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Monday, May 31, 2010

NEW Photography Assignment

Since it is the first of the month....  Can you believe it is already JUNE?!   I have not given up on my "contests" but they have changed a little.  A new assignment with a new twist has been posted.  Check it out and see for yourself.  While there won't be any voting there will still be an even better way for you all to participate and chime in.  And I am still offering a little something for the photographer of the photo that I choose as "the best" at the end of the month.  I'm excited!  You should be too :)

The LPN Year

I very much want to write about the past few months of nursing school and after just one post I have realized a couple of things.  It is going to take me quite some time to write it all down and quite a few entries.  I also don't want to miss out on posting about everything else going on in my life while I am working on these LPN posts so I plan on writing and post-dating them in a place where you can look at them separately. So I am going to reorganize some stuff and let you know when the posts are up and running!

And if you haven't, you can still read the first post below. :)

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Letting the Grass Grow Long

The grass in my front yard is growing like a weed.  Actually, a more accurate statement would be that its growing full of weeds.  Its pretty much out of control, borderline field-like, and you know what?  I am okay with that. 


After seven weeks without a break in school and work I am feeling the stress.  Nine hour clinical days that begin at 6:30 in the morning and are an hour away from my home are exhausting.  My desire to read and study nursing text books day in and day out is dwindling.  I have stacked up laundry once again and unswept floors.  Its just too much.  My white flag is waving. 

So what am I doing about?  What am I doing about my unmowed grass, unfolded laundry, and unread textbooks?  Nothing.  It actually feels good, but that good feeling is oh so fleeting.  This huge nagging feeling soon envelopes me.  I can't relax.  I can't unwind.  Its like termites gnawing at my head.  Termites screaming fold the clothes!  Read your textbooks!  Get off your duff and accomplish something young lady! 

When I signed up for nursing school I never thought it would be this much work.  I know that sounds silly, but honestly I was that naive.  Somehow I got through four years of a bacheloriate degree with minimal effort just three years earlier.  Textbooks?  I barely knew them.  Lectures?  I slept through many of them. So when I signed up for nursing school I had only my half-assed effort in college as a comparison.  What a shocker this year has been.

As the last few weeks of the semester wind up I find myself doing a lot reflecting on my year as a "nurse in training".  I suppose that is natural.  A lot has happened.  Great experiences, new friends, new lessons, and incredible stressors alike.  Some things I have written about, but most I have not.  For the moment I am going to go lay in the long grass, swat the bugs, and ignore the voices telling me to clean.  Then I plan on mulling over my experiences and trials of the past few months and sharing them  all with you.  It may make you rethink your perspectives of higher education or what its like being a nurse, student, or patient. 

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Foster Family Failure

I was outside enjoying the sun when in my yard I spotted something bluish in the ground. 
Right away I knew what it was...



An egg!  A robin's egg! And it had somehow fallen from the skies and landed on the ground intact.  I could feel a tiny little weight inside the egg as I held it in the palm of my hand.  There was a baby bird in there yet to hatch.  I searched high and low for the nest that this egg came from.  It needed to be returned!  After being unable to locate this egg's home I decided I would find it a new home and a hopefully willing foster momma.  



That's the nest that robins diligently build on the side of my house every single year.  My thought was, 'that bird won't mind an extra egg, heck she probably won't notice!'  So I plopped that egg right in next to the others.  You couldn't even tell the difference!  


Well, I guess the momma bird could...  
This is the splat of baby bird death that I found on my deck just two days later.  It made me sad to see this.  Apparently the robin was wise to my plan and pushed the egg right out of the nest.  My plans to find a foster mommy for the orphaned egg was foiled in the most devastating way.  At least I tried!



PS...  Check out this site and play along if you'd like! 
Also, feel free to follow me too.  That would be even more awesome :)



Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Why You Shouldn't Drive Without a Tire.

You'd think that this would be self explanatory, but apparently it is not...
If you do not have all four tires on your vehicle it is not safe or okay to drive it.  The following is an example of what will happen to your car.







Yes, a metal wheel on asphalt at posted speeds will get hot and catch the plastic of your car's fender on fire.  Then your car will melt into the road and have to be scooped up by a shovel. 

Here is your sign and thank you for supporting your local fire department! 

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Cultural Experience

Normally my nursing clinicals involve, well, nursing.  A lot of my clinical rotations are away from the hospital at doctors offices, schools, and other medical facilities.  There I spend my day following a nurse around like a lost puppy, looking awkward standing in front of patients.  The other day I was following a school nurse.  She told me that I was going with her to an exchange student's house to observe her occupational therapy.  The girl was a Chinese exchange student who had been involved in an accident and suffered a spinal injury a few months ago and now the school had provided a home for her to stay while she recovered.  Her mother had also come all the way from China and was staying there with her daughter. 

When we walked into the home there was this wonderful smell.  The girl was cooking.  This sweet and fresh aroma filled the kitchen, along with steam from the several fry pans in use.  Her mother was wielding a rolling pin and flinging flower on a board with dough like nobody's business.  I stood there nervously.  They expected us to eat and I was preparing for an awkward situation.  Why?  Because I am a picky eater.  Worse yet, because I dislike Chinese food.  I never ever ever eat out at a Chinese restaurant.  Now I was going to be cooked a real Chinese meal.  I also knew nothing of the Chinese culture and eating expectancies.  What was polite?  How much should I eat?  And how the heck do I use chopsticks?!  


Then they set the food down in front of us on the table.  Three dishes.  One was this flat piece of fried dough.  Another was a bowl full of tomatoes, eggs, and leeks.  The third bowel was a mixture of a broth, hamburger, peppers, celery, tomatoes, mushrooms, and carrots.  I was officially scared.  All those vegetables?  All those combinations?  I don't eat things like that! 

Five of us, the girl, mom, occupational therapist, school nurse, and myself, sat down.  Thankfully I was handed a fork.  Everyone dug in so I decided to follow suit.  One bite and and oh my... it. was. awesome.   I ate almost everything.  The only reason I didn't eat everything was because I was full.  Later I found out the I followed proper Chinese etiquette by not eating everything on my plate.  The Chinese view an empty plate as an insult, as if they didn't feed you enough.  

While the rest of my classmates were changing linens, documenting treatments, and administering scheduled medications I was enjoying an authentic Chinese meal. It really doesn't get more authentic than that and yes, my classmates were jealous.

So I am curious...
What is something weird or unexpected that you tried and ended up liking?  

Monday, May 24, 2010

A Good Day at Work.

If every day of work was like my shift this weekend then I would never ever dream of changing jobs.  The low pay and long hours would be well worth it.  My shift this weekend was full of challenges and stressful situations, but I was totally in my element.  The day began quietly, but little did we know that just before 11am we would be dispatched for our first call and not return to the station until more than ten hours later.

It all began with a call to the ultimate Frisbee tournament where were hundreds of people and dozens of teams had gathered at a local high school fields to hold the event.  Who knew ultimate Frisbee was so popular?  We graced the field because this young kid had a broken leg.  Boy was it broken...  I also didn't know ultimate frisbee was so dangerous!  There was a massive deformity to his lower leg and when he tried to move his leg moved, but his foot stayed in place.  That wasn't a good sign.  We splinted the leg while the kid screamed for some chloroform to knock him out so he wouldn't feel the pain.

An hour later we received a call from the hospital saying that we had to transport him to the larger Level I trauma center an hour away as soon as possible.  So just as I put my pizza that I bought for lunch into the oven I had to take it out and leave it to go to waste, half cooked, with the yeast rising.  I went to the hospital hungry and cranky. 

During the transport the kid did nothing except remind me that I am getting old.  He told me he thought I was thirty years old and then said it was a good thing that I was already married because there is nothing worse than a thirty year old women 'with her clock ticking all paranoid about being tied down and having kids.'  Then he began using slang I had never heard and didn't understand.  When I asked him about what he had planned to do during the summer he said "just sit around and cheese all day."  He saw my puzzled looked and said "you know, cheesin." ...Umm, I guess so?

At the end of our transport he said then told us we were cool and showed us how to do some elaborate hand shake akin to a fist pound that he said "some black guy taught me".  I have since done the hand shake at least half a dozen times and now feel much cooler and half my age.

Literally five seconds after we signed back into the coverage area and now down to a half a tank of fuel we were dispatched to the very far corner of our coverage area for a woman who ended up having a massive stroke.  Her family had no idea what happened and could only tell me she had "inside problems" for medical history.  As opposed to outside problems, I guess?  My husband and another paramedic intercepted.  Its awesome working with your husband in the back of the ambulance on a serious medical call.  Trust me. 

Before I could even finish my paperwork for that call we were dispatched for another.  A woman had tripped into a fire pit and burned her hands and arms significantly as she caught her fall. I got a good review estimating the degree and percent of a burn while learning that if you freeze alcohol and drink sips of it half frozen you are drinking mostly straight alcohol.  The water/juices freeze while the alcohol does not so you get drunk faster.  Apparently I missed that pro-tip while in college and so did this poor person.  She kept saying "I just had two drinks!" and wondered why we were questioning the legitimacy of that claim.  Everyone has "just two". 

The beautiful sunset and downtown Lyndonville.  Taken from the front seat of the ambulance with my iPhone.

So we went over 250 miles in ten hours, had a paramedic intercept on every single 911 call, and each patient was transferred to a high level of care at a Level I hospital.  One by air, one by us, and one by a paramedic service.  Every all was a legitimate and serious emergency.  It was almost worth not getting to eat my pizza until 930pm. 

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sunday Summaries


I haven't even recovered from yesterday's shift at Rescue yet and I don't even know where to begin about this past week.  The weather has been wonderful and I've been trying to enjoy it every chance I can get.  This spring/summer is starting to look a lot like last year's and that has me worried because last year May was beautiful and then it rained almost every day until September.  I'm not kidding.  But that is what you need to have beautiful foliage, a lot of rain, so I am torn between a nice summer and a beautiful fall foliage season to enjoy with my camera.  


This week started with me getting my wisdom tooth pulled.  That photo is me sitting in the dentist's chair with that light shining in my face just after being numbed up with nine shots of Lidocaine.  My face was so numb I couldn't even smile when I took the photo.  Now three out of four wisdom teeth are gone and I have a very annoying and gaping hole in my mouth.  Thankfully I don't feel any less full of wisdom (heh..)  But, all week I've been unable to eat spaghetti and that is killing me.  Instead I think I've eaten pizza five times this week.  Its so much easier to chew.  Man, I am a dietitians nightmare.


We've had no calls about our home this week.  Its been almost two weeks actually, but I won't let myself get worked up about it.  There are over one hundred properties for sale in Island Pond right now.  Yes, really... over one hundred.  That's counting homes and land.  If someone wants to move to Island Pond they definitely have a lot of options, not just our home.  Tomorrow, just for fun, we are going to ride down towards where Shawn works and see what's for sale and do some real estate drive bys. 


I've skipped most of my lecture classes this week.  Its like I have senioritis and want nothing to do with classes anymore.  The weather is just too nice and classes are too boring.  To fuel my class skipping I've discovered I have the uncanny ability to get the same grades when I read my text books as I do if I go to class.  Hmm... reading on my sunny deck?  Sitting through five hours of lecture?  Not that tough a decision. 


And yesterday?  My Lands did I have a busy day at work and that photo above just punctuates everything I experienced.  Not only was it a busy day, but I had legitimate emergencies all day long.  We were so busy the ambulance was down to just a quarter tank of fuel and we had been out of the station for over ten hours without time enough between dispatches for fuel or food.  It was a challenge, but that's why I love my job.  If every day at work could be like yesterday I'd take the low pay with crappy hours and forget all about nursing school.  Seriously. 

Oh... and because it's Sunday...

I have picked a few awesome "Contrast" selections for this month's photo assignment.  You can submit your contrast photo and it could be featured on the assignment page.  Be sure to include your website/blog link with your photo description so I can link your photo if its selected.  

And I am tossing some ideas around for the next assignment June 1st.  I think I will be offering a teeny prize to one photo that I select as a winner for the entire month.  It should be fun!





Saturday, May 22, 2010

"I Told You So"

There is nothing I hate more than hearing "I told you so." but since I have been a little kid that sentence keeps reoccurring in my life experiences.  That's what I get for being a person who 'learns by doing.'  So the other night I had the privilege of hearing another "I told you so" speech.  This time it was from my husband...

We have a wonderful little runt of a lab named Sutton.  My husband is absolutely paranoid about letting him off the leash.  I guess decades ago, when he was very young, he had a dog that ran away.  Since then he has developed a completely irrational fear about our dogs running off.  And by irrational I mean that we have a wonderful 10x10 kennel with a huge 6x6 doghouse attached that is cemented into the ground and he refuses to keep the dogs outside in the kennel if we aren't home.  Instead the dogs get to stay in small crates when we aren't home, even on the nicest of days.  In case you were wondering we have had many an argument about the situation and I somehow always give in to his irrationality.  

Just in case you don't know me very well, I have a tendency to occasionally not follow directions, especially if I disagree with said directions... for example, keeping the dogs on leashes.  I believe a lab should be able to be a lab.  To run free, frolic, and do that nose down tail up thing dogs do when they are on a mission.  So in spirits of letting my lab be a lab I forwent the leash and headed out into the woods with him.  Shawn wasn't home to stop me...




And then after that photo was taken I turned my attention to a pretty cool looking flower that I wanted to capture with my macro lens.  I could hear Sutton pitter-pattering in the distance, but it didn't concern me.  If I look at the photo now he appears impatient and distracted.  Two bad things for a lab to be.  The pitter-pattering soon vanished and I lifted my head to find he had disappeared.  'How far could he have gone in three seconds?' I thought.  Well, far enough where I lost him. 

I had to keep myself together and not think about Sutton being perpetually lost or Shawn being beyond angry as I wandered through the woods yelling "Sutton!" at the top of my lungs.  After a long search with no direction to go and no sign of the dog I headed home thinking that maybe he had decided to go home and would be waiting on the porch for me.  Nope.  Of course not. 

In a last ditch effort I hopped into my car to head down the dirt road.  I was hoping he had popped out of the woods and was headed back home along the road, although the thought of the road made me think of cars and cars running into my dog who isn't used to not having someone hold him back with a leash.  With that image in my head I had a hard time holding back tears....  what if I couldn't find him?  How would I explain this to Shawn?  I felt so guilty and stupid.  His irrational fear seemed less irrational now.  And then... there he was on the side of the road about a half a mile away. As soon as he saw my car he ran.  I slammed to a halt, jumped out, and opened the back door of my car.  He hopped right in with one of those stupid dog smiles like "Oh hi, jeez thanks for stoppin'!"  


Of course I couldn't be mad at him.  I was just glad he was back.  It didn't matter that he was wet and covered in mud when he hopped into my car and laid on my leather seats (ok... it mattered a little bit).  When I talked to Shawn later that evening I told him about what had happened.  That's the kind of relationship we have.  I really can't keep things from him even if I know I may get yelled at.  But when I told him about the leashless adventure with Sutton and his running away all he did was take a deep breath and say "Well.... at least he's back.  I told you so, didn't I?"

Friday, May 21, 2010

H2O Art

More adventures with my Macro Lens....
I am really enjoying playing with this lens.  It never ceases to amaze me.  The only downside to it that I have noticed so far is that you have to first get very (very) close to your subject and then focus the image so it is difficult to get moving objects. Other than that challenge I have zero complains.  A zoom macro lens would be outstanding, though.  Actually, a zoom lens in general would be great. 


I took these photo yesterday afternoon while I was also photographing the apple blossoms that I showed you in my last entry.  Its such fun to walk around the yard, a place I see every day and have walked through a million times, and come across fun things to photograph.  That spiderweb full of raindrops was one of them and this interesting crisscross of leaves and droplets is another.


Did you know I have another blog??  Called the "Northeast Kingdom Photography Blog", its where I post a lot of my photo related things, like the rain drop photo here, but also other ones I love, and occassionally actual posts about technique and editing.  Also, if you're a beginner photographer there is a great article about the "ABCs of Photography" in the sites tabs so go visit and become a follower!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

April Showers Bring....

May flowers!  Well... actually Apple Blossoms.  It rained all morning, in the middle of the week that the weather man promised would be a seven day stretch of sun and seventy degree temperatures, and it was just enough to coax the blossoms to bloom. 


I came home exhausted today after a nine hour clinical day at a pediatric clinic.  It was a day full entirely of strep throat cultures, immunizations, and the cutest little babies ever.  If I have learned anything this semester it is that all this exposure to cute babies makes me want to procreate.  I melt when I get to hold them and coo at them while helping with the assessment.  I'd be lying if I didn't say that Shawn and I have talked about trying for our own little ones.  We have a plan... it may go into place soon.  I am excited, but lets just say I'm not buying folic acid supplements and making him take out the litter box just yet. 

On the other hand, my mid-week exhaustion this semester has made me realize that working a regular eight to five job is going to be a lot to get used to.  ...who would have thought?   I guess I am extremely spoiled in my rural EMS job where I have been able to come back after a call and take a nap, play video games, watch television, or just plain do whatever I want.  After years of working in such comfort I find that these long clinical days are draining.  My bed times have moved up a good hour and a half. 

So to take a moment today, as tired as I was, just grab my camera with my macro lens and head out into the backyard for a little while was just what I needed.  It seems every time I look through my lens I forget about the rest of the world beyond it.  



Now back to the books....

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I Wonder What the Postman Thinks

In a small town you get to know everyone really well, even the postmaster, who often sings over a loudspeaker wearing large patriotic hats on a float in the fourth of July parade.  So when I picked up this package at the post office from my mother today and saw this scrawled on the side...


I really had to wonder what went through his head as he handed the box over to  me.  On the other side the words "Fragile, Contains Bottled Water"  were written in the same handwriting.  To be honest I think its my younger sister's writing, not my mother's (update: My mother advised its actually the woman from the post office's handwriting.), but either way he has to be wondering about mine or the person's who sent this sanity. 


When I got home the package made literal and eclectic sense.  My mother had mailed me a box stuffed full of Veggie Tales fruit snacks, a jar of homemade strawberry Jam (that had dust on it so it makes me wonder if its from last year.  Also... isn't it too early to pick strawberries?), and lastly, two actual bottles filled with genuine fountain of youth water.


Yes, see... it says "genuine".    
I think I've aged fifteen years the last few months of school and this would really come in handy!


And it also says "Souvenir - Not For Consumption" on the label.  Darn.  

So why did my mom send me this?  Well her and my father really did make a trip down to Florida for their anniversary a few weeks ago and picked up a bottle of this "genuine" water for both Shawn and I.  And the rest of the stuff?  Well that's just the randomness of my mother's love.  It's like I am a poor college dorm student that doesn't have any money for food because she is always sending me food.  I wouldn't change it for the world. 

Monday, May 17, 2010

Cabin For Sale

Our cabin is finally, once again, officially on the market.  There are now little signs in front of the house and at the end of our road with an arrow directing potential buyers towards my home.  I am nervous and stressed, especially since this is our second time trying to sell our home.  Last time it wasn't such smooth sailing...


(it is not the company we are listed with, but rather a more link sharing friendly site than our lister)

In 2008, as Shawn and I were a month away from our wedding, we decided it would be smart to try and list our home (you know... to add to everything else that was going on).  It happened to be put up for sale exactly two weeks before the market decided to crash.  The foreclosures and falling real estate market were all I saw on the news.  Then we had the snowiest winter since 1850 when records began being kept.  Four showings were canceled last minute because of the weather.  The one offer we did receive was over $20,000 less than our asking price and our real estate broker refused to negotiate on our behalf (I'm not kidding).  He "advised us to take the offer" despite knowing it would cause us to lose money on our home.  It was just a horrible experience and I was so happy when our six month contract ended and our home was no longer listed.  

Forward two years and we are trying it again, only now we have six whole months of green leaves and warm weather ahead of us. I really hope we are successful this time because it would save us tremendous money commuting, I would get to spend more time with Shawn since he wouldn't stay at work between shifts if we were closer, and there would be a greater availability of nursing jobs. 

The only dilemma is this...
If I move out of the Cabin should I change the name of my blog?!
And if I move south out of the Northeast Kingdom to the Upper Valley of Vermont, where White River Junction and Shawn's work is, should I change my photography name? Northeast Kingdom Photography?  

I wish I thought of some clever, non-location specific names.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Where Did the Contest Go?!

Okay...

So I knew that this would cause concern and disappointment with some  The photography contests have been discontinued (at least for now).  It had to be done and here is why...
  1. I am nearing the end of my first year of nursing school.  That means I will soon be taking the NCLEX, which I have ONE chance to pass so I can move onto my RN year.  That pressure alone is enough.  Add to that the fact that we are actively trying to sell our home so running and managing a contest that is growing every month is too much to take on right now.  
  2. The contest costs money.  I love being able to give things away, especially things people want like money and gift certificates, but it is expensive.  If sponsors step forward then I will absolutely continue the contest.
  3. My husband, who shares and greatly contributes to the bank account I use to support this contest, is not keen on me "giving away hundreds of dollars a month for a contest."  He knows that part of my original idea for holding these contests was to showcase my own photography.  As he points out, these contests cater to other photographers.  Photographers don't want to buy other photographer's work.  They want to showcase their own work.  And he's right....  
What will I be doing then?
I will be hosting monthly "assignments" where you can upload your photos and I will pick one or two to showcase a week.  Be sure to include your blog or website address in the description with your upload so I can link to your blog!  Look for the way "assignments" are done to be changed.  I have a lot of ideas that make it really easy for maintenance and participation.

And?
Sometime soon I will be hosting a giveaway.  Hopefully I will be able to offer periodic small giveaways for my regular readers.  You guys rock and I know won't run away just because the contest has disappeared!  Right? Oh, I hope not!

Thanks for taking the time to read this, or anything else I write for that matter.  And I really am sorry if I rained on anyone's parade or sneezed in your salad.  I hope you forgive me and we can still be friends :)



Friday, May 14, 2010

Learning To Drive All Over Again

In the seven years I have been working as an EMT I have officially learned to drive an ambulance three different times.  The various directors that have walked the halls of my job have all seen fit to instill new driving courses for us to take during each of their tenures.  This past weekend, true to tradition, I sat in a class and acted like a complete disruptive tard.  It seems that each time I take it I get more disruptive and insubordinate.  I'm such a good student.
 

We were handed these colorful little paper books that reminded me of the work books I would receive when I went to vacation bible school every summer as a child.  Filled with colorful photos, stories, and worksheets to do throughout the week.  Only instead of a booklet about Jesus multiplying loaves of bread it was about the cushion of safety and stopping distances. 


I swear that the powerpoint was narrated by the same person who did the ones I listened to in drivers education ten years ago.  Nothing says fun like low budget powerpoints and cheap graphics.  


Here is an example from our little booklet....  "You are vehicle "A" and must make a left turn.  What would you do?"  Hmmm....  Tailgate vehicle "C" until he moves out of the way? Not the right answer?  Darn. 


I did make a half-hearted attempt to fill out the work sheets.  You have to give me some credit.  Oh, and of course I brought sip boxes of Yohoo to the class.  I mean, who wouldn't do that?  My boss decided to stand next to me much of the class.  Guess the girl taking photos with her cell phone and sipping on a chocolate milk substance was a tad suspicious and disruptive... 


Look at all my coworkers, so intent on learning the rules of the road.  Paying attention and taking the class seriously while I, well, am not.

Ok, well maybe I am not the only disruptive one.  There is nothing wrong with a little male on male massaging to help the rules of the road sink in. Hey... this is Vermont.  That sort of thing is legal.


And after being called out for a cardiac arrest in the middle of the class I came back just as everyone was finishing the exam.  Fifty questions in the back of the book that a four year old with a forward facing car seat could answer.  Yeah, I'm pretty sure I got a 100.  

Aren't you glad people like me drive ambulances?  Don't worry... its all skill not classroom.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Losing Faith in Humanity

I found this "friend of a friend" while surfing on Facebook the other day.
The following needs no explanation....


Needless to say I am horrified and dumbfounded that people this ignorant exist in the world.  Good. Lord....
You're welcome for sharing.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Rejected.

Hi there, whatcha eating? It looks like you're enjoying it!

Care if I just sit here and hang out?

I won't be a bother.  Promise!

So that's a no then, huh?

I'll call you!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Cleaning Tip?!

How many of you have had this happen?

You have just put a nicely prepared dish into the oven while you are at work. The radio goes off. You have an emergency call. Without a second thought you head to the ambulance and are out the door responding. Then on the way to the call you remember.... you're dinner is still in the oven! So you place a phone call to someone who is nearby to come to the station and pull out your dinner to avert an oven fire. Then when you return an hour later you find not only a cold dinner, but also a baked on mess because the dish had been left in the oven just a little too long.

No?

Ok... I guess its just me. But, I do imagine that you may have dealt with baked on foods before. (If not, well then I want to learn how to cook like you!).

At the end of my shift in the morning ALL the dishes must be done, even the baked on impossible dish that I ruined the previous evening. After scrubbing until my arm almost fell off I was at wits end as to how to remove the impossibly baked on food. Remembering something my mom had told me I scoured the fridge for some baking soda.  There was no baking soda, but I spotted something else... Lemon Juice! 



I squirted a good amount into the dish and added a little bit of water, just until the liquid covered all the stuck on food.


Then into the microwave the dish went.  I let it "cook" for about three minutes or so.  It was just a guess.  I really had no basis for choosing three minutes. 


At the end of my arbitrary three minutes I removed the dish (which was searing hot!) and proceeded to wash it. The baked on food came right off.  Really, it did. 


Ta-Da!
So did you learn something?!  This probably isn't a breakthrough tip, but trust me when I thought of this I felt like a regular Martha Stewart!