Weekend Diversions 4.15.16

The past few days have been filled with constantly changing plans, all out of my control, which has left me a bundle of stress. Some good things have come out of this uncertainty, however: I rediscovered my love for spontaneous solo dance parties, to the horror of my cat whose chiding looks tell me that now she has proof she is the superior being (but they are so good at relieving my anxiety and making me laugh instead of pulling out my hair); and, I had unexpected time this morning to catch up on reading and write this post.

  1. Almond and chickpea bread with dried fruit: I’ve had a bag of chickpea flour in burning a hole in my refrigerator for a while, purchased to make chickpea tofu. My attempt at the tofu fell far short of the delicious dish prepared for me while on vacation in Seattle by my friend, a chef at Hotel Albatros (side note, if you are in Seattle, the food there is amazing and most of it can be made vegan, or not, depending on your preferences). Although I do plan on trying to make the tofu again, I have also been searching for another, less experimental, way to use up some of the flour. This bread was a perfect way to do just that: it comes together like any breakfast bread, with the added bonus of being dense and not too sweet. Even my boyfriend, whose main criticism of my baked goods is that they are too dense, enjoyed it. I can also say it is amazing toasted and topped with almond butter.
  2. The problem with satisfied patients: This article in The Atlantic came out last year, but the problem it brings to light is still relevant. Hospitals make more money from Medicade reimbursements (a large percentage of their revenues) when patients report higher levels of satisfaction. But satisfaction does not always mean better care. A patient who dislikes the bland food they are served after heart surgery might report lower satisfaction, even though the care they receive supports their recovery best. In fact, the article shows, hospitals with high ratings also often have higher levels of mortality, readmission, and complications. A satisfied patient, therefore, is not always a well patient. The workaround from hospitals is not more nurses, more patient interaction, or an increased focus on patient care, but the inclusion of scripts nurses must recite to convince the patients they are receiving the best care possible, whether or not that is actually true. My boyfriend works in a hospital and he is constantly frustrated that efficiency and maximum productivity are prioritized over patient care.
  3. A portrait of an artist as a young mom: I am not yet a mother, and have no immediate plans to become one but it is a vague part of my goals for the future. As a writer, I have often thought about how motherhood will impact my creativity. Even without children I struggle to find time to write, between life and relationships and working and caring for my cats. I also use these obligations as excuses for not writing: I would love to write but I have to care for a sick friend, take my cat to the vet, clean my kitchen, go to the grocery store, relax after going to the grocery store, etc. Much as the author of this article has filled her days with the details of parenting (PTA meetings, birthday parties, dance classes). Her priorities shifted, or she thought they should and so allowed them to, and writing was not high on the list. I think that’s okay, at least for a while. But it feels unbalanced for me. I actually think I might go crazy (as do some of the women in the article) if I do not write.  I have tried it before, and I always feel lost and frustrated away from my craft. I am a firm believer in putting oneself first; I cannot be good to anyone (especially, I suspect, a child) if I am not good to myself. Maybe this will make me a horrible parent. I vacillated, when reading this, between nodding in agreement and being annoyed at the whiny nature of the authors complaints. I do not know if she has approached writing and motherhood from the wrong angle, if she over-exaggerated for the sake of literary appeal, or her experience is valid and the inevitable result of being creative and having young children. If any of you readers have children, how do you find time to write and care for them as well? I am curious to hear alternate perspectives on this .
  4. When women outlive their ovaries: A fascinating look at how women’s bodies have been subjugated by big pharma. The article focuses on advertisements from the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s that portray women as listless, anxious, annoying. Women are not excited to be housewives and, therefore, must be medicated into submission. None of this is news to me, but I have an obsession with old advertisements for and about women because I think they provide the best glimpse into popular conceptions of womanhood. I will certainly be reading the book, Born With a Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks, and Hacks Pimp the Public Health, from which this article was excerpted.

Thank you as always for reading! Let me know what articles have piqued your interest (or fury) this past week in the comments below. Have a lovely weekend, take a walk, enjoy the weather.

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