Friday, January 25, 2008

Summer, bottled

Last summer I spent an evening pitting five pounds of cherries (sweet cherries and pie cherries) while watching a really good movie. It was slow going. Five pounds is a lot of cherries -- and the movie was subtitled and fast-paced, so I was trying to pit the cherries by feel alone without looking down at what I was doing. My hands were pretty gory for a few days afterward -- stained reddish-purple -- and my fingernails were horrible.

But it was all worth it for the end result:

I made an apple wine too, a couple of months before the cherry wine. That was easy -- done with store-bought apple juice. We tried them both this past weekend. The apple wine was sweeter than I expected, but a nice acid balance. The cherry is almost opaque unless you're looking at it with a window behind it. It smells and tastes almost like port (to me anyway) with raisiny, tobacco-y notes to it. Both of them probably need to sit a little longer before they're really ready to drink.

Now I'm doomed -- I want to go out and buy some stuff to I can play with my wine recipes a little more -- check the sugar and alcohol contents and adjust thing. This time I just followed the recipes and let it do its thing. I am full of ideas for what I'd like to make next...

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Wednesday, January 02, 2008


This is just brilliant, this.

I had a patient come in today to pick up a new pack of pills, wanting to know how to restart, as she’d messed up her last pack. She’d missed a pill in the first week, started having some spotting in the second week (as can happen if you miss a pill), got nervous, and stopped taking them altogether. She had planned to use condoms until her period came and she could start over with a new pack. But then they had a condom break.

She went to a local discount retailer with a pharmacy dept, which I shall refer to here as Mall-Wart. She asked to buy some Plan B. Some may know, some may not – Plan B is available without a prescription if you’re 18 or over (and men can buy it too). The gentleman she spoke with at the pharmacy said he didn’t believe in Plan B, and didn’t want to give it to her, so if she wanted it she should go talk to someone else. He also told her that anyway, Plan B is just a larger dose of the hormones that you’d find in birth control pills.

Now, I wasn’t there, and I don’t know for sure what was said or not said. I don’t know whether he suggested or implied that she should just go take a handful of her birth control pills or not. I can’t even begin to address the logical inconsistency of “not believing in Plan B” and then suggesting they try taking a bigger dose of birth control pills instead. But the upshot of the whole thing is that my patient went in asking for Plan B, was refused it, and went home and took 4 regular birth control pills instead. This won’t kill her, it just made her nauseous. But it is not going to work as well as Plan B could.

There are ways to use birth control pills for emergency contraception if you can’t get a hold of Plan B. Guessing at what to do is not the best way to go about it. I can’t believe the irresponsibility of whoever this person was she spoke with at the pharmacy. I have to try to figure out a way to address this so they can’t do that again. Suppose I can find a law student willing to file suit like they did in Massachusetts?

Anyway, lots of good info about emergency contraception on

And don't go to Mall-Wart.