them the same size. Oh, and I used parchment paper instead of greasing the baking sheet..but other than that I followed the recipe exactly!

— 3 —

So here are the two best cookie making tools in the world:

The Wilton Jumbo Cookie Spatula here

and a cookie dough scoop,small here

— 4 —

I love Neil Young, especially his “Unplugged” album. He uses a pump organ that I think is just beautiful. Anyway, his Carnegie Hall performance has been crowd sourced and uploaded to YouTube and can be found here:

— 5 —

I don’t sleep well. So I found this list of the top ten most relaxing tunes here:

1. Marconi Union—Weightless
2. Airstream—Electra
3. DJ Shah—Mellmaniac (Chill out Mix)
4. Enya—Watermark
5. Coldplay—Strawberry Swing
6. Barcelona—Please Don’t Go
7. All Saints—Pure Shores
8. Adele—Someone Like You
9. Mozart—Canzonetta Sull”aria
10. Café Del Mar—We Can Fly

Here’s what Lyz Cooper, founder of the British Academy of Sound Therapy says about Weightless:

“While listening, your heart rate gradually comes to match that beat. It is important that the song is eight minutes long because it takes about five minutes for this process, known as entrainment, to occur. The fall in heart rate also leads to a fall in blood pressure.
The harmonic intervals – or gaps between notes – have been chosen to create a feeling of euphoria and comfort. And there is no repeating melody, which allows your brain to completely switch off because you are no longer trying to predict what is coming next.
Instead, there are random chimes, which helps to induce a deeper sense of relaxation. The final element is the low, whooshing sounds and hums that are like buddhist chants. High tones stimulate but these low tones put you in a trance-like state.”

I think I may make this playlist and try it this week. I’ll let you know how it works.

— 6 —

gem club

Thursday morning on NPR’s Morning Edition they sampled Gem Club’s new album In Roses. Haunting and beautiful, a combination of cello, voice, and piano I can’t quit listening to the tracks available. I think I’ll have to get this on the 28th when it drops. This seems like something that would make work go by easy. And sometimes, it’s nice when work goes by easy.

— 7 —

And finally, I’ve been hooked on LOL My Thesis. I’ve submitted mine, but it hasn’t come up yet (they get 500 submissions a day). If it shows up, trust me you’ll hear about it. Graduate students take their thesis, which represents months to years of work and reduce it to a single, snarky sentence.

For example, the scholarly thesis entitled: “Creating a Romantic Landscape Costume Design and the Modern Romanticization of Pride & Prejudice” by a Theatre major at the University of Florida is reduced to “I Read/Watched a Lot of Pride & Prejudice and Wrote Extensively About Colin Firth’s Tight-Fitting Pants”.

In that vein, here is the Film School Thesis Statement Generator. Enter the name of your film and, surprisingly, it generates your thesis statement.

So Finding Nemo generates: “Through the use of impliled depth-of-field, Finding Nemo reminds the spectator of the plight of the migrant worker in post-war America”.

Yeah, that’s exactly what I thought.

Thanks, again to Jen for hosting and hop over to Conversion Diary to see what better bloggers than I have to say!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Posted in 7 Quick Takes, Baking, Gem Club | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Sunday Snippets–A Catholic Carnival

Sunday Snippets, hosted by RAnn, can be found here. Please pay her a visit!

I participated in Jen Fulweiler’s 2014 Saint’s Name Generator. Well, interestingly enough I was given St. Vincent de Paul. Patronage: Charitable Workers; Hospital Workers; Lepers; Lost Articles; Prisoners; Spiritual Help; Volunteers.

I work in gynecologic oncology in clinical research so I guess it was meant to be.

Feast Day: September 27th.

I have been struggling over the past year or two to really find a rhythm to blogging. I have teenage children so I’m not a “mommy blogger” but I do have a Master’s in Bioethics and Health Policy with a concentration in Catholic Healthcare Ethics so I think that I can provide insight into ethical challenges regarding healthcare from a Catholic perspective.

So, my only post within the past two weeks, thus the one I’ll link to, involves the Catholic Church’s position on brain death, in light of the tragic Jahi McMath case.

Posted in Bioethics, brain death, Jahi McMath, Sunday Snippets | 2 Comments

Death and Dying and the Catholic Church

“…we are not the owners of our lives and, hence, do not have absolute power over life. We have a duty to preserve our life and to use it for the glory of God, but the duty to preserve life is not absolute, for we may reject life-prolonging procedures that are insufficiently beneficial or excessively burdensome.” The Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Healthcare Services

Much is being written regarding the sad and terrible events unfolding in California regarding the death of Jahi McMath. What can we take from this regarding the legal definition of death, what the Catholic Church teaches us about ongoing medical interventions in the face of illness and impending death and how to determine death, and what we can do to prepare for our death and the death of our loved ones?

The Uniform Law Commission (ULC) exists to, “provide states with non-partisan, well conceived, and well drafted legislation that brings clarity and stability to critical areas of state statutory law.”

In 1978 the Uniform Law Commissioners created the Uniform Brain Death Act (UBDA). Acknowledging that it needed to be broadly worded to avoid near immediate obsolescence, the Act stated that, “…irreversible cessation of all functioning of the brain, including the brain stem” is death. The Act prescribed that “determination of death be made in accordance with ‘reasonable medical standards’.” The wording “reasonable medical standards” allows for the evolution of medical technology which may yield ever more sophisticated methods allowing for making this determination.

This broad wording proved confusing for States and in 1980 the ULC replaced the UBDA with the Uniform Determination of Death Act (UDDA):

This is essentially the original Act with the addition of the following, “…irreversible cessation of circulatory and respiratory functions” as an alternative standard for determining death. The term “reasonable medical standards” has also been changed to “accepted medical standards.”” This allows for two definitions of death: irreversible cessation of circulatory and respiratory functions and/or irreversible cessation of all function of the brain, including the brain stem.

Section 1: Determination of Death. An individual who has sustained either (1) irreversible cessation of circulatory and respiratory functions, or (2) irreversible cessation of all functions of the entire brain, including the brain stem, is dead. A determination of death must be made in accordance with accepted medical standards.

Section 2: Uniformity of Construction and Application. This Act shall be applied and construed to effectuate its general purpose to make uniform the law with respect to the subject of this Act among states enacting it.

This Act is not without controversy. Some argue that it is not necessary to allow for the cessation of circulatory and respiratory functions as brain death is death. Further discussion about some of the concerns with this Act can be found here:

What does the State of California say?

California Codes Health and Safety Code Section 7180 states: (a) An individual who has sustained either (1) irreversible cessation of circulatory and respiratory functions, or (2) irreversible cessation of all functions of the entire brain, including the brain stem, is dead. A determination of death must be made in accordance with accepted medical standards. (b) This article shall be applied and construed to effectuate its general purpose to make uniform the law with respect to the subject of this article among states enacting it. (c) This article may be cited as the Uniform Determination of Death Act.

7181. When an individual is pronounced dead by determining that the individual has sustained an irreversible cessation of all functions of the entire brain, including the brain stem, there shall be independent confirmation by another physician.

According to the State of California, Ms. McMath has died. Why is this difficult for her family to accept? The problem lies in our inability to reconcile what we see before us with what we know about the dead. When a patient needs respiratory support, without an Advanced Directive, the automatic response is to intubate the patient and begin mechanical ventilation. This provides oxygenated blood flowing throughout the body keeping the heart functioning. Surely we think, someone whose chest is rising and falling, whose heart is beating is alive.

A neurologist (or 2 or 6) may tell me that my loved one’s brain has ceased to function and a PET scan shows no blood flow to the brain, therefore the person lying before me is brain dead. But her chest is moving up and down, she has normal skin color and is warm to the touch. How can she be dead? If mechanical respiratory support is stopped, her chest will fall still and within minutes the heart quits beating due to lack of oxygen. Now she appears dead. It now seems we’ve caused this person’s death by our actions. In reality our earlier intervention has kept her body functioning with invasive procedures when the brain was no longer alive capable of doing so. Without prior intervention, her heart would have stopped and her appearance would have matched our experience with what death looks like.

So, what do the US Bishops say about determining death? The Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Healthcare Services (ERDs)

in Section Five: Issues and Care for the Seriously Ill and Dying, Directive #62 states: The determination of death should be made by the physician or competent medical authority in accordance with responsible and commonly accepted scientific criteria.

Thus, according to the Catholic Church, once a physician or competent medical authority has determined that brain death as occurred (as in the case of Ms. McMath) then the patient is, in fact dead. Since patients are given respiratory support while waiting for this determination to be made, what happens next? Once the determination of death is made, both in the eyes of the law and the Church, all artificial respiratory support can be withdrawn. We are not keeping someone alive with respiratory support we are artificially lengthening the time between when the brain became incapable of regulating breathing and their heart stopped due to lack of oxygen.

So, what can we do to minimize this scenario in our own families? Part of being Catholic is preparing ourselves and our families for eternal life. The vigorous debate surrounding the continued care of Ms. McMath’s body is an opportunity for us to educate ourselves as to the Church’s position on death and dying, checking our state’s legal definition of death, and discussing an Advanced Directive with next-of-kin.

Every state government website should have an Advanced Directive form. By learning how our State defines death, speaking with our family and health care providers and thinking about how we would like to be cared for, and making those wishes known through an Advanced Directive, we can lessen the grief and burden to our loved ones if something catastrophic occurs.

Posted in Bioethics, Death, Dying, ERDs, Faith, Jahi McMath, Law, moral status, Parenting, sacraments